Summary: Just about the most amazing overdrive pedal I’ve ever had the privilege to play!
Pros: 4 “channels” provide different and amazing overdrive voices that add “spice” to your tone. No line noise from this pedal at all! Super simple operation.
Price: $200 direct from KASHA Amplifiers
Tone Bone Score: 5.0 – I’ve played through enough overdrive pedals to fill a large trunk, and the KASHA Overdrive is simply one of the best I’ve every played!
If you’ve read this blog with any regularity – and I know I’ve said this in the past – I just can’t get enough of overdrive pedals. I just love ‘em! But over time, and as there are so many overdrive pedals being released on a regular basis, I’ve started to limit what I take a deep dive into researching. Lately, I’ve only focused on overdrive pedals that offer a “twist” on the overdrive, and not clones. One such pedal that I recently discovered (and now has a permanent place on my board) was the GeekDriver, that while based upon the classic ColorSound Overdriver, has a sound all its own!
And wouldn’t you know it, I came across the KASHA Overdrive, and its simplicity intrigued me so much that I just had to check it out! Here was an overdrive pedal that required no EQ control! For me, that’s a HUGE thing because the implication is that the pedal’s circuit doesn’t require you to compensate for tonal changes that often get introduced with other pedals.
In any case, if you don’t want to read any further, let me just say this, and have it done with:
The KASHA Overdrive kicks ass, and I will be adding it to my pedal board! Even if you’re not in the market for a new overdrive, you owe it to yourself to give this pedal a serious look!
Four channels, Two Knobs, One Switch and a TON of Ways to Enhance Your Tone
Notice I didn’t say, “tweak” or something similar that would imply that your tone changes once the KASHA OD is engaged. The reason for this is that KASHA built the pedal from the perspective of “voicing” much like an amplifier. Each “channel” on the pedal represents a different “voice.” It’s almost as if you have four amps in a box. In light of that, your input EQ remains the same; but just like plugging into different amps, the KASHA OD offers different kinds of “voicings.”
But it doesn’t just end there with the channels. The gain knob is incredibly expressive and just like an amplifier, provides different characteristics depending upon where you set the sweep. It’s f-in incredible! It’s also really difficult to verbally describe the effect. The closest I can get to an explanation of turning up the gain knob is that it is very similar to turning up the master volume on your amp and the effect that has as more juice is fed into the power tubes. Like I said, it’s hard to articulate…
And then if you didn’t think that the standard gain profile is enough, the “Turbo” switch will kick your amp’s ass even more by giving you a 10dB boost! 10dB may not seem like much, but sonically, it’s HUGE!
How It Sounds
So how does the pedal sound? In a word AMAZING, even when it’s on and you’re not playing anything, because unlike a lot of overdrive pedals, the KASHA Overdrive is dead quiet electronically. No hums, no buzzes, not a single electronic tick. The only noise it makes is when you play your axe through it.
I’ll let you read the documentation on the KASHA web site that describes the different channels – it’s pretty accurate. In lieu of that, I’ll write about my own perceptions of each channel as I experienced them. By the way, I played the pedal through a Fender DRRI and a Fender Princeton Studio, using my Saint Guitars Goldtop Messenger.
This channel is a simple boost stage, which ups your gain about 3dB. It’s an ideal channel to use if your amp is already at the edge of breakup, and you want to push it just over the edge to get a little extra bite. Of course, if you add the Turbo, then you get a full 13dB to start really working your pre-amp tubes. The impressive thing about this channel is that it demonstrates the pedal’s transparency. Setting the gain to unity, and switching the pedal on and off, there is absolutely no tonal change whatsoever. Quite nice.
I loved this channel most of all, and as soon as I made my first strum on this channel, I was completely sold on the pedal. I didn’t have to hear any more. This channel is voiced brightly, and sounds like a friggin’ low-wattage EL-84 amp with all the chimey goodness that kind of amp has to offer. But at the same time, you don’t lose your lows. In fact, the full spectrum of your EQ is retained, but you get this incredibly dreamy, top-end chime that just works its way through your entire body! When I was playing through this channel, I just closed my eyes to listen to that sweet chime.
Need even more grind? Now you have it. This channel slams your front-end with 11dB of gain, and gives you an added bass shelf. The tone from this channel is absolutely HUGE! And even with the big bass, you never lose any clarity at any time. Do a big power chord, and you’ll rip right through any mix. Pluck a single note and dig in, and that note will sustain – like Santana sustain, baby! And the cool thing is that at no time does your signal compress as often happens with other pedals, and we’re talking starting to get into some serious-ass gain when you’ve got the gain knob and guitar volume completely cranked! Then you hit the Turbo button, and WHOA! Singing sustain that just floats in the air and doesn’t come down!
Here we’re getting into metal territory as the voicing gets a big, but tight bottom end plus a few more dB’s of gain. And just as with the Hot channel, you don’t lose any tonal clarity at all – you hear every single note, which is all the more amazing in this channel because you’re absolutely slamming the front-end of your amp! You just get a beefy, hairy balls sound that’ll shake the rafters when you’ve got it cranked up! Yeah, “melt” is an appropriate term to be used here because the thick, liquid metal tone in this channel will certainly melt you; of course, in a very good way!
Dammit! I wish I had more time to play with the pedal to really take it through its paces, but the store was closing up, and we were playing a bit too loud for the tender ears of the senior citizen sales people, though gracious as they were to let us bring in our own gear. What amazed me the most was how absolutely HUGE the Fender Princeton sounded with this pedal. This is a little 15 watt amp that combined with the KASHA overdrive could be used in a club. No problem cutting through with the KASHA overdrive engaged!
Yeah, I was sold on the Classic channel alone, but I’m just completely twitterpated and ga-ga over this pedal. KASHA claims that not a single person to date has had a bad opinion or offered “improvements” to it, and this includes some very big names in the music business (sorry, not allowed to mention them yet by request of KASHA). Based on even my brief experience with the KASHA Overdrive, I totally believe the claim. THE KASHA OVERDRIVE WILL KICK YOUR ASS!
By the way, I hate KASHA Amplifiers!!! I thought I was temporarily cured of my recent case of GAS, and now the KASHA Overdrive has me salivating, slobbering, and frothing at the mouth with an f-in’ GAS attack!