Blues Breaker Style Overdrive Pedals

Released in the early '90s, the Marshall Blues Breaker is a low to mid gain transparent overdrive, which has gained huge appeal following it's extensive use on John Mayer's album "Continuum"

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Blues Breaker Style Overdrive Pedals

If you're saying to yourself - "I thought the Bluesbreakers were a band", then you'd be right. And on their album "The Bluebreakers with Eric Clapton" album, Clapton famously played a Marshall JTM45 2x12 Combo, which he affectionately named "the Bluesbreaker amp". The sheer power and gain of the amp (by 1966 standards) made it one of the definitive sounds of the early Marshall Plexi era. Read here for more on the Plexi sound.

Subsequently the Bluesbreaker amp gained legendary status, and in 1992 Marshall attempted to recapture that tone, resulting in the Bluesbreaker pedal. What they stumbled upon was something that didn't necessarily sound like Eric Clapton in Decca Studios back in 1966, but rather a pedal that quite remarkably retains the original tone of your amp and guitar, with a little bit of extra gain. Because of this, the Bluesbreaker is often described as a "transparent" overdrive pedal. It is the perfect pedal to push a clean amp to the edge of breakup or as a solo boost add a touch of compression and sustain, without colouring your tone.

The Bluesbreaker pedal gained immense popularity after John Mayer revealed it as the secret sauce behind the incredible Strat tones he achieved on his album "Continuum". However, prices of the original Bluesbreaker pedal skyrocketed as a result. Luckily for you, in recent years, many pedal builders have sought to create their own transparent overdrives, inspired by the Bluesbreaker. JHS created the Morning Glory, Wampler has the Pantheon, and the Snouse Black Box is practically an exact replica of the original circuit. More affordable manufacturers have also turned their hand to it with stunning results, including the Tone City Blues Man and the Mooer Blues Crab.