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Ernie Ball 6183 Expression Series Overdrive
- Incredible tube-like natural overdrive
- Separate control for drive, tone and boost
- On-the-fly, dynamic foot-control for ultimate expression
- Up to +6db boost level
- Newly designed ultra-compact housing
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From the manufacturer
The Ernie Ball Expression Overdrive delivers natural tube-like overdrive with more range than ever before. It features settings for drive, boost and tone, with a foot-sweepable overdrive control, making it effortless to go from clean to searing lead tones and everything in between, all without taking your hands off the guitar.
The Ernie Ball Expression Overdrive delivers everything from a hint of natural tube-amp-like overdrive and rhythm crunch to searing lead tones. It features settings for drive, boost and tone, with a foot-sweep able overdrive control, making it effortless to go from clean to roaring all-out growl and everything in between.
Top customer reviews
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First I thought if you don't tend to overdrive your amp for tone but wanted to dial it in without bending over 50 times this might be a great idea. Second I thought that if you were either playing a mild overdrive pedal like a DS-1 or just using your amp's overdrive channel this could be cool to ramp up a solo or song part as if you were thickening the icing. Third, and what I wanted to try, was to create a rocking distorted effect (like a flanger) or a wah pedal effect with just distortion increasing and decreasing without swing these huge decibel ranges.
Well the third worked. And maybe the first two would too. I'll probably never know. I got into this jam and came up with this cool riff and was rocking that pedal thinking this is really neat. I'm cruising into a great jam here. And the volume wasn't increasing or decreasing too significantly. It sounded great! Not over the top by any means but had a little growl. Well it wasn't 3 minutes into the jam and I heard the pedal start to make a low squeaking sound. Not the signal. The physical pedal. But I moved my foot a little and it went away. and then returned violently. Loud? I mean, I was playing slightly under not being able to hear my live drums and I could hear, and worse, feel it.
So I literally unplugged it and rocked it back and forth with my hand and the noise is now permanent. In the manufacturer's defense maybe they never dreamed someone would rock a pedal. I have no idea. But it killed it for me. And the distortion sounds aren't enough to warrant the purchase. I was so disheartened with this I haven't even tried using the ambient delay pedal. Which would have been a neat feature to rock delay similarly.
In addition cause I know some people would want to know the easy of using the knobs in the front I'd say this is just ridiculous. First you have to memorize what order they're in, cause they're facing away from you, and its very hard to rock this pedal with hand or foot and do the knobs. Then you put it back on and if you don't like it you gotta repeat this. It's ridiculous.
I've thought about how I could work this into my rig but can't come up with anything. If you do a wet dry set up you could always just put a volume pedal on the dry side and the thickening and narrowing would probably be similar. Just would've been cool to get this pedal to do it.
Why 2 stars? Well, if you want mild distortion and are going to take the time to dial it in and then leave the pedal in place it's very pretty. Very very pretty.
Ernie Ball Expression Overdrive (aka Expression) solves above problem. This variable-foot-control pedal adds crescendo and diminuendo to overdrive and boost. To explain, suppose one strikes a single string; then, its tone volume gradually decreases. Step on a standard overdrive stompbox's button, and tone suddenly adds (jumps into) distortion and boost. Press Expression, and the tone can smoothly crescendo upwards, adding distortion and boost, like how a violin bow can add more volume when playing those tear-jerking higher notes. More expressive—hence, appropriately named Ernie Ball Expression Series.
When playing chords, these crescendos and diminuendos can be played to sound like fluttering, also called interweave or layered effects. Expression on my Fender GDec30 modelling amp creates all kinds of new sounds... spacey, airey sounds, chimes, crunch, etc. Expression with my PA sounded mediocre.
Additionally, with Expression, there is no need to bend over to change gain. Shift from clean rhythm to robust lead rapidly. Fade in from low to high distortion. Go from clean rhythm to subdued distorted rhythm quickly. If coupled with its sister product Ernie Ball Ambient Delay, these two pedals produce remarkable sound effects. Add a variable wah pedal….you’d be a Variable Pedal God! :)
Looks durable, a smaller pedal than my wah pedals. When I'm pedaling Expression on carpet, a static noise creeps in. When pedaling on an effects board, no static noise. Still researching this static noise issue.
What’s strange is Expression doesn’t perform as a distortion pedal. Seems this should be its intended purpose—to foot control from clean to overdrive to distortion. But, I think this is intended as a new type of pedal sound.
A 5 star for an innovative product that creates crescendos and diminuendos in modern guitarist’s arsenal.
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