BD-2 Blues Driver Phat Mod review by Keeley

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (39 votes)
Keeley: BD-2 Blues Driver Phat Mod
4

Sound — 10
The Keeley BD-2 is a significant tonal upgrade from the unmodified Boss. Robert Keeley has taken a solid pedal with some pretty good tones and created an impressively versatile Overdrive. This Overdrive is not a tube Screamer replacement. The tonal results are transparent, dynamic, and full of character. The Keeley BD-2 responds remarkably to picking dynamics. By slightly altering your picking intensity and/or rolling back your volume knob you can clean this thing right up or you can dig in and rock it out. This pedal also works great for a lead boost. Because of the pedal's transparent nature you can crank the volume of the pedal, keep the gain down, adjust the tone and achieve a true preamp tube gain from your amp with a little added color from the pedal. This setting can also work great for adding a tiny bit of grit to a clean tone for thickness. The most surprising tone I found in this pedal is the fuzz possibility. Cranking the pedal's gain up and running into the clean channel of my Engl Screamer 50 I was able to get a total Hendrix vibe! It even worked great with a Uni-Vibe sound running into it. The PHAT switch is the only physical addition to the original Boss BD-2. By engaging this switch you will notice a slight bass boost. This tonal addition is more felt than heard. It is very useful for beefing up a 1x12 combo amp.

Overall Impression — 10
I've been using this Overdrive for about a year and it solved all sorts of tonal problems for me. I believe even Robert Keeley claims this to be one must have pedal. The Keeley BD-2 Phat Mod is highly versatile in it's full dynamic Overdrive range. It is also an excellent value ($150 street price)! Your guitar/amp relationship will be truly enhanced by the addition of this pedal. It works great in front of tube amps and solid state amps as well! Check out the audio clips and be sure to check out some of Robert Keeley's other little masterpieces.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I've had nothing but great luck with Keeley's products. Boss builds these things like tanks anyway! In the unlikely event that something goes bad on it, all you have to do is contact them and they'll fix her right up!

Ease of Use — 9
The Keeley Blues Driver (BD-2) Phat Mod consists of only a few features: Tone, Level, and Gain controls plus the added PHAT Switch and pretty blue LED. For those of you not familiar with Robert Keeley's pedal modifications, the Keeley website is definitely a place you should visit. I have found that his descriptions are spot on and very modest. As you will see on the Keeley site, several capacitors are replaced in the BD-2 for some increased bass response and clarity. Some of the diodes in the clipping section of the pedal are changed as well. This results in a different type of clipping (Overdrive) which really is more tube-like. All of that stuff is cool and all, but the coolest thing about this pedal is what it can do for your tone!

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Johnny Quest
    @ guildplyr369 monteallums.com has DIY mods for all sorts of pedals inc. the blues driver
    Johnny Quest
    i have this pedal. it's ok, but robert keeley is a d***. he sent me a mail after i sent a complaint and he's a jerk.
    Nike-Man
    tryhonesty wrote: Looks like a boss pedal to me.Very similiar to the Boss Blues Driver series
    *palm to head
    shaofu0424
    EnyoAdonai wrote: All silicon diodes drop .7 V, germanium diodes only drop .3 V and there are other types of diodes too. His reason for changing the diodes could have been to get the bias closer to the voltage across the diode to reduce cross over distortion or whatever else it may have been affecting.
    kudos... i spaced on the germies... so, is that what hes doing... sounds like hes trying to increase the presence of the first harmonic... considering germies have natural feedback, this becomes quite interesting, kinda like a harmonic enhancer- clear fundamental with improved harmonics... well, dammit, now i gotta go get my calculator and formula book... nah, im gonna play... on my tv special, STOCK bluesdriver, and blues jr... loudly... and with great zeal... rock on yall...
    MjX_05
    I've had one of these for a couple years. Pretty solid pedal. I've never played a stock Blues Driver so I don't really know the difference. Philly080...check out his website at robertkeeley.com. That's where I bought mine. You can also send in a stock pedal and they'll mod it for you.
    EnyoAdonai
    shaofu0424 wrote: i have heard mixed reviews about keely mods and his service from local peeps... whats strange, a bud has this mod and there isnt that much difference from my stock pedal when ab'd... he was pissed... or maybe i got a good pedal... whatever... btw, diode changes do nothing- they all drop .7 volts... the circuit has to change... the main change is probably in the chip- possibly a burr brown or a scaled adder- which produce better transients due to a serious decrease in slew rates... who gives a shit, just rock!
    All silicon diodes drop .7 V, germanium diodes only drop .3 V and there are other types of diodes too. His reason for changing the diodes could have been to get the bias closer to the voltage across the diode to reduce cross over distortion or whatever else it may have been affecting.
    roarinflames
    lukesta74 wrote: I have one! It's pretty good because I like to do a bit of blues soloing but when i do a shred solo I find my Digitech death metal pedal far better .
    im sorry, come again? must have been a typo, cause that is definitely the worst pedal ive ever used in my life
    Philly080
    Anyone know the price of this? It sounds like something I would love to use.
    Eamon Fethers
    don't mean to be dumb or anything but is this the sort of pedal u'd want to get a john frusciante type of sound, like the guitar in "can't stop"?
    guildplyr369
    I have the stock blues driver, can I find instructions somewhere on how to do the mod myself?
    shaofu0424
    wanna make me one? haha[/quote] sure, if your serious... good luck finding the ibanez though... its the sickly green one with an enhance circuit... i have also modded the old yeller dod overdrives to great effect... seriously yall, this is the type of shit tech schools were made for... imo, best degree a working musician could hope to get...
    lukesta74
    I have one! It's pretty good because I like to do a bit of blues soloing but when i do a shred solo I find my Digitech death metal pedal far better.
    stratomaster123
    is it still bascially just a Boss Blues Driver pedal with the FAT switch or is the whole pedal changed?
    hippotato7
    shaofu0424 wrote: btw... being an e tech myself, this mod could be done for a quarter of the price by any tech familiar with solid state amplification and negative feedback resonance... the most expensive part would be the chip... check out mouser if you want to see how inexpensive these components are... i modded an old ibanez distortion charger 32.47 shipping included... it only took an hour at the equivalent of 30 bucks per hour... so, i ended up with a BADASS pedal for 62.37... sounds like a MILLION bucks...
    wanna make me one? haha
    Crystal_Baller
    i have this pedal as well as a keeley katana clean boost, keely tubescreamer and compression...all great quality and sound amazing...i never had a problem with service
    shaofu0424
    btw... being an e tech myself, this mod could be done for a quarter of the price by any tech familiar with solid state amplification and negative feedback resonance... the most expensive part would be the chip... check out mouser if you want to see how inexpensive these components are... i modded an old ibanez distortion charger 32.47 shipping included... it only took an hour at the equivalent of 30 bucks per hour... so, i ended up with a BADASS pedal for 62.37... sounds like a MILLION bucks...
    AlexBarraclough
    I've just got one of these of Ebay and it literally arrive the same time this review was written, to the exact time and to put it simply, if you haven't got a PHAT modded one of these... get one. It's one of the best pedals I've ever played through, and i work in a music shop, so i go through pedals like toilet paper.
    shaofu0424
    i have heard mixed reviews about keely mods and his service from local peeps... whats strange, a bud has this mod and there isnt that much difference from my stock pedal when ab'd... he was pissed... or maybe i got a good pedal... whatever... btw, diode changes do nothing- they all drop .7 volts... the circuit has to change... the main change is probably in the chip- possibly a burr brown or a scaled adder- which produce better transients due to a serious decrease in slew rates... who gives a shit, just rock!