What’s the difference between Tone City Overdrives?

Tone City pedals are one of the most popular brands sold here at Andertons Music Co. with their wide range of overdrive and distortion pedals as well as their reverb, modulation and delay units.

Overdrive can be a confusing subject at the best of times and sometimes the smallest nuances in a pedal or amp can make a huge difference to how the distorted signal comes out. The Tone City names give a clue as to what the pedal might sound like but if you have no point of reference then that won’t help you out when deciding which Tone City pedal is right for you.

So, we’ve created this easy-to-use guide to help you choose the pedal that might work in your current setup or how you could build a brand new sound that you haven’t explored before without shelling out loads of money on expensive pedals – especially because Tone City pedals are so affordable.

We’ve also put these Tone City pedals to the test by pitting them against much more expensive counterparts in a ‘David vs. Goliath’ series on our Andertons TV YouTube channel.

If you haven’t heard of Tone City pedals before then learn more about them by clicking here. Or if you want to know what people really think of them, why not check out these Tone City reviews.

Tone City Pedal How it Sounds
Sweet Cream Overdrive Smooth and transparent with a low-gain kick.
Kaffir Lime Overdrive TS-Style overdrive.
Dry Martini Overdrive Particularly dynamic and able to go from low-gain to high-gain with ease.
Bad Horse Overdrive The Klon clone.
Mandragora Overdrive Highly touch-sensitive overdrive pedal.
All Spark Boost From clean boost to preamp style fattening. Think along the lines of an EP Boost.
King of Blues Overdrive Dual pedal overdrive based on the Analogman King Of Tone.

All Spark Boost

The All Spark Boost can work both as a clean boost to simply increase the volume of your guitar and as a ‘preamp’ style pedal by driving the front of your tube end into overdrive. It’s got a ‘Fat’ switch which will warm up the sound of single coil guitars and a ‘Bright’ switch if you have dark sounding humbuckers. Or even if you just want to cut through the mix a bit more.

Sweet Cream

The Sweet Cream is wonderfully smooth and creamy sounding without overloading your guitar signal with distortion. It’s one of the most popular pedals in the range thanks to the fact that it enhances the tone you already have rather than completely colouring it.

It stacks beautifully with other pedals and is great for adding low-gain grit a clean signal or to improve the harmonic response of other high gain pedals.

Kaffir Lime

The Kaffir Lime overdrive is based on a very familiar TS-style circuit. It adds a mid-range hump to your tone when running into an already driven amp which tightens up the low-end whilst simultaneously adding saturation and sustain.

It’s just as good when plugging into a clean amp and will deliver a bluesy crunch that works for Texas style blues or simple arpeggiated picked notes.

Dry Martini

The Dry Martini is based on a pedal designed to give you a full tone especially if you’re a bit obsessive when dialling in your distorted sounds. It’s got a toggle switch that allows you to switch between low-gain dirt and a stronger overdrive setting.

The gain on-board will get your guitar to ‘fire-breathing’ status without being so hot that you can’t hear the tone of your guitar coming through the amp. It’s become a favourite in the Tone City range and sounds equally as good doing low-gain rhythm tones or high-gain solo tones.

Bad Horse

If you hadn’t guessed, the Bad Horse is a clone of a Klon. It’s got that typically transparent character which doesn’t colour your guitar signal but can add a smooth mid-range hump when plugged into an already driven amp.

The Bad Horse sounds quite different when used with single coil or humbucking guitars and as such, makes it a very versatile pedal to have on your board. This one is perfect for low-gain afficianados.

Mandragora

The Tone City Mandragora is a stunning low to mid-gain overdrive pedal with more control than you’d probably expect from such a small mini pedal.

The tones can get quite hairy and filthy but respond incredibly well to your touch making this a very dynamic pedal. It brings out every nuance and touch in your playing.

King of Blues Overdrive

The King Of Blues overdrive is based on the famous King Of Tone overdrive pedal. This dual button pedal has a present mid-range with a transparent clean character that you just can’t get from other drive pedals and it seems to simultaneously make your guitar driven and sustain whilst still retaining clarity.

Tone City Pedal How it Sounds
Fuxx Fuzz Aggressive Fuzz Tones.
Wildfire Distortion Based on the Suhr Riot for high-gain aggressive tones.
Black Tea Distortion Typically British-sounding with the typical likeness of a cranked Vox amp.
Golden Plexi A Plexi in a box – think Hendrix, Page and beyond.
Model M Our favourite Black & Gold British amp in a box.
Model B A typically American-sounding gain structure with powerful low-end and soaring highs. Think Boogie.
Model V Not specified but quite similar to a Vox in it’s tonal response.

Fuxx Fuzz

The Fuxx Fuzz is by far the most aggressive dirt pedal that Tone City produce. It’s got a sweet spot that’ll give you oodles of sustain whilst still cutting through the mix but can also be fluffy and woolly when needed.

Wildfire Distortion

The Tone City Wildfire Distortion is based loosely on the Suhr Riot distortion pedal which is a fiery, wild distortion pedal that has plenty of gain on tap. The lead sounds that come from the Wildfire are heavily saturated and perfect for alternative and stone rock or even heavy metal.

It’s got a simple control layout but has been designed to give you aggressive tones by simply dialling the gain up.

Black Tea

If you’ve ever plugged in a Vox amp and cranked the gain up then you’ll know why this is such a sought-after tone. Tone City have captured that vibe and put it into this mini pedal format in the Black tea distortion.

It’s got a distinctly British flavour and should be your weapon of choice if you’re after a medium to high-gain distortion pedal with a heavy mid-range focus.

Golden Plexi

It does exactly what it says on the tin. The Golden Plexi also gives your British-style gain tones that are reminiscent of the late 60s and early 70s. Players like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page were famed for their Plexi amps and the Golden Plexi will give you those tones at an incredibly affordable price!

Model M

The Model M is a double pedal that gives you classic rock overdrive tones made to emulate one of the worlds most popular British Amp brands. They haven’t specified that it has been designed after the famous Black and Gold 100w amps.

Model B

We have a strong feeling that the B on the Modern B amp stands for ‘Boogie’ and you’d believe it when you plug this pedal in and hear the American-infused tones. It’s got both a Vintage and Modern toggle switch to take you from mild-gain to high-gain and the boost on-board was made for those soaring lead solos.

Model V

Again, Tone City haven’t specified who they’ve based their Model V pedal on but it has got a distinctly Vox-y tone about it. With 2 separate gain dials you can decide whether you want a mild crunch added to your tone or if you’d rather get fatter, more saturated high gain sounds.

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