Posts Tagged ‘kasha overdrive’

I know, I know… I talk about this pedal A LOT, and I’ve already reviewed it a few times… (here’s the original) But I keep on discovering so many great things about this pedal that makes me want to talk about it. Just when I think I’ve got it dialed in, I find yet another thing that it does that just completely turns me on!

Tonight, I was screwing around with my song Strutter yet again. I’m done writing it, but I wanted to practice, and that song is really fun to practice to; I just mute the lead tracks and have at it. Mind you, all I wanted to do was practice and play “Blondie,” my Squier CV Tele – I didn’t have anything else in mind.

So I hooked up my Aracom PLX18 BB and started playing over the rhythm track. Folks, this amp just oozes classic Marshall “Bluesbreaker” tone as is, but just for shits and giggles, I decided to switch on my KASHA Overdrive to add a little flavor to my tone because I was working on a new song recently where I loved what this pedal did – especially with the PLX18 BB! For that song (which I’m still writing) I didn’t want to add too much gain. All I wanted to do was add some texture. So I thought it might just sound good while I practiced over Strutter. Man, was that a good call!

Here’s an A/B clip of sorts of the first two verses of the song. In verse 1, I’m playing the PLX18BB with nothing added – just a touch of room reverb as an insert in the mix. In the second verse, I switch on the KASHA overdrive (still with some reverb in the mix). The pedal is in the “Hot” channel, and I set the gain knob at 12 o’clock, which just provides a bit of a gain boost (it’s capable of adding up to 15dB of boost in this channel), but this channel also sustains for days, adding a touch of high-end sparkle. Here’s the clip:

Please excuse the little playing mistakes I made… 🙂 It’s nothing really egregious. In any case, when you compare the two verses, the difference in tone is actually subtle, at least to my ears. But from a playing standpoint, the amount of touch-sensitivity and sustain that was added made the second verse so much more musical and so much more inspiring to play. And speaking of subtlety, I think that is yet another mark of a great overdrive pedal. To me, overdrives should be transparent, they should never alter your tone – that’s what fuzz and distortion are for. At the most, they should simply add EQ emphasis, and that’s it. And that’s why I love the overdrives I play through: Tone Freak Abunai 2, GeekMacDaddy Geek Driver, Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire, the KASHA overdrive, TubeScreamer, and believe it or not, a Bad Monkey. They all bring to the table their own little voicings, but none of these alter your basic tone.

Great gear evokes a sense of inspiration – at least in me – that makes me want to keep playing and playing and playing. I just can’t say enough about this pedal. At around $200, it is worth every penny I paid for it. Thanks, John Kasha for coming up with such a fantastic pedal! Now back to playing!

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I love my Strat. It’s a cheapo MIM version, but it has a great sound. But ever since I started using it with the KASHA Overdrive pedal, it sounds even more like a Strat to me! I know, that sounds a little cuckoo, but that Classic channel on the KASHA Overdrive really brings out that jangly tone that defines the Strat tone; that’s to my ears, at least…

The other day, I was messing around with a dominant seventh ditty in A as I was trying to pick up some improv techniques from Chuck D’Aloia’s Blues with Brains video. I originally just recorded my Strat running through a reverb, then into my amp. It sounded pretty good, but I wanted to get a bit more top-end bite, but not a lot of drive. So I switched my KASHA Overdrive on and my jaw dropped! Here’s what I came up with…

That pedal just brings out the best in a Strat. I swear, now that I’ve been using it with my Strat for the last couple of days, I think it’ll always be on when I perform with my Strat. It really sounds great!

BTW, both rhythm and lead parts were played with the Kasha overdrive pedal. For the rhythm part, I was in the Classic channel to get that jangly Strat sound from position 2, while I was in the Hot channel for the lead in the neck pickup. So sweet sounding!

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I finally got some time to record a couple of clips of the absolutely wonderful KASHA Overdrive tonight, and I am just so blown away by how it sounds! This little box is like having 4 differently voiced amps in a little box! I’m not going to spend too much time praising it because I’ve already done that a couple of time here, so let’s get into the clips, shall we?

