Blues music is all about soulful expression and emotive storytelling. The guitar is a central instrument in this genre, and the right guitar pedal can take your sound to the next level. Guitar pedals are small electronic devices that connect to your guitar and amplifier and modify the sound. There are many different types of guitar pedals available, each with its own unique effect.
When it comes to blues music, there are a few key pedals that can help you achieve that classic sound. The best way to get that blues sound is through an overdrive pedal, which adds a gritty, distorted tone to your guitar without the high gain distortion. This effect is essential for blues guitar, as it can replicate the sound of a tube amp pushed to its limits.
When shopping for guitar pedals for blues music, it’s important to pay attention to the quality of the pedal. A well-made pedal will produce a clear, consistent sound and last for years to come. Additionally, consider the size and ease of use of the pedal. Some pedals can be quite large and complicated, which may not be suitable for all players.
Here is a list of great pedals for blues music. These pedals have been chosen for their high-quality sound, ease of use, and durability.
Best Guitar Pedals for Blues Music
I have always been fascinated by the soulful and emotive sounds of blues music and though I primarily play rock and metal these days, I’ll whip out a blues tone and jam to some of my favorite blues songs. The right pedal can help you achieve the perfect blues tone and express your emotions through your playing. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list.
- The BD-2 Blues Driver Guitar Effects Pedal delivers a warm and creamy overdrive that’s perfect for blues music.
- The pedal’s tube amplifier simulation feature provides an authentic and emotive distortion that’s ideal for blues guitarists.
- The level and gain controls on the pedal allow you to fine-tune your sound, giving you complete control over your tone.
- The pedal’s blue color may not appeal to everyone, especially those who prefer more understated gear.
- Some users have reported that the pedal can be noisy at high gain levels, which may be a concern for some players.
- The Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Guitar Effects Pedal is powered by a 9-volt battery, which may not be ideal for players who prefer to use a power supply.
This pedal was released in mid 90’s and has been at or near the top of the list for blues-style overdrive. I’ve played through the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver and love the sound. The pedal’s warm and creamy overdrive is perfect for blues guitar.
This pedal give you a wide range of distortion from gritty to rock. Also, compared to most pedals the blues driver really cleans up well with the volume knob on your guitar. This is an island pedal for many long-time guitarists. I know 2 guys that gig and use this as their primary overdrive playing a wide variety of music from blues to rock.
You just can’t go wrong with this pedal. Its a classic.
- The gain control sweeps from completely clean to rock ‘n’ roll, allowing you to dial in the perfect amount of grit.
- The bright cut switch helps tame the high end on brighter rigs.
- The pedal delivers all the tonal and responsive nuance that your amp is missing and nothing that your tone already has.
- The pedal is a bit pricey compared to other overdrive pedals on the market.
- It may take some time to find the perfect settings for your rig.
- The pedal may not be suitable for players who prefer heavier distortion.
This is one of the more popular modern overdrive pedals. This JHS Morning Glorry pedal was prototyped in 2007 when Josh Scott (JHS) was modding a Marshall Bluesbreaker but wanted to make some enhancements, so he designed something unique based off that circuit. It’s such a big improvement that I always recommend this pedal over the original Bluesbreaker.
The king of transparent overdrives, the JHS Morning Glory pedal is incredible at adding mid to low-level grit to a clean tone. The pedal is wonderfully responsive, and it’s easy to dial in the perfect amount of gain. It stacks well with other pedals.
The Morning Glory also has a bright-cut switch, which helps tame the high-end on brighter pickups.
I’ve seen this on tons of pedalboards and its a favorite for people that have awesome amps that they don’t want an OD to change the natural tone.
- Classic tone with warm, amp-like overdrive
- Touch-sensitive and ready to rip
- Same factory, components, and housing as the original
- May not provide enough gain for some players
- Newer pedals have more tone variations
This is the old classic. The overdrive that started it all. The TS9 is a standard and you’ll have a hard time finding a guitar player that hasn’t played their guitar through an Ibanez Tubescreamer or at least some variation.
