BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Review

manufacturer: Marshall date: 06/07/2011 category: Guitar Effects
Marshall: BB-2 Bluesbreaker II
This bluesy bruiser is effectively two pedals in one - a tonally transparent booster that gives your solos that extra lift, and a truly valve-like overdrive that's so rich in 2nd order harmonics it'll make your guitar gently weep while you wail.
 Sound: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 7.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9.4
 Ease of Use: 9.1
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (8) 25 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: Dookie_1988, on february 01, 2005
7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 64.05

Ease of Use: It's easy to use this little baby. If you have a tube amp then it's even better as it has a great 'boost' function, this will drive your tube into natural Overdrive so you can sound like Angus. The manual give you some suggested settings, which are quite good acctually, but experimant for yourself, there's lots on offer. // 10

Sound: With some simple tweaks, you can sound like Angus and head bang 'till your hearts content or you can roll the tone back and pump up the gain and let your guitar cry and even squeel, and head into some wailing blues licks. I use this pedal with an Epiphone LP Gold Top (open-coil 'buckers), it sounds sweet! The best thing is I run through a Marshall G30R, a crap amp, but this pedal will make that sound great, if not, better. It's not a very gainy pedal, if you want stupid amounts of gain, then look elsewhere. But if you're into playing anything from AC/DC to Gary Moore, it's great. The sustain availible is great. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This thing is built like a tank! It would've been used in World War II if it was around, it would probably survive it. I'm heavy and have jumped on this thing from a height, and it still works fine! It's very realiable, I've had I a while now, and nout has gone wrong. // 10

Overall Impression: This pedal will work for most styles of music (but not metal). I can't think of anything it should have to improve it. If it were stolen, I would definatly replace it, quickly. I recommend this pedal to anyone, whether you're using a tube amp or an SS one, this will make it sound better. Some people say bad things about the Marshall peadals, but after using this I can't see why. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 4.5
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: Maverick49, on may 08, 2007
2 of 7 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 91.5

Ease of Use: First of all I would never buy one of these things but seeing as there's only one review on here for this pedal and it gives the pedal 10 for everything, I felt I needed to tell people the truth! Like any other pedal this pedal is simple and easy to use, all the standard knobs, jacks and buttons are all present, no problems on that side of things. // 8

Sound: OK, so I went to my local music shop and asked if they had any nice, Clapton-esque sounding blues Overdrive pedals. They suggested I try out this pedal. I used a Gibson Les Paul through a Fender Twin Reverb Amp, which, without any effects is an absolutely killer tone. As soon as I clicked this awful thing to 'on', that beautiful tone disappeared and was replaced by this horrible muddy, distinctly digital sounding drone. I thought maybe the tone controls needed fiddling with to get a nice sound so I spent about 20 minutes messing with all the knobs trying to get a nice sound out of this pedal. End result? It can't be done! // 1

Reliability & Durability: The construction is very tough and all-metal so I imagine it would be pretty difficult to destroy this pedal, no matter how much you would want to after playing it for more than five minutes! I would never use it at a gig, though that's more to do with the terrible sound it creates rather than any technical issues. // 8

Overall Impression: These days I almost exclusively play blues and classic rock and when I tried out this pedal I was looking for a '60s British Blues kind of sound. The name 'Bluesbreaker' suggested this is the sound you get with this pedal. Wrong! As I said in the comments section, my friend was given one for free by a friend of his Who had bought one and lost the receipt. I was round his house jamming when I spotted the pedal sitting in a pile of junk in his corner, when we talked about it, it turned out he hated it as much as I did! He traded it in at a music shop for a Boss OS-2, a good move. If you are serious about getting a good blues sound, this is positively the last pedal you should consider buying, it really sounds that bad! Do not buy this pedal! // 1

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.8
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: ECwomantoneman, on september 08, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 60.39

Purchased from: GAK

Ease of Use: Easy as pie to use. Volume and Tone knobs for adjusting, well, err, volume and tone, a Drive knob for increasing or decreasing your distortion and a knob for switching between "blues", which is the mode for using the pedal's overdrive, and "boost" which helps naturally Overdrive you amp better, i.e. it starts distorting naturally at lower volumes, so for those lucky people out there with loud valve amps, you don't need to continually blow your ears out to plug in and play. The manual is pretty spartan, but it's a simple enough pedal to figure out. // 9

Sound: I use it with a p.o.s. Marshall MG15DFX, a Jim Deacon LPSTD (Les Paul copy) and a Dunlop Crybaby. If you experiment about with it, the guitar and the amp, you can pull off pretty damn good 60's Clapton sounds, nice and fat (e.g. Sunshine of Your Love) crunchy and wailing (e.g. Hideaway). I used it to test out a Gibson SG Standard with a valve amp in a music shop in Glasgow and the sound was much better. More definition, especially with the amp naturally overdriven, because the MG15DFX sounds as flat as a fart, so to speak. As well as imitating Clapton, you can get a nice Jimmy Page-esque tone as well. It suits any '60s or '70s blues and rock very well. Metalheads, look somewehre else, you'll despise this pedal. // 10

