Someone once asked Gandhi – what is the secret to a great tone? He replied with a single word ‘humble’. After years of trying to decode his cryptic message, we came up with the Humble Overdrive, and boy, oh boy, it’s a secret we want to share with you!
The Humble Overdrive is a circuit designed by Bajaman at the Free Stompboxes forum. To add to the mystery of this special unit, it is a DIY only preamp that you won’t find on any of the mass production lines. It comes equipped with 3 switches – BRIGHT, MID BOOST and JAZZ/ROCK. The BRIGHT switch turns up the high frequencies a little bit, adding some sparkle to your sound. MID BOOST works the same way as the BRIGHT switch, but it affects the midrange, so it’s a very useful tool in dense mixes, when you want to cut through. With JAZZ/ROCK selector you can choose what gets emphasised – the lower frequencies that work well in jazz style, or the upper part of the frequency spectrum that is useful in more popular genres.
If there is something contrary to Humble Overdrive’s name, it’s the knob selection. Humble Overdrive comes with 8 potentiometers allowing for the ultimate tone shaping experience. On-board we have: LEVEL, OD-LEVEL, OD-GAIN, GAIN, PRESENCE, TREBLE, MIDS and BASS. Since the pedal has 2 channels, there are 2 volume controls for each channel – LEVEL and OD-LEVEL. The same goes with the saturation control – GAIN and OD-GAIN for their respective channels. As for the EQ section, we have a separate knob for each frequency section and the TREBLE, MIDS, and BASS naming is pretty self-explanatory. What is worth mentioning here is that this part of the EQ section comes uniquely before the overdrive section, so the changes done to it will also affect the character of the drive. Last, but not least is the PRESENCE pot. This is a filter placed right after the overdrive section and it affects the mids and high frequencies. Many people like to think of PRESENCE as a blanket-over-the-cab control – you can decide if you like your tone a little warmer (hence the blanket) or with more in your face character.
Have you ever caught yourself listening to legends like John Mayer or Robben Ford and wishing you could achieve their fantastic tones? We all did at one point, so stop hesitating and give this pedal a chance because you won’t be disappointed. It doesn’t matter if you play a strat or a les paul – it goes extremely well with everything, just like the classic amp it’s based on. Remember – stay humble.
- Jazz/Rock A
- Jazz/Rock B
- Drive A
- Drive B
For further analysis on this circuit, take a look at this thread on Free Stomp Boxes Forum.
For any technical questions regarding this build, don’t forget to check out our Facebook Group and our forum at Free Stomp Boxes.
Derek Olander (verified owner) –
Amazing pcb. I’m somewhat of a beginner, about four or five pedals under my belt. I was easily able to put this one together and it sounds SO good. The closes thing you’ll find to the Dumble sound for quite literally 1% of the price!