ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Review

manufacturer: Boss date: 02/10/2011 category: Bass Effects
Boss: ODB-3 Bass Overdrive
Tailored to meet the demands of today's bassist with a wide variation of sharply contoured sounds ranging from a mild overdrive to a hard distortion. It covers the entire spectrum, including five-string basses, so there's no muddiness, even on the lowest notes.
 Sound: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Reliability & Durability: 9.4
 Ease of Use: 8.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (9) 20 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: Rattlehead666, on january 09, 2006
3 of 10 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 110.592

Purchased from: Music Stop

Ease of Use: This pedal is very easy to get good sound out of it. There was a manual that came with this pedal and it has other distortion settings near the end that you can try out. I don't know the firmware revision number and I don't know if this pedal was upgraded but maybe it is cause where the model has a 3 on the end. // 10

Sound: The bass I use with this pedal is a B\.C\. Rich Bronze Series Warlock and the amplifier I'm using with this pedal is a Traynor Bass Mate 25. The pedal can be noisy if you turn everything up to max. The distortion on this pedal is great and I can get the sound of my favorite artists such as Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Anthrax, Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Exodus and Pantera. I can get Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) by Metallica to sound pefect on this pedal and can get Caught In A Mosh by Anthrax and I can get the Metallica version of Am I Evil? almost sounding perfect. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I can depend on this pedal and I would use it in a gig without backup even though it's the only bass overdrive/distortion pedal I got. // 10

Overall Impression: The styles of music I play are thrash/speed metal, black metal, NWOBHM, death metal and a little bit of nu-metal. I only been playing a bass for not even two weeks and I can play almost all of Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth), most of Am I Evil? all of Bad Omen, all of Dawn Patrol, all of Paranoid and most of the other songs that are on the Kill 'Em All album. Other gear that I own are an Epiphone SG Special, Traynor Reverb Mate 30, Korg AX10G, Planet Waves cables and a Levy's guitar strap. Before I bough this product I wish that I tried out the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff but I'll try it the next time I go to a music store if they have it. I wouldn't know how this pedal would get stolen or lost because it never leaves my room. I love this pedal very much I like it way better than my guitar pedal. Even though this is a bass pedal I compared this pedal to a DigiTech Hot Head and a Boss MT-2 Metal Zone. The two Boss pedals are about the same but this pedal beats the DigiTech Hot Head because my frind had a DigiTech Hot Head and now he has to buy a new on because his broke on him. This is a great pedal and I would not consider buying any other bass distortion pedals except maybe the Electro-Hamonix Big Muff. // 10

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overall: 8.3
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: andrewcap, on may 31, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: The Guitar Shop

Ease of Use: The Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive is simple to use and gives off a great, powerful sound. The pedal itself consists of a few knobs that are easy to get used to, which include a two band equalizer and a balance knob that will allow you to have that heavy overdriven sound. The manual provided with the ODB-3 bass pedal has all the information nicely packaged together incase you need any help with the four basic controls. This Boss pedal does not need to be upgraded or repaired and is ready to be used straight out of the box. On the downside, the Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive pedal only has one foot pedal used to turn on and off the device, this means that the change of settings must be done by hand. This may pose a problem if you like quick sound changes either during a gig, or while jamming at home. Overall, this overdrive pedal is easy to use, and produces a sound that is well worth the price. // 8

Sound: I use the Boss bass Overdrive pedal with a Yamaha RBX 270J hooked up to a 15 watt Fender Rumble bass amp. Even with this small, home setup, the Boss ODB-3 can make it sound like I'm using a decent, mid priced bass setup. Although the sound of the ODB-3 is almost always great, you will get a loud fuzz from it if you keep it on a full overdriven sound along with a full or almost full gain or level. This overdrive pedal also increases the volume of your amp so you'll want to turn the volume down before plugging it in and getting started. Many famous artists use the ODB-3 including Nate Mendel (of the Foo Fighters). In the end, the overdriven sound of the ODB-3 is great, but that sound can be affected depending on your knob settings. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I would definitely use the ODB-3 for a gig. It's totally reliable, and I'd trust it without a backup. You would want to be sure to have your pedal set to your exact requirements before the show because it may not be easily and swiftly accessible during your gig. Other than that, the ODB-3 is one of the most dependable bass pedals I've seen. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been a devoted classic rock lover as well as a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana. I enjoy a variety of music and I've been playing bass for about 3 years now. I find that the ODB-3 is suitible for much of the music I play, and it's a fun pedal to play with while jamming with friends. I am happy with the choice I made to purchase this pedal, and I wouldn't change it with another pedal if I had the chance. The ODB-3 has a such a powerful sound that made me love using it. It has a great equalizer that allows me to Switch between a loud overdrive or a nice dry overdriven sound. The main complaint I have about the ODB-3 is that it didn't come with a 9V adapter cable, and the battery doesn't last that long. Apart from that, I believe Boss did a great job on this pedal. // 9

