Boost in front of overdrive pedal? Or Overdrive into boost?

Which order to push a JCM 800 into full crunch?

  • Overdrive > EQ boost

    Votes: 4 50.0%
  • EQ boost > Overdrive

    Votes: 4 50.0%

  • Total voters


Active member
I love just plugging straight into my old Marshall JCM 800 and cranking it up, then rolling down the guitar's volume for clean sounds. It's great on its own. But it doesn't work as well when playing alongside a channel switching amp as a wet/dry setup or stereo. It doesn't seem to dovetail the way I want, or just doesn't seem as crunchy. I'm not after super-fizz levels, but high gain distortion like older thrash metal stuff. I end up only liking each amp's high gain sound individually.
It's hard because they sound great together for clean sounds with effects. And I don't think it's a phase issue.

I've tried overdrive pedals on and off and while sometimes it's worked, over time I'm not happy with it. I've tried using it to push the amp, just using it as a clean boost with the gain rolled off, or with both the gain and level down to replicate turning down the guitar's volume so I can just keep the amp's gain turned up.

Using the Low Input on the JCM 800 is fantastic for super clean sounds and some very light crackle. But I'm not satisfied with putting a distortion pedal in front of it or using the overdrive pedal cranked up as a source of distortion. It's just not gainy enough to hang with my other amp (MarkIV).

However I'm thinking to use my overdrive (it's a locally made op-amp pedal called a 'Bluzer') in line with a cranked EQ pedal so there's a double dose of overdrive. But what order should they be to push the Marshall the hardest?

Overdrive > EQ boost?

EQ boost > Overdrive?

Please answer the poll too after you've read and posted to this thread.

stephen sawall

Well-known member
I have a Fulldrive 3. It lets you do really need to try it with the rig and see what sounds better. I use different order with different rigs. Boost into overdrive is more saturated and compressed.


Well-known member
If you want to push the amp the hardest put the boost after the overdrive and crank up the level.

Boost before Overdrive will give you more compression and saturation but not much of a signal or volume boost. Boost after the overdrive will give you a volume boost and push the amp harder, but not as much compression or saturation. In my rig I have a boost in each position, using the boost after when I really want to stand out on a solo.

One of the keys I think with the JCM800 for you is to run the overdrive with the volume above unity, and you can still use your guitar volume, it will just interact with the pedal more. Than I would put a boost after to really push the amp. I would still try to use the high input, just not push the preamp as hard so its more at edge of breakup. This would give you the base sound, pushed with just the boost (can still use an SD-1 for this), overdrive only, or both boost and overdrive. Should be alot to play with there.


Well-known member
Man this is a tough one.. I am constantly screwing around with order. This is my conclusion.. clean boost AFTER OD gives a slight thickening and volume bump feeling. clean boost before OD seems to just pump the gain. EQ boosts either before or after don't make that much difference volume wise but it does TONE wise. Wherever you set that EQ curve will also affect the OD that comes after it. That's why i tend to like the old upside down mid bump smiley curve coming after my OD. Now if i am going for cocked wah stryper or other 80's bands that had that tone, i put it first then have an OD after it to pump up the gain some. I love my 800. It is the sound of rock for me. Now that said, when you get it up to volume, you may see that you need far less gain boosts from your pedals. When i crank mine with the master on 6-7 and preamp on 7-8, i only need a nudge really from a koko boost or screamer to "Deliver the goods" (Priest reference)

stephen sawall

Well-known member
The more gain I use on the amp the more likely I am to use the boost after the overdrive.

I also often set up my rig with boost before and after overdrive. Both are useful.