Today we review one of my favorite and most versatile overdrive pedals on my board, the Fulltone OCD Overdrive pedal (OCD = Obsessive Compulsive Drive in case you were wondering). In our Fulltone OCD V2 Overdrive Pedal review we will cover the different revisions of the pedal along with the sound, durability and how it fits into your pedalboard setup.
It’s safe to say that the one of the most important part of any pedal board is the overdrive. The overdrive is what gives your guitar sound its signature crunch, grind, and sustain. It can also be used as a preamp for boosting signals before they go into an amp or mixer. This has led some people to call it “gain” (although technically this term refers only to amps).
If you want your guitar tone to cut through in a live setting or make recordings shine, then getting the right overdrive pedal will be crucial.
Fulltone OCD Overdrive Effects Pedal Revision History
Before starting the Fulltone OCD review it is good to give a little background and history of this classic pedal designed by Mike Fuller.
The OCD has been updated several times, much like other pedals on the market. There is some controversy around the exact number of version depending on what we count as a revision. For all general purposes, I am going with the markings inside the pedal and calling it 8 minor and 1 major revision.
I will not get into all of the revisions of this overdrive pedal by Mike Fuller here, we could an entirely separate article discussing the different revisions and tones. For our review, I am only going to focus on the current model.
What’s different about the OCD Version 2?
The OCD V2 by Fulltone is a high-quality, classic pedal with many different sounds that will appeal to many different styles. The V2 is designed to give improved tone, more headroom, and higher output voltage, cutting through the mix better than ever before.
The OCD V2 features a new enhanced bypass output buffer, which eliminates signal loss when the pedal is off while improving the clarity of the tone when on. The buffered bypass can be toggled off to True Bypass via an added internal switch. This is a great addition and let’s the guitarist choose if they prefer a bypass buffer or true-bypass mode.
Taking a look at the gain section, a Class A 2N5457 JFET input section has been added. This raises the input impedance from the previous 330K to 1 mega ohms. In understandable terms, this helps in widening the dynamic range of the pedal.
Fulltone OCD Overdrive Effects Pedal Sound
Now that we have some of the technical stuff out of the way, let’s dig into how this overdrive pedal sounds.
Awesome Dynamic Range
I’ve always been a fan of the dynamic range that I get with a Fulltone OCD pedal. Whether you’re playing softly or really hard, this pedal will give you the perfect amount of overdrive to suit your needs. One of the best things about this pedal is that it won’t compress your notes like a traditional analog clipping overdrive would. This natural, smooth distortion is great for many different styles of music and brings out the natural overtones from your amp and guitar.
It’s pretty well-known that analog clipping overdrives can heavily change the sound of your guitar and amp by compressing them and limiting their dynamics. The Obsessive Compulsive Drive doesn’t do this which means you’ll always retain your signature sound no matter how hard you play. At the same time, the pedal gives you wonderful overtones and a beautiful range of distortion which makes playing a lot more expressive.
This is a great choice for any style of music because it sounds great on both clean and dirty channels. It responds well to your guitar’s volume knob as well as picking speed, so you can always dial in the perfect tone no matter what you’re playing.
You’ll discover that the OCD pedal produces wonderfully complex overtones without altering the basic tone of your amplifier or guitar, so you don’t lose your unique sound. If you’re looking for a versatile and high-quality overdrive pedal, the Fulltone OCD is a great option!
OCD Gives Full Control of Your Tone – Controls Overview
The Fulltone OCD overdrive pedal offers great tone shaping control. The controls are simple, but they are made with the best parts available to get the desired results.
This high-quality pedal will produce a range of overdrive sounds that will appeal to many different styles of music. When the Drive knob is turned clockwise, it increases drive or tube saturation of your amp while keeping the natural sound or original sound of your tube amp. Below about 11 o’clock allows us to keep a boosted, mostly clean sounds in the tone signal.
With the Volume pot knob you control the amount of signal exiting the pedal. If you’re looking for that authentic vintage sound, this is the pedal for you! The OCD has about 20dB of available gain, more in HP mode but we will touch on that in a minute. If you want some delicious harmony gain, you could move the Volume control up to around 9 o’clock.
The Tone pot knob is a wide-ranging tone control that goes from dark to bright and everything in between. The effect it has on the sound depends on where the Drive knob is set. If the Drive knob is turned up high, the Tone knob will have less effect. This allows us to retain more of the original tone of our guitar and amp. If the Drive knob is turned down low, the Tone knob will have a greater effect, brightening or darkening the sound as desired.