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overall: 9.5
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: dagohbah, on july 21, 2006
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Samash

Ease of Use: Simple nobs that you can turn to get either a smooth sound or that old distortion you've always wanted to hear from an electric guitar; but instead from a bass guitar. The manual has many cool and interesting things to read about. It also has diagrams in the back of the booklet of sample settings you can put the pedal on to test out the sound. // 9

Sound: I am using the pedal with a 50 watt Crate Combo amp with an Ibanez SRX500 4-string bass guitar. The only time the pedal has been really loud is when I had it on distortion and the volume all the way up! The effects always sound great, and you can get the sound of Around the World by Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you set it correctly you will sound just like Flea's crazy bass playing on that song. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I can depend on this little pedal for my distortion and for smoothing out my playing. I would use it at gigs all the time if I get the chance, without a backup, maybe. // 9

Overall Impression: I play many styles of music, but mostly worship music and rock. It is a good match for any bass player seeking a new sound. I have been playing for about a year now, and so far this has been my only pedal. I would definitely try to purchase this again if it were lost/stolen. I wish it had a setting for Flea sound! // 10

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overall: 9
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: xBlackLightDist, on december 25, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Trader

Ease of Use: Very easy to use, just turn the knobs to get your level of distortion. It has a level knob, a double knob for high and low (treble and bass) to amplify or reduce, an overdrive knob and a gain knob. Pretty easy to figure out. Manual was very helpful it even comes with pre-sets that you can try in the back. The only confusing thing that was not clarified was that the amp is plugged into the Output and the guitar goes into the Input sockets. // 8

Sound: Right now I am using a Fender 15 Watt amp and a Fender Strat. bass with it. It can become noisy if jacked up to max level with the OD and gain on 10. Even if you barely put any gain on the pedal it still sounds better then just the amp. Green Day to Dragonforce you can make tons of combonations with the overdrive and gain knobs. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've had this for about a year and it still plays strong. I've only had a minor problems in the past but other then that it has not failed me. I would use it at a gig, I have many times already. I've pounded on this thing pretty bad and it still works good. // 9

Overall Impression: I play a lot of stuff, funk, rock, punk, post-hardcore, some speed metal. It seems to fit all of these depending on the settings. I have been playing for almost 2 years now, it is the only effect pedal I own, I also own a guitar and a keyboard. If I lost this distortion pad I would probably go and get another one because the sound it gives is worth it. I love this pedal, I use it with the Low on full, high about the middle, OD and gain just high enough that you can hear it but still really low and it delivers a really clean sound with a bit of edgyness to it. I have compared it to a synth pedal but I love distortion mroe. The only thing I wish it has was a bit more equalizer control but it's fine the way it is. // 9

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overall: 8.5
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: Caustic, on august 31, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Music Inn, Nottingham

Ease of Use: Okay, first thing to consider about this pedal is that it is not an overdrive pedal. It's a dirty, fuzzy distortion pedal that will kick like a mule and melt faces. If you want a slight Vintage growl, buy an Ampeg Scrambler. With that in mind, it's very easy to get the sound you want out of it. I spent a few minutes in the shop on a store bass, into a store amp, and found the sound I liked within a few minutes by tweaking the very simple (but effective) controls. The manual is pretty standard for Boss products, "this knob does this, this knob does that, plug bass in here". There were a few fairly decent example settings that someone could easily use as a starting point to get the sound they want. I could have summed up this entire section by saying "It's Boss", though. Set and forget. Fine as always. // 8

Sound: I'm playing a Warwick Rockbass Fortress into a Laney RB-8 combo, with the ODB-3 linked up with a GEB-7 EQ pedal, CEB-3 chorus and an Ibanez PD-7 (which I actually use as a volume boost/slight dirt). The ODB-3 is surprisingly not noisy, there's very little background hiss, which would be eliminated if I was using a noisegate like I should. Obviously the higher you crank the gain, the more noise you get, but that's what the gain control is there for, so you can't fault it for that. The effects are far from weak. Step on this pedal and you can feel it kick like a mule as all that dirty juice thunders down the cable and out of your amp. None of my favourite artists (that I know of) make extensive use this pedal, and I haven't really tried getting this pedal to sound like something it's not (Well, I'm a Tool fan, I'd be trying a long time). I'm more interested in forging my own sound, and this pedal certainly helps. A tip from me, though. Try and keep the treble on the on-board 2 band EQ on the AM side of noon. With too much treble from the pedal, it does cause the signal to get quite "fizzy," the main problem people seem to have with this pedal. But as long as you compensate by notching the treble down a little you'll be fine. I score it a seven because of the slight tendency to produce fizzy sounds when the treble is cranked and because it doesn't do the "slightly dirty" Vintage overdrive tone, which most bass players seem to expect from it. // 7

