The Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive Review

Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive pedalMake some room on that pedalboard, folks, because the Seymour Duncan pedal line is expanding. The new 805 Overdrive joins the Dirty Deed Distortion, Vapor Trail Analog Delay and the Pickup Booster while bringing much-needed updates to the standard overdrive formula. Overdrives are among the most popular pedals sold these days. They occur at many price points yet they all do the same thing: turn a standard guitar into a snarling beast. This is the sound of rebellion! Let’s look at the features that set the 805 apart from the crowded minefield of overdrives, as well as include soundclips and video demonstrating what makes the 805 Overdrive so unique.

An Overdrive Like No Other

Part of a nutritionally balanced breakfast.
Part of a nutritionally balanced breakfast.

The first thing I noticed when I tried the 805 Overdrive is those three small knobs under the Level and Drive knobs. These are EQ controls, which go well beyond the simple low-pass filter Tone knob on most overdrives. They’re active controls, which can boost or cut specific frequencies. One of the problems I have with the standard green overdrives out there is the thinning of the bass frequencies that happens with higher gain controls. The 805 allows you to add back in the bass frequencies when pushing higher gain levels. Having an active mid control will help dial back excessive mids that plague many other overdrive pedals. If that isn’t enough, you can cut or boost the highs to cut through a dense mix.

 

Even More Features

Jacks in the back, where they should be on every pedal.
Jacks in the back, where they should be on every pedal.

The 805 features the MC33178 chip, which balances great gain range with lower noise and great battery life. It has top-mounted jacks, so you can fit it right up against other pedals, and can use a 9v battery or a common 9v negative-tip DC power supply so you can use the most common adapters- no proprietary power supplies needed.

Like every Seymour Duncan pedal, the 805-Overdrive comes complete with Velcro already supplied, as well as a rubber pad to use if you just plonk your pedals down on the floor (like me). It also comes with little red stickers for you to mark out your favorite settings.

Just the Clips, Ma’am

Most of the clips are played with single coils and then humbuckers. For the single coil clips I use the neck and middle pickups on my Warmoth strat. The neck is a Classic Strat Stack Plus, and the middle is a Five-Two. For the humbucker clips, I used either a ’59/Custom Hybrid or a APH-2 Slash Prototype pickup.

As a Boost

I first play the lick clean, then turn on the pedal. We’ll start with the 805 Overdrive used as a boost. The gain is set low, and the level set high. It really slams the front of an amp!
Single Coils

Humbuckers

Drive Up Halfway

Single Coils

Humbuckers

Drive Up Full

Single Coils

Humbuckers

 Drive on 7, Playing Dense Intervals

Single Coils

 Into an Already Distorted Amp

This uses humbuckers, and the first sound is the amp with a bit of gain dialed in. I then add the 805 Overdrive.

 Boosting the Bass

When other overdrives add gain, they tend to cut bass while boosting mids. Here is a humbucker with the 805 Overdrive adding in a healthy bass boost along with the gain.

Check out a playlist of all of the clips here.

Throwing it All Together

Here is a full track. All gain comes from the 805 Overdrive into a clean amp. Even with major 3rd intervals, the 805 sounds clear and not mushy. Dig the Slashyness of the country-sounding bends from the APH-2 pickups!


Do you use an overdrive? Do you use it as a boost, or your primary source of gain? What player has your favorite overdrive sounds?

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