Here is a short list of the main reasons why this pedal is so good and why its stood the test of time.
– Works well a variety of genres, including blues, rock, and metal
– Simple, easy-to-use design with only three knobs (level, tone, and drive)
– Can be used as a boost pedal to give your signal more volume and presence
– Responds well to changes in playing dynamics, allowing for greater expression and nuance in your playing
– Durable construction and reliable performance, making it a go-to choice for many professional guitarists
– Affordable price point, making it accessible to musicians at all levels of experience and budget
– Compatible with a wide range of amps and guitars, making it a versatile addition to any rig
– Has become a classic and iconic pedal, with a rich history and loyal following of fans and users.
When it comes to blues, the TS9 has been used by many famous guitarists over the years, but when it comes to blues, look no further than Stevie Ray Vaughan to John Mayer.
What do I think? I have 2 of them if that tells you anything.
Mini OverDrive Blues Pedals
There are now a number of Chinese companies have launched pedal companies that are manufacturing clones and recreation of famous pedals. Technologically these pedals are really fantastic, much smaller, and come at an incredibly low price.
They take the original circuit and put it in on a small circuit board rather than use more traditional electronic components. Many of these have even been able to add in a small circuit board that provides true bypass which is just mind-boggling to me for the small form factor.
I didn’t really like these pedals at first as I thought they were rip-offs, but I’ve come full circle. I appreciate the originals and boutique pedals, but I realized that even my favorite boutique pedals are just clones of other famous pedals. Most of them are not original or groundbreaking. So if a Chinese company can build a good-sounding pedal for $30 and use modern circuit board technology to shrink the size, then sign me up.
With this being said, I do not support the clones that copy trade dress of the original pedal makers. When these clone pedal companies use the symbols, fonts, colors, and layouts of the original, that is taking it too far. They are trying to benefit from the good will that was developed by the brand. I avoid buying clones that are blatantly ripping of the original aesthetics and trademark.
In the least, every pedal I’ve used or heard in a demo sounded about 90% like the original so if you are unsure about buying a $200-$300 pedal, you can always buy the clone first and see if you generally like the sound.
So here is a list of some good mini clone blues-style overdrive pedals that you can consider.
- The analog overdrive produces a warm, natural tone.
- The Shine Circuit adds an extra treble touch to your sound.
- The True Bypass / Buffer Bypass switch allows you to choose between a cleaner bypass or a buffered bypass.
- The treble control might not be enough for some players.
- Its a gem for single coils but it may get muddy with humbuckers (depends on pickup and amp of course).
- The lower gain settings might produce an undertone that sounds like distortion.
I’m a huge NUX fan. I have a number of their pedals and think they are going to take over the market. They tend to be a bit more expensive than some of the other mini clones but I do find them to be really high quality.
This pedal is a clone of the Morning Glory. But still think it offers its own twist on that pedal.
This overdrive produces a warm, natural clean drive tone that can be tweaked for a bit thicker overdrive without getting into high gain distortion. The Shine Circuit adds an extra sparkle to your tone with a bit added distortion without going to high.
The pedal does a great edge of breakup sound and like the Morning Glory it’s one of the best low gain transparent OD’s on the market. It does John Mayer lead tone really well.
If you’re looking for a classic blues overdrive sound, the Mooer Blues Crab is a great option that won’t break the bank.
- The Blues Crab has a great sound that really captures that classic blues overdrive tone.
- The pedal is small and compact, making it easy to fit onto a crowded pedalboard.
- The full metal shell feels sturdy and well-built.
- The gain knob is a bit sensitive and can be easy to accidentally turn down.
- This pedal might not be versatile enough for players who need a wider range of overdrive tones.
- Some users have reported that the pedal can be a bit noisy at higher gain settings.
The Mooer Blue Crab is a clone of the Marshall Bluesbreaker. The pedal really nails that classic blues overdrive tone, with a warm and smooth sound that’s perfect for soloing or adding some grit to your rhythm playing.
