Tone Tips

A Short Guide to Internally Stackable Drive Pedals

The cascading sounds of multiple gain stages can be found in these compact pedals.

The concept of stacking up gain sources is a well-worn strategy for enhancing the tonal texture and overdrive structure of your sound. The resulting signals are collaborative, conversive, creative, and somehow more than the sum of their parts.

Until relatively recently, this approach to creating a wall of gain, drive, or crunch took more than one gear item: a pair of pedals or a stompbox running headlong into an amp already on the breakup. A number of pedal makers, however, have distilled this concept down into single pedal formats housing tandem overdrive circuits with multidirectional stacking capabilities.

Keeley Electronics D&M Drive

I know it’s almost the weekend when Friday morning is signaled by the ping of my YouTube subscription alerting me that there’s a new episode of "That Pedal Show" on deck. Dan and Mick—the hosts and creatives behind the show—are unapologetic about their preferred types of gain.

The former prefers a crunchy grit (à la the Boss Blues Driver) the latter a boosted, bluesy lift (akin to the Ibanez Tube Screamer). Two players, two styles, two pedals. At least, that was the case until they teamed up with Robert Keeley to wed the two sounds in a single pedal, aptly named the D&M Drive.

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