If you’re a guitarist who’s obsessed with tone, then Fulltone might just have the pedal for you. The Obsessive Compulsive Drive, or OCD for short, uses a unique multi-stage distortion circuit designed to help you achieve the dynamic feeling and harmonics typical of high-grade tube amps. Will it become your new obsession? Is the OCD the best overdrive pedal for guitar? Our Fulltone OCD review hopes to answer those questions and more.
Let’s run down what the OCD has on offer.
Drive, Volume, & Tone Controls: pretty standard fare one most overdrives for letting you dial in the gain, adjust the output volume, and find just the right tonal balance.
HP/LP Switch: The High-Peak function gives you increased distortion and low-end, thickening up your sound for a more “British” flavor. The Low-Peak mode gives you a more accurate rendition of your sound with very little coloration of your tone
9-Volt or 18-Volt Power: Use a standard 9-volt adapter or plug in an 18-volt power supply for even more headroom.
True Bypass Switching: This comes via Fulltone’s very own custom 3PDT footswitch which they swear is the best in the world.
AMPS… if you’ve ever owned a GREAT amp, like a Marshall 18 watt, a VOX AC15 or a Marshall JTM45, and if you have a place where you can crank them up loud, then you know what I’m talking about. Smack a power chord and you (not only) hear the fundamental notes, but you get (count ’em) 4, 5, even 6 additional overtones ringing into a feedback… notes that you can whistle if your ear is good enough! Think Zep’sOcean or Custard Pie or classic tones, including James Gang, the Beatles, AC/DC, Free., and so on.
Back off the guitar’s volume and there are a dozen great other sounds at your fingertips… Clean, spanky sounds, with all the highs and lows still intact. And a Tele still sounds like a Tele, a Les Paul like a Les Paul.
PEDALS… (until now) just can’t hold a candle to what a good amp can do if you are really picky. You not only lose all the touch sensitivity, but forget about those complex Harmonics. (For me) It’s always been somewhat of a compromise using Overdrive pedals… until now. Ladies and Gentleman, I am proud to introduce the Fulltone OCD. I made this pedal for me, but I think you might like it too.
Sound & Performance:
I started off with with a nice clean sound on my amp, setting the OCD’s drive and volume controls around 10 or 11 o’clock with the tone at noon. With the HP/LP switch set to Low-Peak, I hit the switch and was instantly in classic rock and blues-rock rhythm territory. Pushing the Volume past 12 o’clock had immediate control of the volume of my amp. The added headroom is astounding.
The pedal adds a smooth saturation to your sound, giving you a nice overdriven Tweed/Blackface vibe. I flipped the HP/LP switch to High-Peak and felt an instant transition to a more Vox-like sound. The crunchy distortion maintains a natural valve-like dimension unheard of in most overdrive pedals. You can’t help but feel like this is a serious pro-grade overdrive, in league with the priciest boutique pedals on the market.
The sound is smooth and dynamic. You really have to play through this pedal to see how much of a great “feel” it has. Digging in lets notes cut through while playing softly cleans up your sound nicely. When you need to punch through the mix, the OCD will make it happen.
I pushed the drive up to 1 or 2 o’clock and felt a surge of power and drive. This pedal is extremely sensitive to your knob settings. There’s plenty of room for carving out your signature sound with this little box.
I kicked in the lead channel and again fired up the OCD. This pedal absolutely sings. You can produce searing lead tones with a depth and dynamic range not found in more common diode-clipped overdrive pedals. This pedal will bring your sound to life. It even packs in sounds that are great for just leaving on with a high gain amp for hard rock and metal tones. Versatile indeed.
Sustain is ever present. With the Drive past noon the pedal can induce lush harmonic overtones and feedback with ease. Pushing the Drive up to 3 o’clock and beyond gets dangerous. Don’t let anyone tell you the OCD isn’t for ripping some shredding solos. This pedal absolutely burns when you want it to.
All in all this is one of the most dynamic and expressive overdrive pedals I’ve ever plugged a guitar into.From country and blues, to rock and metal, you can surely find a place for the Fulltone OCD in your sonic arsenal.
Let’s have the final word.