BD-2 Blues Driver Phat Mod Review

manufacturer: Keeley date: 02/20/2009 category: Guitar Effects
Keeley: BD-2 Blues Driver Phat Mod
It's not simply a distortion pedal but rather a tone tool that adds to your guitar tone, supplying really nice lows, crystal clear high frequency, great picking response and detail. For those wanting to set their amp on fire but not change the tone of their system, this is the pedal.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Ease of Use: 9.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) pictures (1) 33 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.5
BD-2 Blues Driver Phat Mod Featured review by: UG Team, on february 20, 2009
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: 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! // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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! // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

- Josh Johnson (c) 2009

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.8
BD-2 Blues Driver Phat Mod Reviewed by: jaybals, on february 27, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 110

Purchased from: Andertons

Ease of Use: Pretty simple set up, three knobs and a Switch, one for volume I use more just to balance the effect with the bypassed volume, gain which can give you anything from a transparent clean boost at the lowest setting, right up through mild Overdrive through to full out distortion. Then a tone pot, which varies the output frequencies, and I find that it's very easy to set up, as any setting sounds good! (well, depending on what you want). Then there is also a bass boost Switch, which is only really noticeable on single coils (as far as I can tell) as it is very subtle. It may take a while to get the exact sound you want, but this pedal will do it! // 10

Sound: A truely sexy piece of kit! It can give you anything from transparent clean boost at one extreme, to full out distortion at the other! that's the reason I liked this pedal, after I spent several hours testing out an array of different Overdrive pedals This pedal is perfect for bluesy stuff, but I can also use it for more metal-y playing styles by increasing the gain and tone. Because of the increased bass response of this pedal over the stock Boss one, this also adds to the metal side of playing, as well as giving high enough gain without sounding muddy. I can make my guitar squeal like a piggy! I like to use this pedal with gain at around 12 o'clock, and tone off completely for a nice warm tone, driving my Vox AC30 slightly, but still a very smooth sound. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I haven't had it log enough to tell for sure, but from what i see on the internet Boss's are supposed to be built like tanks, and Keeley seem well trusted, so i only have other peoples word for this. // 9

Overall Impression: Like I said, I spent hours trying out different pedals, including a Fulltone GT-500, T-rex Moller and I already owned a DigiTech Bad Monkey, and this pedal sounds far better than all of them! It has such a great range of tones, and that was exactly what I wanted from my Overdrive pedal. If it were lost or stolen then I would definitely buy it again (once I got some money, or supposing I got paid insurance). I would have like to have tried it out side my side with a stock Boss BD-2 to see the full tonal difference, but I'm sure that this pedal is far better, as I also wanted a higher end Overdrive for my rig, as well as it's versatility (and surprisingly low price). // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear