Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive
Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive

ODB-3 Bass OverDrive, Bass Distortion/Overdrive from Boss.

iamqman 03/20/2011

Boss ODB-3 Bass OverDrive : iamqman's user review

« Little gainy  »

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For me I would much rather have an on board gain in my preamp of bass rather than use a bass OD pedal of some sort. This one isn't a bad one but it really isn't a good one either. I like Boss effects but their distortion boxes really don't live up to the standard IMHO. This pedal can sound a bit thin and metallic but used in a band situation then it can sound decent.

It is an analog pedal with basically four control operations. The layout as follows...

-Get mild overdrive to hard distortion, OverDrive pedal specifically designed for bass
-Works for four- and five-string basses
-Balance control lets you mix signals
-Can be used as a two-band EQ
-Onboard two-band equalizer
-Balance knob controls dry/overdriven sound
-One touch on/off
-AC adaptor or 9V battery operation


You are not going to find this pedal hard to use. It hooks up like all Boss pedals with a 9v plug in or battery. And it is a one touch foot switch.These Boss pedals to me sound best when not using the gain knob all that much. Use it to slam the front of your bass preamp and get a great pushed sound that naturally distorts the amp rather than the cheap pedal making the distortion.

The balance knob can be very helpful by either blending a full effected signal or just allowing some of the effected signal through. It acts like the volume knobs you would find on some effects loop on the back of high end boutique guitar amps. This enables you to blend the desired effected signal and creates a huge thick tone. Similar to a wet/dry set up you would see guitar players have.


Not a spectacular sound, but does give a decent push to your front end. The balance knob is a cool little feature that thickens up your tone without having to use much of the other dials. Not using the gain is a plus because it does more to harm your tone than help it in my opinion. Use the gain sparingly and dial in the EQ and balance to tailor your tone.

I used this with a Warick 4 string bass and a Raven Labs preamp with a QSC power amp going into a 4x10 Trace Elliot cab. I also had a Boss chorus pedal with this setup. I had a fantastic explosive bass rig that sounded a lot more expensive than it really was. I only used this pedal to push the front of my amp.


This is a decent pedal but I would try another pedal if I was not on a budget. It does the job in the band situation. It doesn't sound that great when you are only playing by yourself. I think the band and the drums really help to enhance the positives and cover up the negatives about this pedal.

It is were lost or stolen I would try something else and see if I come back to this pedal. I am not convinced that this is the end all be all of OD boxes for bass rigs. I think it did the job at that time for me when I was using it. However, at around $99 and about half that on the used market it will not be an expensive experiment to try it out.

I would recommend this to anyone try to figure out their bass tone. You may or may not stick with it but it can help you experiment on your tone.