This one sounds more like the original and not quite the same as the Morning Glory / Morning Star, but its much cheaper than both of those pedals.
- The two working modes, Fat and Normal, allow for a wide range of sounds.
- The sturdy and heavy-duty true bypass footswitch engages the pedal with a smooth action without affecting the original tone.
- The LED indicator shows the working state, making it easy to use.
- The power supply is not included, so you’ll need to buy one separately.
- The user manual could be more detailed.
- They need to ditch the cheesy graphics made by a third-grader.
This is a clone of the BD-2 at a really cheap price point and nice small format. Like so many clones these days, I can’t believe how good they sound. This one actually has a little different tone than the BD-2 and doesn’t have quite as much high gain at the very top. The Fat and Normal modes allow for a variety of sounds, which is a nice plus.
It also stacks well with other pedals and can even play well with other overdrive pedals. I tend to use a lot of OD’s or Boosts on a pedal board but considering the cost and size of this pedal, its definitely a huge value.
- The pedal features two overdrive modes – Warm and Hot – that allow you to create classic TS overdrive sound or a more powerful, tightened sound.
- The Donner Overdrive Pedal combines iconic vintage tube overdrive sound with wide dynamic range, giving you a wide tonal range from smooth whispers to searing leads.
- The pedal is easy to use, with flexible knobs for tone control: LEVEL (output volume), TONE (brightness), and GAIN (overdrive amount).
- The pedal requires a DC 9V Adapter power supply, which is not included.
- The pedal’s true bypass feature provides a transparent tone, but it can still be noisy
This is actually an Ibanez Tubescreamer clone and not a Boss Blues Driver clone. You can use this to get that TS overdrive sound or a more powerful, tightened sound, depending on what you are going for. Like the VSN, you have 2 modes to open up options for tone and think it’s similar quality. This pedal, like all tube screamer style pedals, doesn’t have quite as much gain at the top as the BD-2 and VSN Bluesy.
- Provides a distinct tone with remarkable dynamic expression and rich detail
- Maintains a perfect frequency response with true bypass
- Whole aluminium-alloy chassis is stable and strong
- Power adapter is not included
- May not be suitable for those looking for a clean sound capability
- Some users may prefer a pedal with more features
This pedal is also a Tubescreamer type clone with a slight difference. This pedal tries to reproduce the Dumble sound. Reviews have mentioned that it can get close to the SRV dumble sound. Considering the price of a Dumble vs. this inexpensive clone, it be worth checking out if you are looking to create that tone. BTW, Rowin also builds the Dumbler pedal if you are looking for that kind of tone.
Just like the Donner and VSN, it has 2 modes to switch up the tone and it’s the same size.
When it comes to buying guitar pedals for blues music, there are a few features you should consider to ensure you get the best product for your needs.
Firstly, consider the type of blues music you play. Different styles of blues require different effects, so it’s important to choose a pedal that complements your playing style. For example, if you play Chicago-style blues, you’ll want a pedal that can produce a warm, distorted tone. On the other hand, if you play Delta blues, you’ll want a pedal that can produce a clean, crisp sound.
Another important consideration is the build quality of the pedal. Look for pedals that are built with high-quality materials and have sturdy construction. This will ensure that your pedal will last for years to come and can withstand the wear and tear of gigging and touring.
When choosing a pedal, also consider the number of controls it has. More controls can give you more flexibility in shaping your sound, but can also make it more difficult to dial in the perfect tone. If you’re new to using pedals, you may want to start with a simpler pedal with fewer controls.
In addition to these features, you may also want to consider the pedal’s size and weight. If you’re a gigging musician, you’ll want a pedal that is easy to transport and won’t take up too much space on stage.
Overall, when choosing a guitar pedal for blues music, it’s important to consider your playing style, the build quality of the pedal, the number of controls, and the size and weight of the pedal. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that you get the best product for your needs and can create the perfect blues sound.