Reliability & Durability: In Scotland, we'd say it's Clydebuilt, so to speak, which means superb quality and built like a tank. The metal casing is like the armour of a Panzer, it's so solid! I'd rely on it for gigging, no problem at all. Of course, you can never tell if something will go wrong, but otherwise I could depend on it to deliver the tone I wanted every time. // 10

Overall Impression: As I've said elsewhere, I play mostly '60s and '70s heavy electric blues, rock/hard rock, a la Cream, EC with John Mayall, Led Zepp, the Who, Free, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, the Allman Brothers etc. If lost or stolen, I'd definitely get it again, it does the job brilliantly and is easy to use. Perhaps not got the piercing tone of a metal-y pedal, but for the Marshall sound of the '60s and '70s, that chunky, creamy tone, I wouldn't look at any other. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 6.3
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 08, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 58.56

Purchased from:

Ease of Use: This is an easy to use pedal with basic functions. Drive controls the amount of overall gain. Tone controls the diffenent frequencys. and volume is pretty self explanetary. There is also a dial to select boost/blues. The pedal looks as though it could survive a nuclear war. The battery compartment is well thought out though I would sugest buying an addapter as they prove incredably useful. // 8

Sound: I am using a Fender telecaster and a Vintage VS6 into a Marshall 100 vs 100 watt amp. This effect adds very little noise and cleans up nicly on very low gain. However when the gain is increased past halfway all trebel is lost and the result is a low muddy barly recognisable sound. In short I hated it. I found that the best settings where drive at 11 o'clock, tone at 2 o'clock and volume ajusted to taist (this is on the blues channel. I use the clean boost now as at least that has some quality to it. That goes behind my Keeley modded ds1 wich incedently sounds fantastic and is worth buying or modding yourself. But don't use the stock DS1 they sound cheep and noisy. // 4

Reliability & Durability: It's fairly reliable and I would uses it without a backup. As I said before I only uses it now as a boost for solos and will probebly sell it for a better boost pedal but anyhow. An adapter would be a good idea for gigging as it can run down quite sudenly but it is fairly reiable and works fine in my rig. // 8

Overall Impression: The blues channel is useless but it works well as a boost so I'll give it some credit. If it where lost or stolen I would just save up and buy the mxr/ custom audio electronics boost pedal as there is no comparison. As I said before I would not recomend this but I would suggest getting the Keeley modded ds1 as it sounds like anything from Steve Vai to AC/DC. They also do some good sd1 mods. // 5

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: MarcoGE, on september 19, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 50

Purchased from: Friend

Ease of Use: First of all, this thing is supposed to be a two-in-one pedal: a booster and an Overdrive. The two modes give you a sweet Overdrive, but de booster tone is better, more valvesque. You just have to play and you'll get a sweet crispy end. With the OD mode, it works simply: a master volume knob, a tone knob and a Drive knob. I bought it used, I didn't get a manual but it's not really necessary. You can download it on the Marshall site if you need it. // 9

Sound: I'm using it with a Vox AC15 amp (full valve)and an Epiphone Casino, but I also tried it with a Roland Micro Cube (solid state). First, the booster mode. The first thing I realised is that it reacts to your way of playing: smooth picking, smooth sound, angry picking, big sound. Also, you can play with your guitar knobs, and it reacts as a valve amp would (even on the Micro Cube): with your volume and tone knobs at 10, you'll get a cool Overdrive, with a 5 volume and a 10 tone a sweet crunchy end, and with 5 on both it will get driven if you play hard. Second, the overdrive mode. Even if it's supposed to be a pedal in the blues musical range, you can get pretty big sounds with it, with good gain. You won't play metal, but you can get a cool distortion that could suit some AC/DC for example. With the Drive knob at 4, you'll get the same kind of sound as with the booster mode, but it will sound more driven in general, not just having a high crunchy end. If you push it a little further, let's say 7, you have a cool overdrive that could suit blues rock. And with 10, as I said, it's almost distortion. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This pedal is really well built. Full metal construction, it looks really solid. I didn't have for that long but I think I could trust on this thing. // 9

Overall Impression: I mainly play blues rock, 60s rock and blues/jazz, and it suits me good. I've been playing for a bit more than a year, practising two hours almost everyday, so I got a pretty good level for a year of playing. In this kind of gear, I also have a Dunlop Fuzz Face and a Boss DS-1, and I actually prefer my Marshall BB-2 to these other two. If it were lost, I would probably get another, maybe test some other pedals of the same kind, but I like this one so why not. What I love about the BB-2 is the valve-like Overdrive, it doesn't sound as digital and SS as others do. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.8
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: RichClarke, on february 20, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 40

Purchased from: ABC Music Esher

Ease of Use: The pedal is a self explanatory one. Four knobs, two 'modes'. When on 'Boost' setting, only the master volume can differ the sound. When on 'Drive' mode you can play around with Gain and Tone knobs to get the sound you want. Does what it says on the tin and if I can use it I'm sure that anyone can! // 10

