The Reverb Top Eight: Boutique drive pedals

In the market for a high-end drive pedal to make your rig sing? Here are a few of the most popular models...

Fulltone OCD

In our latest rundown of the most popular pedals on Reverb.com, Dan Orkin picks out the best-selling boutique drive units on the online marketplace. It’s about to get noisy in here…

1Fulltone OCD

Introduced in 2005, the OCD remains a supremely popular pedal that covers everything from light drive to a ferocious roar. 2017 saw Fulltone introduce an official V2 model, with a Class A configured discrete 2N5457 JFET input section and switchable true or ‘enhanced’ bypass modes. If a Tube Screamer is SRV, the OCD is Billy Gibbons. Gnarly.

2Paul Cochrane Timmy Overdrive

The Paul Cochrane Timmy has clocked up an enormous amount of mileage on online forums in recent years. A transparent drive, the Timmy has enjoyed a lengthy reign as a secret weapon for legions of pedal obsessives. Cochrane produces these pedals in limited numbers, meaning that used specimens tend to sell pretty quickly on Reverb.com.

3JHS Morning Glory

The most popular overdrive unit from Kansas City boutique darling JHS Pedals, the Morning Glory is a transparent overdrive that was originally inspired by the ‘black box’ Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal of the early 1990s. The latest iteration of the Morning Glory doubled the headroom of the circuit and added a gain toggle for extra versatility.

4Wampler Tumnus

The legendary Klon Centaur is one of the most-imitated pedals of all time and there are scores of boutique makers trying to emulate Bill Finnegan’s genius. Among the current crop, the Wampler Tumnus is one of the most popular. This is a warm-sounding recreation of the original in a tiny enclosure that can squeeze onto even the most overcrowded of ’boards.

5Klon KTR

Speaking of Klons… the KTR is Bill Finnegan’s modern recreation of his famous design, which first appeared to great fanfare in 2014 and has been in and out of production ever since. The KTR uses the same circuit and germanium diodes as the original, but
opts for more space- and mass-production-friendly surface-mount components.

6JHS The Bonsai

The Bonsai is the most popular Tube Screamer-style pedal on our list – possibly because it replicates nine different circuits in one stompbox! With close recreations of classics including the TS9, TS-808, TS10 and even an OD-1, if you can’t decide which Screamer variant you want on your ’board, this gives you pretty much every flavour.

7Fulltone Full-Drive 2 MOSFET

While many of the pedals on this list sport just a basic array of controls, the Full-Drive 2 from Fulltone is a more flexible proposition. With complementary overdrive and boost channels, you also get two-way toggle switch control over EQ and clipping styles.
A unit that could easily replace two other stompboxes on your crowded pedalboard.

8J. Rockett Archer

The Archer is J. Rockett’s entry in the klone derby. The American firm builds a few great-sounding variations on this affordable base model, including a recent limited edition that replicates the circuit mods used by Jeff Beck, as well as the Steve Stevens Rockaway Archer, which adds a graphic EQ range to the familiar layout.