The first clip is slow, slow blues clip in Am. The chord progression is actually adapted from one of Chuck D’Aloia’s “Blues With Brains” video lessons. If you’re looking to get more into the blues, I highly recommend this set of lessons. It’s the best $40 bucks you’ll ever spend! In any case, I used the chord progression to test out the KASHA Overdrive, and to practice some of the concepts I learned tonight.

Anyway, there are two parts to the clip. The rhythm part was recorded with the KASHA Overdrive in Smooth with the gain set at 12 o’clock. This acts just like a clean boost, and at 12 o’clock it’s at unity gain. The first part features the Classic “channel,” and the second part features the Hot channel. Give it a listen:

The second clip has no backing track, and features the Melt channel with a simple chord riff. Excuse the sloppy playing, but instead, focus on the articulation of the notes. I had the Gain pushed up to about 3pm, which is almost all the way up. But even at a really high gain setting, you can still hear the individual notes. THIS IS AMAZING! And man, the touch sensitivity in this channel is to die for!

By the way, both clips were played through the clean channel of my Aracom VRX22, and recorded at conversation levels using the incredible Aracom PRX150-Pro attenuator. To me, this is the absolute king of attenuators. Oh! Almost forgot that I used my beloved Goldie to record the clips.

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OMG!!! Just gigged with my brand-new KASHA Overdrive last night, and I was in tonal heaven! Even though I’d done a pretty good test on it in my original review, there’s nothing like using gear in a live situation. So here are my observations:

  • Incredible Dynamics – The one thing that is readily apparent is how this pedal responds to pick attack and volume knob changes. It is so amp-like, it’s uncanny! I set the pedal up in unity gain with just normal strums on my guitar. But if I dug in a bit more, the pedal responded just like an amp with a bit more punch and volume. Frankly, the volume swell surprised the hell out of me. It’s not huge, mind you, but the response is so amp-like, it really does take you by surprise. I totally dug that while gigging last night!
  • Plays Well With Other Overdrive Pedals – I love stacking overdrives, and the KASHA OD performs beautifully in this role. I set it up as a based OD pedal, then stack it with my Tone Freak Effects Abunai 2. Those two together are an awesome combination!
  • Lots of Tonal Variety – While my favorite channel on this is the Classic channel that adds a chimey mote to your tone, I also played in the Hot channel as well, and the grit and grind was super-sweet. But add to that the dynamic response of the pedal, and what you’ve got is a pedal that has a lot of inherent tonal variety. Last night, I ran it mostly through the clean channel of my amp. But later, I screwed around with it a bit more in my studio, with my amp set at the very edge of breakup. This is where the pedal just warms my heart! With its touch sensitivity, when my amp is set up at the edge of breakup, I can take my tone from gritty and grimy to sweet and chimey with just a touch of dirt simply by modifying my attack or adjusting my volume knob.
  • Open Distortion Characteristics – No matter what channel you use with the KASHA Overdrive, the overdrive never gets compressed. It just gets dirtier. The cool thing about that is that any kind of compression will then come from your power tubes. I’ve rarely liked that compression in pedals, save for my Abunai 2, which compresses in a very pleasing way, but for most overdrive pedals, I don’t want that at all, and thankfully, the KASHA Overdrive remains very open, no matter how hot you go on the channels.
  • Simple Design – Probably one of the best features of this pedal that I appreciate is its straight-forward design. Notice that it doesn’t have an EQ control. It doesn’t need it. It takes your signal, adds a voice to it, and that’s it! Set your EQ on your guitar and/or amp to where you want it, then set the gain knob on the pedal, and just play. What could be more simple?

All in all, I’m pretty much done with my search for an overdrive pedal. I knew it from the first time I played this; and combined with my other OD’s, I can pretty much say – at least for quite awhile – I’m set in the overdrive department!

