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Great Eastern FX's super versatile Design-a-drive might just be the ultimate overdrive pedal for tone tweakers

Great Eastern FX Co. Design-a-drive
(Image credit: Great Eastern FX Co.)

English effects pedal builder Great Eastern FX Co. has debuted its second-ever pedal, the Design-a-drive – a multi-functional stompbox that promises to provide a huge array of overdrive tones in one compact unit.

Said to be a flexible overdrive pedal that works well with any electric guitar and guitar amp combo, the Design-a-drive gives players the chance to play pedal designer, and features a versatile circuit that can be tweaked in all tonal directions, depending on the user’s desires.

In essence, it aims to be a Tube Screamer, boost pedal, Klon Centaur and Boss Super Overdrive all in one, and seeks to achieve this fairly lofty goal by way of its innovative Width and Edge controls.

Rather than taking cue from a traditional amp tone stack or pedal EQ, the Width and Edge parameters compile numerous functions under newly tuned overarching controls.

In operation, the Edge control is responsible for taking care of the frequency spectrum’s top end, and simultaneously tweaks two filters: a subtle treble roll-off and an intense cut in the high presence.

The Edge control also affects the aggressiveness of the circuit’s hard-clipping diodes, with all three functions combining to provide one goal: to let you dial in the desired amount of bite, grit and brightness depending on your current rig.

It’s joined by the central Width parameter, which is a six-position rotary switch that shapes the Design-a-drive’s mid-range response. As the switch makes its way from Thin to Fat, the circuit introduces a lower mid-range peak and more bass.

Self-explanatory Gain and Level knobs complete the control set, though Great Eastern FX Co. says it’s tweaked the functions to be more wide-ranging than usual.

That means even when the Gain is dialed right back, there is said to be an ample amount of level on tap, allowing the Design-a-drive to be used as a clean boost or stacking partner for other drives and fuzzes.

In terms of measurements, it’s less than five inches tall and smaller than three inches wide. Far more pedalboard-friendly and economical than, say, four separate drive pedals crammed into the same rig, that's for sure. And, judging by Pete Thorn's demo above, it has some seriously nice tones on tap.

The Design-a-drive is available now for £190.83 – approximately $230.

For more information, head on over to Great Eastern FX Co (opens in new tab).

It’s only the second offering from the Cambridge, UK-based pedal brand, which released its first-ever stompbox – the Fender Champ-inspired Small Speaker Overdrive – in December last year.

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.