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Maestro Ranger Overdrive review

The revived Gibson brand’s overdrive is now available for double shifts on your pedalboard – and it might just be amp-flatterer you’ve been looking for

Maestro Ranger Overdrive
(Image: © Future / Adam Gasson)

Our Verdict

Nicely responsive to dynamics and guitar volume, this pedal’s two natural-sounding voices make it a versatile asset to have in front of your amp.

For

  • A versatile drive.
  • Well priced.

Against

  • Like the other Maestro pedals, it's a little bulky.

If there’s any pedal that can benefit from Gibson’s avowed two-pedals-in-one approach for the new Maestro series, it’s the humble overdrive pedal

Do we want a transparent low to mid gain overdrive or do we want something a bit gainier and amp-like? The Ranger sorts this by giving you both, although it’s not just that one option has higher gain than the other. 

The Lo position of the toggle switch is where you’ll find the lower gain overdrive, but there’s more to it than just that, as this setting also has a bit of your clean sound mixed in.

There’s not much action until the Gain knob’s at 9 o’clock, (unity gain is achieved with the Output level at max), so it’s beyond that where you’ll start to hear any effect on your sound and can explore all the beyond-clean and just breaking up sounds through to a decent amount of raunch, all retaining a touch of clarity with that clean element mixed in.

The tone knob operating as a low pass filter will adjust the top end, maybe building in some brightness or rolling it back a touch to best match your guitar amp sound. 

Get the dirt you want on the Gain knob and set the output level where you need it; once your Gain knob is beyond 9 o’clock you can use the Level knob to build in a boost for when the pedal is kicked in or to drive your amp’s front end. 

The Hi setting gets gainier, although not vastly so, but it does lose the clean element so the whole sound is driven.

Maestro effects pedals

(Image credit: Gibson)

Specs

  • PRICE: $/£149
  • FEATURES: True bypass, two gain modes
  • CONTROLS: Gain, Level, Tone, Hi/Lo switch, Bypass footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
  • POWER: 9V battery or 9-12V DC adaptor
  • DIMENSIONS: 84mm (w) x 126mm (d) x 60 mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Gibson (opens in new tab)

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.