Price paid: $ 20
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Sound — 9
From now on, I am using it with my strat and Peavey classic 50, and sometimes I mix it with different overdrives. Let's review the versatility first. The versatility of the Wasabi Overdrive is very good. You can get many great tones out of it. The possibilies are endless. You can get twangy, scooped, thin, thick, anything your heart desires. Sadly, some of these settings sound artificial to me. But, there are a definite few tones which it makes which are great. Next we'll cover the noise factor. The Wasabi Overdrive is actually quite quiet. Danelectro did a good job designing this pedal. When you have the level high, it's gets kinda loud. But, this part of the pedal wasn't designed to be a volume boost. The other side however, is meant to boost just volume, so leave the boosting jobs to the boost. Now on to general sound (note that I will be reviewing this running into the clean channel of my amp, unless otherwise stated). On flat, this pedal is reactive to the tone knob. But, the general voicing is quite smooth. Not necessarily bassy, but just it has a smooth texture. It's a lot like my modded tubescreamer, but with less of a mid hump. But this pedal is in no way transparant sounding at all. But, leave transparancy to an OCD or something else. The sound this pedal can generate with the EQ presets can go from smooth, to thumpy, to tinny, and to thumpy again. the last 3 presets I really don't like. Number 2 is thin and weak, number 3 is just brash and strange, and number 4 is just like number 1, but more artificial sounding. The mix control is very nice, you can have a almost clean tone with a tad of OD, or a lot of overdrive with a tad of clean, or just full out overdrive. The pickup selector switch is useful for getting even more tones, but most of the time it's best just to leave it in the neutral middle position. Sounds more natural that way. And the boost is nice. It seems to add some treble, but it's clean (as in, no overdrive/distortion is added). If you jumped on musicians friend's deal on this pedal, the boost is worth 20 bucks already by itself. Not even including the nice Overdrive section. Also, the maximum gain really isn't that high. This can't get real distortion, but it's still a nice Overdrive. It just can't get very high gain. And it has a decent amount of volume boost with the boost. Enough to switch from rhythm to lead. Onto the dirty channel. On it's own, the Wasabi gets kind of a flabby sound. But, it wasn't designed to be used on the dirty channel of an amp. Unless you have another overdrive to use. With my Strat going into the Wasabi, then into my modded tubescreamer, I get an incredibly smooth, thick lead tone. Think Eric Johnson's lead tone. It's 90% like that, minus the reverb and delay. I believe if you have a good reverb and delay, you will nail EJ's tone. 9 Overall on it's own, 10 with another OD. On its own on the clean channel, some of the tones you can get will sound artificial. But, overall, it's a great pedal. Especially for 20 bucks! Sadly, I think MF just got sold out. But, if you can find one at full price (100 bucks) it's still worth it.
Overall Impression — 9
I play blues and rock. This pedal matches very well. This pedal is very different from other overdrives, which is a good thing. You can get this HUGE array of tones, and 80% of them are good tones. I believe this to be a great pedal. And even at it's full price, it's still a great deal. If it were stolen, I'd buy a new one. I'd maybe try out the Wasabi Distortion just for kicks. I kind of wish it was moddable (it may be moddable, but I haven't taken off the back yet, and I've heard places that it wasn't moddable) don't take my word on it though. I compared it to my DOD grey 250, modded tubescreamer, and Boss SD1. It crushes the SD1, and can get smoother than the 250. Even though this is a great pedal, it still doesn't beat my tubescreamer. I have yet to find a pedal that does beat my tubescreamer. There's really nothing else I could wish for, since it already has as many features as you'd want in an OD. 9 overall. Just because a select few OD's can actually get a 10. But, this one comes close. I recommend this pedal 100%. And if you can get another one for 20 bucks, you can use it as a hammer or paperweight, and it'd still be worth it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The thing is a brick. Seriously. This makes Boss pedals look wimpy. The only design flaw I can see is the plastic input/output jacks. But, the case is thick and strong metal. I can depend on it for gigs, and I could probably gig without a backup. But, I'd have another OD to take it's place incase it does go bad. 10, because it's a tank, but even though it has plastic jacks, the incredibly strong metal case makes up for it.
Ease of Use — 8
This is a rather complex overdrive. It has 5 actual knob controls, plus two footswitches and two switches on the back. Altogether, it has a level, drive, tone, mix, and EQ select knob. On the back, it has a boost selector switch and a pickup type selector, and it also has 2 footswitches for the overdrive and boost functions. I'll rattle off the controls which aren't usually on a basic overdrive. Mix control: this mixes the clean signal of your guitar with the overdriven signal of the pedal. Turn it to the left to have more clean than overdrive, turn it to the right to get a more effected tone. This is a useful feature, but it takes some playing around with it to hear what it does. EQ select: this is a 5 position switch which allows you to select from 4 preset EQ voicings (flat, and 1-4). The only one I really like is flat and EQ voicing 1. The others are just too thin, or artificial sounding. Pickup selector switch: on the back, this is a 3 position switch (hum, neutral, single), which optimizes the overdrive's sound when set to the kind of pickups that you are using. For example, when you have it set on single coil mode, it boosts the output higher, and adds more bottom end. It does the opposite for humbuckers, which controls the output a bit, and cuts some bass. Neutral is just what a normal overdrive would be. Boost switch: this allows you to Switch the boost function from a 5db to 10db boost. Pretty straightforward. This boost function is controlled by the left footswitch. It's quite easy to get a good sound out of it, although it has complex controls. You have to spend an hour to figure out what each knob does. But, it gets easier once you have practice. Overall, it's pretty easy to use. Just because it has a bunch of good tones and versatility. It's a bit harder to set all the knobs, but you end up with great tones. 8/10 overall, because although is simple to get a good sound out of it, it has a learning curve, and can be confusing to new players Who have never worked pedals before.