August 7, 2009

Rock Band Overdrive Guitar Pedal Review

I recently picked up a package deal that included the Mad Catz Rock Band Overdrive Pedal.

electro-harmonix-overdrive-kick-box

This is as simple as it looks. It’s a freakin’ metal box with a switch that you plug into your Rock Band guitar (if you haven’t noticed, the port is on the side of every guitar). When you stomp on it, it activates Overdrive — aka Star Power.

I scanned in the manual, so you can get the gory … er … details.

rock-band-overdrive-pedal-manual-small

Note that you don’t need a fancy Electro-Harmonix branded box to do this; you can also plug in a plain old drum kick pedal into your Rock Band guitar and it will work fine, too. (You’ll probably want to get an extension cord, though, as the standard kick pedal cord is far too short for this purpose.)

Now, on to my review. The box itself is quite nice and very solid. It feels like it’s cast out of a solid block of aluminum. This thing will probably outlive you and me both.

While playing guitar, it is fun to use the floor switch to activate overdrive, but be warned: unlike the drummer, you don’t typically have to pay attention to where your feet are as a guitarist. But now you do! So when you put this box on the floor, imagine where your feet are and where you need them to be to activate overdrive. It takes a little bit of practice, planning, and anticipation compared to the old semi-reliable practice of tilting the guitar to activate.

But, it is definitely more immersive and feels more “rock” to use the pedal. In particular, since overdrive often implies an actual guitar sound effect in Rock Band (the little switch on every Rock Band guitar lets you choose between flange, echo, chorus, wah-wah, and none) it’s analogous to a real world guitar effect pedal, like so:

guitar-effect-pedals

On the whole, the Rock Band Overdrive Pedal is in no way essential (unless your guitar tilt-activate is utterly broken), but it is a fun item to experiment with, and it definitely adds to the immersion of the overall fake plastic rock experience.

I guess the pedal is something of a specialty item, so can be a little hard to find. Try the Mad Catz online store if you can’t source it locally.

can’t forget the “Ibanez Tube Screamer” when talking about overdrives.

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/8/6/8/238868.jpg

It’s a shame they didn’t allow for multiple effects – I would guess that a Wah-Wah peddle would go over really well in GH.

loopGhost
August 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm

So would you recommend the pedal? I’m thinking of getting one. Your review goes over the facts, but doesn’t mention if you actually like it.

On a side note, while I love the whammy bar I would really prefer a Wah-Wah pedal. I have a nasty habit of over using the whammy bar and breaking it, or accidentally hitting the strummer with a loose finger when using the whammy. A combo pedal that could double for a whammy bar and then have a separate stomp-box button for overdrive would be amazing.

StrikerObi
August 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Hi

I have tried the drumpedal and can get whammy bar effect but not overdrive activation – am I doing something wrong?

Kyle

Kyle Rickards
September 4, 2009 at 3:42 am

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