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PROS: Great tone, great price.
CONS: Graphics may not appeal to all.
Pedal junkies can get a bit snobbish, going deep into tiny details, and defining if a pedal is worth checking out by any myriad of items on a spec sheet. The Joyo JF-02 Ultimate Drive Pedal has even the most hardcore pedal snobs scratching their head with its full, rich tone and tiny price.
It’s been noted on various forums that it’s a clone/copy of Fulltone’s OCD pedal, at a fraction of the price (just $35). While we didn’t have any of the various versions of the OCD to compare it to, there’s no strangeness control-wise: Gain, Tone & Level, and a Hi/Low mini toggle. It’s true bypass, as well, maintaining the instrument’s true tone when not engaged.
In the Low Mode, the original tone isn’t messed with, and when in the Hi Mode, there’s a bit more low-mids and bass; it might be considered a “more tone” switch, in practicality.
The drive control is quite varied, with plenty of tonal choices across the whole spectrum, and even at maximum settings it doesn’t get hissy or noisy. It’s thick and rich overall and goes into Marshall’s glory with ease. In a middle-of-the-road setting, it resides in the standard overdrive areas, but can go into distortion pedal ranges, all while staying within a pleasing musical application. Where an overdrive isn’t enough, and distortion is too much, the UD works best, and can live in both worlds equally well. The tone knob sits best between 11 and 1 o’clock. Past those settings it can get a bit woofy or spiky.
With humbucking guitars, it’s big and beefy, and keeps up well in the mix, for rhythm and lead playing styles. It’s classic and yet modern. Roll back the volume, and it can clean up nicely as well. Single coil guitars maintain their cutting edge, and don’t get shrill. Paired with a solid state or tube amp, it interacts quite well, and compared to other classic distortions pedals the range seems a bit more useable, and overall a bit quieter and less noisy – which we appreciate.
The 9V battery compartment might be considered a bit cheap and the “Darth Maul/demon skull” graphics are admittedly kind of cheezy. Considering the price and the tone, though, it’s a minor detail and easy to overlook.
Hope you enjoyed our Joyo JF-02 review. For more, be sure to follow Performer Magazine on Facebook.