Again, the Tone knob sound has a lot to do with the where the drive knob is set. If you want a darker, more traditional overdrive, try turning your Tone knob down around 9 o’clock instead of up toward 12 o’clock. Conversely, if you’re looking for a brighter tone, try turning the knob up instead.
This pedal is perfect for blues, country, classic rock and hard rock. You can use it to get those rich overdrive tones that will make your playing stand out from the rest.
The HP/LP (High Peak/Low Peak) switch found in the top-centre of the Fulltone OCD V2 pedal is a great way to change up your overdrive sounds. If you’re looking for increased overdrive with more volume and that classic British sound, set the switch to HP mode. Kind of a Marshall / Vox crunch tone.
If you’re after a more Vintage sound, set it to LP mode for increased bass frequencies. This gives you a nice Bluesy overdrive that’ll work great for Country and Classic Rock. In LP mode, with the Drive knob set lower, you can also get some nice light overdrive tones reminiscent of an early ’50s and ’60s Fender Tweed and Blackface amps.
The Fulltone OCD guitar pedal can also be used as a clean boost pedal. Reduce the gain and bump the volume, and it does a wonderful job as a clean boost and adds a little warmth to the tone of the amp.
OCD Boost Pedal Build Quality
Housed in a solid metal chassis, it is durably and reliably built. I’ve been regularly using an original OCD (bought second hand) for over 5 years. After many hundreds of gigs and hundreds more rehearsals I’ve never had to do anything more than tighten up the input bolt.
This pedal is very solidly built and is aimed at gigging professionals. It is housed in a solid metal chassis and is built to withstand the rigors of the road. I’ve used mine for years and have never had any issues and it has had it’s fair share of misuse. I have dropped it numerous times and still do not have any issues or loose connection on the circuit board. The OCD just keeps on ticking.
Finally, there’s the Fulltone 3PDT footswitch for solid and confident activation of the overdrive. I have smashed this switch more times than I care to count and it has never failed to engage.
Performance and Tone
The tone is warm and full-bodied, the pedal itself is designed to sound like an overdriven amp.
As one would expect, the tone of the pedal is warm and full-bodied, similar to a guitar amp that is overdriven. If I am getting real technical I would say the tone is slightly compressed vs that of an actual overdriven amp. There is a slight boost in the midrange so it is not a completely transparent overdrive but not as drastic as say a Tube Screamer.
OCD Power and Power Supply
The pedal can be ran anywhere from 9 volt all the way up to 18 volts. The manual says the higher voltage can give you more headroom. I personally liked running it at 12 volts as it seemed to have a fuller sound than running at 9V power supply or 9V battery.
New Old Stock Parts – Fulltone OCD-GE Overdrive Pedal
Some guitarists, especially vintage gear lovers, may be concerned about not liking the sound of this pedal because it doesn’t use the same parts from previous revisions. If you find yourself in this category, make sure to check out the limited OCD-GE pedal.
The Fulltone OCD-GE is made with new old stock (NOS) germanium diodes that are actually used in the vintage pedals to get that true vintage sound! Fulltone were lucky enough to find some of these parts and put them to good use by including them in their pedals.
Fulltone CS-OCD-GE Custom Shop Germanium Overdrive Guitar Effect Pedal
Why is the use of the NOS germanium diodes important you may wonder. It is because it gives the pedal more organic and tube-like feel.
Looking for a amp to pair with Fulltone OCD effects pedal? Checkout our Best Small Low-Watt Amps.
The Fulltone OCD Overdrive Pedal often described as a “Marshall stack in a box” and is a great way to add some edge, grit and over driven tones to your sound in a compact pedal. When you’re looking for that authentic vintage sound, this pedal will not disappoint and is one of my favorite sounding overdrive pedals! It has a lovely tone and is full of rich harmonics and responds well to the intensity of your playing.
With the HP/LP (High Peak/Low Peak) toggle switch found in the top-centre of the Fulltone OCD V2 pedal, you can find just what overdrive tone best suits your needs. Whether you want more volume with an increased British crunch or classic Bluesy Country tones reminiscent of 50s Fender amps, this high quality guitar effect device has got it covered.
So whether you’re playing blues, country, rock or metal music styles – give yourself an edge by adding one of these pedals into your rig today!