Asymmetrical Overdrives

Last week I had a pedal trade that involved an offer from a guy which included a Boss Super Overdrive SD-1.

I had been interested in a second overdrive to stack with the Fulldrive that is on my pedal board, but wasn’t sure which one to go with. I had seen lots of great recommendations online for using the SD-1, but I knew nothing about it.

Ok, so I found out it uses a very similar circuit to the classic Tubescreamer TS808 or TS9, etc. The difference, as I understand it is how it performs the clipping you hear in the overdriven sound. Ibanez, et. al have been using the SYMMETRICAL clipping while Boss apparently feels that ASYMMETRICAL clipping is best. Whatever…they both sound pretty good to me.

So I agreed to the trade, especially since Keeley, JHS, Analogman and others do modifications specifically for this pedal. Those all sound even better than what I have seen stock and are pretty reasonably priced. Monte Allums provides a DIY kit that may be right up my alley, but like all my gear, I like to get to know it’s personality for a while before I try to change it.

I looked into the symmetrical vs asymmetrical clipping thing a little more and it turns out that the Monte Allums GT mod provides a mini switch to toggle between asymmetrical (stock) and symmetrical (TS808 type) clipping. There would be lots of options in the future if I choose to mod the SD-1.
So how will it measure up and stack with the Fulldrive that I already use? I found that the Fulldrive apparently uses asymmetrical clipping too, just like the Boss, yet with more options and higher quality. Griff Hamlin from Blues Guitar Unleashed did a video where he runs through his gear and he shows his SD-1 and Tubescreamer that were both modded by Keeley. I thought that they sounded great stacked together too. So if I got the SD-1 modded to be switchable between a ts and the original clipping types, I could essentially stack the asymmetrical and symmetrical clipping overdrives like Griff did and get a similar sound. (He talks about the “magic” that he believes happens when you combine the clipping types)

But how similar are the SD-1 and the Fulldrive?

Time for some real world data collection!!!

I used the settings on the Fulldrive that I have found to be most useful (mild, edge of breakup overdrive) and tried to come as close as possible with the SD-1.

Here is my video…sorry for the quality of the sound and guitar skills. 🙂 I put it together really quickly. It took me a lot longer just to type the long winded explanation you just read through!

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About Nick

A servant and worshiper of Christ, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a gecko breeder, a guitarist, a mountain biker, a GIS specialist.
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One Response to Asymmetrical Overdrives

  1. Guy says:

    Nice Nick, from the video sound they sound about the same. Glad you are liking the SD-1, alot of people on TGP have some snobbyness to Boss, but as you know I am a huge fan. (GT-10)

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