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Versatile, Small, and Affordable
Big on versatility, small in size, and very affordable, the Electro-Harmonix OD Glove is more than just an overdrive pedal. It’s capable of shimmering cleans, Texas-blues style spank, crispy crunch, as well as smooth, saturated distortion.
Tone That Fits
Using MOSFET type transistors for its distortion, the OD Glove is able to create a big tube sound inside of a small package. The tonal inspiration for this pedal was a classic, Plexi style Marshall fueled by EL34s, and I think EHX really delivers here.
With the gain set conservatively, you can get a nice, spongy kind of overdrive with just a little bit of dirt and a sensitive dynamic range. The tone is great for SRV style riffs, and classic rock tones similar to the Rolling Stones or Jimi Hendrix. Dial up the gain past 12 O’Clock and the OD Glove starts to roar. This is where the Plexi character really starts to come out. Think Angus Young playing a Marshall through a 4×12 cabinet. It’s just a great, overall distortion tone, that’s not too compressed, that can work well for so many different applications.
Crank up the distortion to the max and OD Glove saturates pleasantly, rich with overtones, without becoming a feedback monster. It doesn’t go into heavy metal territory, but is still good for heavy rock and smooth leads. If you roll back the volume on your guitar, the pedal cleans up pretty well too, which is another characteristic of a tube amp that it represents nicely.
As the gain is turned up on the OD Glove, the low frequencies increase as well. This is nice on one hand because it thickens up the sound but on the other it’s where I think the limits of emulating a tube amp with transistors comes in. The lower frequencies are just not as dynamic. As a result the low mids become a little bit honky with the gain at max. However, this is not an irredeemable quality and can be remedied somewhat using the Tone Shift switch and the inner voltage switch.
Aside from your basic and essential Volume, Gain and Tone controls, the OD Glove has a few convenient tricks up its sleeve.
The Tone Shift mini-switch gives you some added flexibility when crafting your tone. With the switch engaged, the Tone Shift produces a mid-range boost that really brightens things up. This will surely appeal to those who like a more in-your-face kind of distortion (like myself) or is handy when trying to combat dull sounding pickups or amps.
Another nifty feature is actually kind of a secret, as you can’t see it from the outside. Inside the pedal, just above the battery is a dip-switch that let’s you change between 9V and 18V operation. This voltage change is done internally with the electronics, so yes you can still use your trusty 9V battery and power supply.
In the 9V mode, the distortion effect is more compressed. I found this setting to be most useful with the gain knob cranked to get more saturation and sustain on a lead tone. The 18V mode has more headroom, and is thus a bit more dynamic and open sounding. I think this helps the pedal sound more tube-like, although the audible differences are subtle.
A word of advice on this feature: EHX says the default mode is 9V but mine was shipped set in the 18V mode. If you happen to buy the OD Glove, don’t assume it’s set to 9V operation. Definitely crack it open and check out this feature. It’s worth it, anyway, just to see which setting you like better.
I generally don’t expect much from tiny distortion boxes, especially not ones that retail for about $60! But the OD Glove completely shatters all of those prejudices. It sounds like a pedal that costs twice as much. I think it could sit in for my Tube-Screamer and do a great job.
In fact, if my Radial Tonebone Plexi-Tube bit the dust before a gig and I had to rely on the OD Glove to get me through, I wouldn’t sweat it too much. This little guy does a pretty darn good job of emulating the sound of British tube-driven distortion. At the price it goes for, I think it would make a great addition to any guitar player’s tone arsenal.