A friend of mine has a single channel Marshall JCM 800, and uses a MXR overdrive pedal. Only problem is, the overdrive pedal doesn't seem to force the leads through the mix enough. EQ pedals will not work either, obviously, since there is no effects loop.

Anyone have any suggestions on something else to try?
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Is he scooping the mids? Cause that will stop it from cutting thru. And I dunno but I would have thought an EQ pedal would help too, doesn't have to go through an effects loop AFAIK.
Try an eq pedal to. As treagar said, is he scooping the mids?
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Not scooping the mids as far as I know.

An EQ pedal isn't gonna do much if it's put into the amp at instrument level - EQ's need to be post pre-amp to be able to provide boosts.
i think a tubescreamer would help, it adds quite a mid bump to the tone
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