Luckily for us, there are plenty of distortion, overdrive, boost, and fuzz pedals to choose from these days. In fact, there are so many that it can become challenging to go out there and choose the best one for your own needs.
Entering a guitar store can sometimes give you weird feelings – there are so many effects and pedals in existence, with so many different features, that it becomes impossible for you to try them all out.
Just imagine: there are pedals that you won’t be able to try in your lifetime!
However, despite all this, a considerable portion of the guitar-playing population still loves to keep it simple. Whatever are the amps, pedals, or other gear – some of them just like to use equipment with simplified and straightforward controls and features.
Now, this doesn’t mean that these products are not good enough. It means they have a very narrow use. In this article, we will be exploring one of these simple pedals, which you can find in the rigs of guys like Mike McCready and ex-Guns N’ Roses’ DJ Ashba.
Made by a small company called Love Pedal, it’s called AMP 50 Overdrive.
About the company
Before we get into it, we’d like to share a thing or two about Love Pedal as they’re not exactly one of the famous mainstream pedal producers.
Started by a guy named Sean Michael, they’re focused on making quality boutique pedals. The main twist here is simplicity, led by the idea that “less is more.” Pretty much all of the products are straightforward.
But Sean took it to a whole new level in 2009 when the company introduced their “Mini Line” featuring some minimalistic and really compact pedals.
One of those is the Amp 50 Overdrive, but the series also includes Pickle Vibe Vibrato, Echo Baby Delay, as well as the Baby Face Trem.
The AMP 50 is currently not produced by the company, but they still have some other great products at the moment.
And like we said ñ Love Pedal AMP 50 Overdrive is straightforward. It’s a compact little dirt box with just an input jack, output jack, one control knob, a footswitch, and a LED light indicator. That’s it! Straight to the point without any flashy additions.
The pedal is essentially based on Church of Tone 50 model, just gives a smaller and simplified version of it. And what’s more, the control is unlabeled. But it’s referred to as “bias/gain” by the builders.
The idea behind it is to be more than a boost and a little less than a distortion. Well, technically, it is a distortion effect since it adds some saturation and clipping to the tone. But it’s so nuanced that at lower settings it brings just a regular boost without almost any distortion. But we’ll get to that later.
What also needs to be mentioned is that the pedal features true bypass. Now, there have been countless discussions over the years, debating whether true bypass or buffered are the way to go. In case you’re up for buffered stuff, you need only one buffered pedal in your signal chain to get this sorted out.
Just like most of the pedals out there, it’s powered either by a standard 9-volt AC adapter or a regular 9-volt battery.
Like we already mentioned, the whole idea behind this pedal is to be as simple as possible. This is also the case with its overall design.
So let us start with its size. We could compare it to those mini pedals by TC Electronic or by any other manufacturer with similar small-sized and compact units.
This comes as a great advantage if you’re having troubles fitting a new pedal in your signal chain, but you really need an additional overdrive in there. Or in case you need just one pedal in front of a tube amp and just want to keep it as simple as possible.
The color of the pedal is white, the knob is the classic one you’d find on vintage-type pedals, and the only thing breaking the monotony is the name of the pedal written on the front panel. That and the blue LED light (which could be better if it was red but let us not be so picky).
Its aluminum casing is pretty sturdy and the overall build quality is impressive. There won’t be any worries with taking this little bad boy on tour with you.
Talking about the tone and the performance, the main intention behind such a pedal is to have something to just a little bit of boost and coloration to clean or overdriven channels of your tube amps.
Although we would argue that it works best in pair with those vintage or vintage-inspired clean tube amps. It adds just enough of overdrive to have solid and dynamically responsive performance.
Setting the knob lower will give more of a boost with just a dash of that sparkling crunch. As you move it up, you’ll get more saturation in there, and at highest settings, you might get into some solid mid-range soft clipping natural overdrives. Tones are a bit brighter than compared to a Tube Screamer.
But plugging it in front of a solid-state amp, you won’t get much of a tone there. Not that it’s terrible, but it’s surprisingly disappointing compared to tube amplifiers. The sound won’t be as thick, and there won’t be so much dynamic response in there.
A pedal like the Love Pedal AMP 50 Overdrive generally has a narrow scope of use. It’s a very specific unit aimed at those who prefer old bluesy tones and just some boosts and colorations to their tube amps.
Obviously, it’s not that versatile, but it can act bost as a boost and as an overdrive. Additional volume control would have been great, but we generally get the idea why there was just one gain knob on it.
If you’re looking for anything for these purposes, AMP 50 is definitely a great choice to consider. In case you manage to find one of these somewhere.