I’ll admit it; I’ve always been a little resistant to change. I don’t care much for uncertainty or volatility. So much so that when the box for the Gig-FX VOD showed up at our offices, with the words, “Variable Overdrive” plastered all over the top, I had a momentary but horrific flashback to eighth grade, with my algebra teacher, Mr. Mead, looming over me and verbally lashing my math-challenged self for not understanding the concept of variables. “Solve for y,” he’d intone, and I’d die a little inside.
So when I came to, and realized that I was the only one available to plug in the VOD, I wondered if I could give it a fair shake – after all, this pedal is all about variability, and I’m all about constants. The bright yellow housing gave it an air of danger, and the trademark ‘I’ shaped footpedal looked nothing like any overdrive pedal I was familiar with.
But alas, in life, it all begins with that first step. Even for this tropophobe, the VOD’s operation is dead simple; push the pedal up and down to change between three distinct, user-definable levels of gain. The concept immediately conjures up “Why didn’t I think of that” thoughts – with one deft design swoop, the minds at Gig-FX have eliminated the dancing on footswitches that plague other multi-stage pedal designs. To top it off, the pedal uses a noiseless, wear-free optical switch instead of a mechanical switch, ensuring less noise and a higher level of reliability.
For those of you thinking “wah”, it should be noted that the pedal clicks into three distinct positions, and does not operate as a continuous gain control. The pedal’s resistance can be adjusted with a few common tools to suit your tastes, but you’ll still need to use enough resistance to keep it in the various positions.
Besides the pedal’s intuitive operation, the good news is that it sounds good too. The three levels of gain provided from the VOD are generally stellar, ranging from just-around-the-edges grit to full on, tube-baking distortion. This is a flexible pedal, and I didn’t find a tone that I couldn’t cover. Better yet, at all levels the pedal sounded like our guitars (a tricked out Telecaster and a double humbucker guitar), just with more pills. The 3-band EQ – replacing the ubiquitous and mysterious “tone” control – is a great addition, helping you to fine-tune the VOD’s sound and allowing you dial in everything from rumbling, fat bottomed tones to Albert King’s high-end edginess.
The only complaint I could level at the VOD is that the bypass mode, entered by setting the pedal all the way back, is perilously close to the first level. I would occasionally find myself trying to set the pedal to the first stage, but would click over to the second. It’s a minor thing that could most likely be remedied by tweaking the pedal’s resistance, and fortunately the LEDs are bright enough to be seen anywhere on a darkened bar stage, but nevertheless is something to consider [Gig-FX says the next batch of pedals will have a more defined notch for position 1
The bottom line is that this pedal is supremely versatile, no matter what genre you are dabbling in. The tones are solid and the build quality is top-notch, as we’ve come to expect from Gig-FX. It’s almost enough for me to embrace the concept of variability. But let’s not get hasty.
Hear this gear in action! premierguitar.com/podcast
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you require a wide range of versatile tone.
you have a thing for mechanical switches.