I’m an overdrive pedal freak, and I can safely say that this is the best overdrive pedal that I have ever played! It’s hard to believe that this little black monster does what it does. I’m totally blown away by it, and I’ve only gigged with it once! I can’t wait to really start using it in all its modes!

For more information, go to the KASHA web site!

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5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!Kasha KA-ODP-A KASHA Overdrive

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.

Cons: None.


  • 4 channels with separate voicing and gain structure
  • Analog design
  • 10 dB clear boost
  • True bypass switching
  • Very low power consumption (3mA and runs on a single 9V battery)
  • No tone change, only enhances sound
  • Compact standard aluminum chassis (4 3/8″x2 1/4″ x 1 1/4″)
  • AC power jack (uses standard Boss DC power supplies)
  • High gloss mirror black powder coat
  • Hand made in the USA
  • Low noise
  • Crystal Blue LED (high intensity)
  • Weight: 1.5lb

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.

Smooth Channel

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.

Classic Channel

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.

Hot Channel

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!

Melt Channel

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!

Overall Impressions

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!

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Kasha KA-ODP-A

Awhile ago, I was perusing a forum where one of the members mentioned in a reply that it’s a good time to be a guitarist. There’s so much varied gear out there that guitarists have all sorts of options to choose from. One area of guitar gear that certainly seems to get regular entries is the overdrive pedal.

The OD pedal is something of which I never tire. There are so many great ones out there – I just can’t get enough of ’em. One such pedal that has just recently caught my eye is the KA-ODP-A 4-Channel Overdrive Pedal from Kasha amps. This pedal promises to be something special. Check out its features:

– 4 channels with separate voicing and gain structure
– Analog design
– 10 dB clear boost
– True bypass switching
– Very low power consumption (3mA and runs on a single 9V battery)
– No tone change, only enhances sound
– Compact standard aluminum chassis (4 3/8″x2 1/4″ x 1 1/4″)
– AC power jack (uses standard Boss DC power supplies)
– High gloss mirror black powder coat
– Hand made in the USA
– Low noise
– Crystal Blue LED (high intensity)
– Weight: 1.5lb

Built By an Amp Builder

There’s something about gear that’s built by an amp builder, especially when it comes to pedals or other peripheral devices. Amp builders have an innate understanding of the electronics behind tone, and how peripheral devices interact with their amps. A great example of this is Jeff Aragaki from Aracom Amps and his brand-new attenuatore, the Power Rox PRX150-Pro. Jeff totally gets it with how an amp interacts with a speaker, and the Power Rox is a testament to that. The same may be said of the Kasha overdrive in front of an amp. I had a chance to speak with John (Kasha’s owner and builder) this afternoon about the pedal, and it was clear from our conversation that this guy really understands the interplay between effects and an amp – especially with respect to overdrive.

Kasha has been around awhile, having been building the famous ROCKMOD line of amps since the 80’s, so they know something about amps, and their tone is well-known. Guitarists such as George Lynch and Davey Johnstone (Elton John), and tons of session guitarists have been playing ROCKMODS for years. So when John decided to build an overdrive pedal, he didn’t want to model it off of traditional circuits, so he created his own. The result is the 4-Channel Kasha Overdrive.

What’s very intriguing about this pedal is that it doesn’t have an EQ. John designed the pedal in such a way that it preserves the tone going in and outputs it with some OD “flavor” as John puts it. The thinking is that you don’t need an EQ if you’re not doing anything to the EQ of the signal. Smart.

The Kasha overdrive is a lesson in simplicity, having only two knobs: An overdrive selection knob to choose from one of the four different overdrives, and a gain knob. Very simple. But it also sports a “Turbo” switch at the top which will add a 10db clean boost to slam your pre-amp tubes with even more gain. But despite all that, this thing operates on 3 milliamps and only requires a standard 9V power source! That is incredible! My beloved Holy Fire requires a special 48V power supply! So what John has created is definitely special.

I’m going to be trying this pedal out in the next coming weeks, and I’m excited! I’ll keep you posted!

For more information, go to the Kasha product page (scroll down to the end to see the overdrive)

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