Reliability & Durability: It's a Boss pedal. As with every other reviewer writing about a Boss product, I'll say those words: indestructable. You could run it over and it'll still sound fine. I can and have gigged with it without a backup. It's not let me down. I don't think it's capable of letting me down! As long as you're hooked up to a mains supply or (if you must) have fresh batteries in, it'll take nothing short of the apocalypse to stop this pedal from delivering it's aggressive distortion to you by the truckload. // 10

Overall Impression: I play a very eclectic mix of music, but mostly grounded in the "modern rock" / alternative rock / post-rock/post-metal vein. For this, it's more than suitable. As I can conjure everything from slightly broken up cleans to a thick carpet of low end fuzz from this pedal, it's an ideal Tool for me. I've been playing for a few years now, and this is my second distortion pedal for bass. It contrasts quite well with the Ibanez PD-7 that I use. I think overall the PD-7 is the more adaptable pedal, but the ODB-3 is miles ahead in pure power, and that's why I picked it up to add to my rig. If you want a distorted bass sound that will blow the crowd against the back wall, the ODB-3 can deliver, and that's what I love about it. I do wish the pedal had true bypass, because my pedal board is growing exponentially and I don't want to lose too much tone through the amount of pedals I'm using but that's my only gripe. At this stage it's not a problem and I can't notice any loss of tone what'soever, which is not true of the likes of the Big Muff Pi, which to my ears sucks the bottom off your tone before you even step on it. Overall impression? Damned good pedal, no regrets in buying it what'soever. Boss are almost always a sure bet for good quality and I totally cannot understand the bad reputation this pedal has. In my opinion, it's not the pedal that's the problem, it's the person using it not understanding what exactly it is they've got. // 9

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overall: 8.8
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: monkey_dancer, on september 11, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 54.9

Purchased from: ebay

Ease of Use: Mine didn't come with a manual, but if you need one then you wouldn't be able to read it anyway. It's very obvious what all of the controls do. Simply turn on this pedal, twist things around a bit and it will sound alright. It takes a bit more adjustment to get a nice sound, but it is incredibly easy. // 9

Sound: I use it with a crappy (yet singularly awesome) Stagg (that's right, Stagg) bass, through whatever amp someone else has at a gig (mine broke). It has true bypass, and can always produce a nice sound (unless you turn up the volume far too high). With very high gain, it almost makes fuzz, but not quite, it's a strange sound, which I really like anyway. It doesn't do full-on distortion well, but it's not supposed to (and nobody wants to head bass distortion). I couldn't imagine ever needing another overdrive pedal. I also use this as my primary guitar overdrive (I play guitar in another two bands) and it's even great for that. it's just that good. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I'm quite certain that only Chuck Norris could destroy this pedal (and he wouldn't even want to). Like all Boss pedals, it's fantastically solid, with no easy to damage parts or weak construction. I would have no qualms about using this without a backup at a gig. // 8

Overall Impression: I find this is a match for any style of music, it can handle any overdrive, even for guitar (although it is admittedly less good for that, I'm just too poor for a guitar overdrive pedal). If this were stolen or lost, I would probably just buy another of these, although I might look for another pedal, it would only be because I enjoy trying things out. This pedal is pretty much perfect for its function. // 9

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overall: 9
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: Miss G, on may 02, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: www.theperfectbass.com

Ease of Use: Very easy to get a good sound out of, just like anything else start flat and work the knobs until you get a sound you like. I actually didn't read the manual because using it is pretty much common sense. 4 Knobs; level, EQ(cut/boost, balance(dry/OD), and gain. // 9

Sound: I mostly use my Ernie Ball Musicman Sterling SUB and my Fender Deluxe Active P Special through my Crate BT50 with this pedal. You can almost get a fuzzy Hysteria (by Muse) sound and you can definitely nail the Around The World (by RHCP) sound with this pedal. it's called "bass overdrive" I wouldn't really call the sound an overdrive really. it's more a fuzzy overdrive if anything. I haven't been able to get a slight gritty sound out of it yet. This does not suck any tone or bass. At least with my gear. This pedal BLOWS away the built in distortion on my amp (Crate BT50) // 8

Reliability & Durability: Like any Boss pedal it's built like a tank. I've already dropped it and tripped over it many times. I'd definitely gig with it without a backup. Some pictures of this pedal make it look a light Orange yellow but really it's a bright bold yellow. I think you could toss this thing on to a road and run it over and it would still work. // 10