Sound: I'm using it through a Line 6 Spider III, whilst playing a Fender Stratocaster Standard 2009 edition. This was my first pedal and I've loved it since the day a plugged it in. I use both settings a frequently, however I'm leaning towards the boost setting more than anything as it's a good pedal for boost. The Overdrive setting can sound really good if you set the tone and gain knobs properly. I often go by the recommended settings they show you in the booklet, which gives out a tone that satisfies my musical needs. All in all I can't really fault it. I think the boost setting is better than the Overdrive setting though. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Unbreakable. It's solid as a rock, built well, can sustain lots of things falling/jumping on it. I've dropped it a few times and it's probably made a more damage to my floor than it has to itself! It still works just as well as the day I bought it! // 10

Overall Impression: You can't go wrong for 40 quid. It's reliable, kicks out a good tone and you won't be let down. I wouldn't see the point in paying anymore for something that does a job like this for the price. The sounds produced are good and it will last for years! // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8.3
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: Punk_Ninja, on may 27, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 40

Purchased from: Local music store

Ease of Use: The Marshall BB-II is a rather simplistic pedal. It boasts a very known interface, in knobs labeled "drive", "tone" and "volume", meaning no complications will be met when trying to dial in a good tone. There is also a knob which flicks between two settings "boost" and "blues", the boost setting is a transparent volume boost, which bypasses all knobs except the volume. Where the blues setting activates the entire overdrive pedal. The manual detailed everything which would be needed when using this pedal, including some suggested settings. // 9

Sound: I've used this pedal with a few setups (due to having it for a few years now), most recently it's been a Carvin Bolt-T or an Ibanez S470 through a Cornford Roadhouse 30. Though I have also used it through a Laney LC15 and some other amps (when taking it to jams, spontaneous gigs and other such minimal gear situations). So I've heard this through a good range of different products. The pedal sounds overall fairly good. Though it does take a bit of time to get a good sound from it. I've found that often the volume of the pedal is a bit quiet, forcing you to raise the volume knob which may compromise your intended tone. As well as this, there is a bit of muddiness which this pedal brings to the table, but it's fairly easy to get rid of that with a tweak of the tone knob. Other than these slight problems the pedal does sound good. I use this pedal for a more dynamic light overdrive, but it can get quite heavy if the gain is raised. There's also very little noise with the pedal, any noise I've encountered with this pedal has been due to other factors. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Reliability and durability is probably this pedal's highest point. This was the first guitar effect I bought, about 4 or so years ago and it's holding up better than some of my most recent purchases. The term "built like a tank" is thrown around a bit, but I genuinely believe this pedal fulfills that statement better than most. This pedal has been in many situations, from heavy live use, to being dropped, to being lost in the ether for a while and the only damage seems to be a few scratches in the finish and a slightly bent knob. I have gigged with this pedal and probably will continue to without need for a backup. So no complaints here at all. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall this pedal definitely does a good job. There are probably different alternatives, but for the price of 45-50 it's hard to fault. I play a wide mix of genres, but I use this pedal mainly with a rock and alternative cover band, playing stuff like Foo Fighters, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, The White Stripes, etc, and the Marshall BB-II can definitely get some good tones for this sort of stuff. It's a fairly versatile pedal which is always good. If I was without this pedal I can't see myself buying a new one, purely because I can never stay with one thing for too long! The only problems I have with this pedal is that it can take some work getting a good tone from it, but once you've tweaked it to your liking, it sounds good. // 7

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.5
BB-2 Bluesbreaker II Reviewed by: promaster949, on june 07, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 60

Purchased from: Local shop

Ease of Use: This pedal is easy to use. It has 4 knobs: Mode (Boost/Blues), Drive, Tone and Volume. On Mode you choose either Boost (boost) or Blues (overdrive). Drive adjusts the overdrive, Tone and Volume do what they usually do. If you fiddle around with the knobs you can get a certain sound from it, either blues or rock. // 10

Sound: I'm using it with a Blade Texas Classic and an Orange Crush 10 which has a bit darker sound, and the boost on this thing pairs with it quite nice. The amp can get pretty noisy if you crank the volume and the drive. However, I find that the Blues mode is a solid overdrive, but the Boost mode is much better. You get the blues with this baby, and you can try for some rock stuff if you mess with the knobs. Messing with the volume knob on your guitar you can adjust your tone perfectly. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The thing is made to survive a tank rush followed by aircraft bombing and then a nuclear catastrophe. I would certainly use it on a gig, I don't think it would let me down. It is a bit heavy and it comes armored like nothing else I've seen. And it has a nice, Bluesbreaker emblem on it. Did I mention it was rock solid? // 10

Overall Impression: I play Rory Gallagher style blues and I nailed a few of his sounds with this thing. If it were stolen I think I would buy it again. I wish it had a better Overdrive mode, though. I love it for the Boost mode, because it really gives a bit to the tone color and loudness. // 10

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