From its early days with the script-logo Distortion + to the modern Zack Wlyde overdrive, MXR has been a mainstay in the overdrive/distortion pedal market for the past 30-plus years.
The latest from MXR/Jim Dunlop is the Custom Shop GT-OD pedal. Housed in MXR’s familiar 4.25″ x 2.25″ x 1.25″ heavy-duty die-cast box and finished in a super-cool satin metallic green paint, it features the brand’s old-school black-plastic knobs with glow-in-the-dark pointers, chassis-mounted 1/4” in/out jacks, a heavy-duty classic stompswitch with red LED status indicator and circuitboard-mounted 9-volt adaptor jack. Controls on the GT-OD include Output level (overall pedal output when engaged), Tone and Gain (amount of overdrive/distortion).
We taste-tested the GT-OD with a humbucker-loaded PRS SE Singlecut and a Fender ’60s reissue Stratocaster plugged into a Koch Twintone II 1×12″ tube combo.
Starting with the GT-ODs Gain and Output controls set between the 7 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions, the pedal offered everything from a transparent, slightly dirty clean boost to a good, solid overdrive with nice, abundant musical overtones. As we set the Gain control between 1 o’clock and 5 o’clock, the pedal produced a slightly more aggressive, but still very color-free, crunchy distortion with an abundance of gain – probably not over-the-top enough for most metal guys, but plenty for most classic rock/blues players. Even when cranked up, the pedal never lost its transparency or added unwanted noise or uncontrollable feedback. The well-voiced Tone control worked very well to compensate for different pickups, taking a bit of the harsh edge of the Strat’s single-coils and adding high-end snap to the Singlecut’s humbuckers.
The GT-OD also performed well as a solo boost in front of the overdrive channel of the Koch, adding not only a ton of sustain, but some harmonic clarity, making the notes jump out.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s May. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.