Overall Impression: Its a little pricey but I don't regret buying it. If it were lost or stolen I would in fact buy another one. I love the overall sound you get from it. Not harsh like a big or little big muff. It doesn't suck your tone or bass. I love the bold yellow case of it too. I chose this over many pedals including the big and little big muff and the MXR blowtorch. I don't regret it, I am very satisfied. I wish it had a blue led. // 9

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overall: 9.5
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: Hetzer, on november 22, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 60

Purchased from: Guitar Centre

Ease of Use: This unit is pretty easy to use. Level and EQ knobs are familiar to all. It took me some time to get the feeling about balance knob but once I got used to it, it came so natural (as with all the things) that I will feel crippled with any bass overdrive that doesn't have something like that. The manual is detailed and is worth reading. It gives you a starting clue of devices abilities. It also contains some useful presets witch may come handy for finding your tone. The 9 V battery connector is a bit hard to unplug. That smaller part (for negative pole) is a bit too wide. Not a big deal, just use your knife or something like that to carefully disengage it, rather than just pulling and ripping it off. // 9

Sound: ODB 3 will provide any amount of Drive you will need and with good quality. From low natural Drive to high gain distortion, you name it! It nicely covers deep tones even with the lower tunings, and 2 way equalizer enables some more fine or radical adjustments. I play Yamaha RBX 1000 (with Seymour Duncan SJB3 and SPB pickups) through DigiTech Bass Squeeze and Boss ODB3 to Marshall JCM 800 Bass Series with 4*10" cab (Line 6 Lowdown LD 15 at my home) and I manage to set my bass sound similar to Bolt Thrower of Six Feet Under. (level: 12, hi: 12, low: 2, balance: 10, gain: 10 o'clock) Adding distortion with balance or gain knob is sure to add lots of noise but nothing that noise gate or muting your base and/or turning of this unit won't handle. It is an overdrive, it is supposed to make noise and it is up to player to use and control it! Remember to use a battery or a regulated power supply! // 9

Reliability & Durability: I use this for more than 3 years on rehearsals, gigs and in studio, without any backup and it never let me down. Even as the battery gets weaker, the LED indicator will be less and less brighter, and so will Drive but it will not turn of and leave you clean as long as it can squeeze any juice from the battery (as will do many of Boss analog pedals). It looks solidly built, sturdy, and durable. Switch is hidden inside and there is no way dust or any liquid spilling can reach it. Good for crowded club, gigs with a lots o mohsing and beer and sweat spraying all around. // 10

Overall Impression: Of all my earlier mentioned equipment (Yamaha RBX 1000, DigiTech Bass Squeeze, Boss ODB3, Marshall JCM 800 Bass Series with 4*10" cab, Line 6 Lowdown LD 15) ODB3 is the last one I would change for something else! I think this unit's tone and gain range is god enough for death/thrash metal-grindcore music that I play, or for any metal, hardcore, punk style and more. I do not doubt that there are better bass overdrive stompboxes, but with this ratio of price and quality, Boss ODB3 gets to the top. If I, by any chance, run out of it, I would definitely get a new one! // 10

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overall: 8.8
ODB-3 Bass Overdrive Reviewed by: rohitfenderlove, on february 10, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 45

Purchased from: eBay

Ease of Use: The Boss ODB-3 has 3 knobs (Level, Presence, Gain) and a concentric EQ knob(Low, High). I bought it used so I didn't get a manual with this. The knobs are wisely labeled. The EQ knobs are an advantage and disadvantage at the same time. They allow you more tweakablity but the added knobs also make, getting a good sound a little bit harder. // 9

Sound: I play a Squier Jazz Bass through a Vox Pathfinder 10W bass amp. I also have a DOD FX25B and a Boss GEB-7 in my signal chain. Since it is a dirt box, it will inevitably add some noise when engaged, but it's not much. It's a very versatile pedal ranging from subtle overdrive to over-the-top, Around The World(RHCP) type fuzz. It can sometimes sound a bit metallic but rolling off the High on the EQ knob can solve that. The EQ knob is very helpful as it prevents any loss of high/low end. This is a great pedal especially for metal bassists. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This has been said countless times before. It's a BOSS. It's as solid as can be. Good battery life. I'd definitely gig without a backup. Of course, I'd keep spare batteries. // 10

Overall Impression: I play funk, rock, punk and blues. I use overdrive/distortion/fuzz sparingly but when I do this one does the job well. I picked it up used for $45 but I wouldn't pay $100 for this effect if I had to buy new when you can get an EHX Little Big Muff for $70. I don't like selling my gear so I probably wouldn't sell this but if this gets lost I'd like to try the Little Big Muff since I've heard good things about it and just to try something new. But this get if you can pick it up used for a good price. For a first bass pedal, this is great. // 8

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