The Beta Overdrive is a new bass overdrive pedal from the fine folks at SolidGoldFX (SGFX). SGFX describes the Beta as being “a great bass overdrive that is versatile without being vanilla.”
The Beta is extremely versatile. At lower settings on the gain dial, it adds a little grit and a lot of sweet thickening. It reminded me a lot of the bass tones on albums produced on engineered by Brendan O’Brien (Black Crowes, Matthew Sweet, Pearl Jam). It’s that tone where the bass is thick and gritty without being distorted and it perfectly supports the crunchy guitar parts. As you dial up the gain on the Beta, it moves through thick and mean, to raging SVT, and then all of the way to massive fuzz bass.
Because I’m a guitarist that sometimes plays bass, I thought it was crucial to get a second opinion from the bassist in my band. And he’s not your typical bassists. His pedalboard is bigger than mine, not that pedalboard size matters… He rocked the Beta at our most recent practice with a P-bass through a Mesa/Boogie Walkabout Scout. His take on the Beta is that it’s one of those rare dirt pedals that sounds exceptional on bass. It runs the gamut from light overdrive that emphasizes the note's attack to a tight, compressed distortion that never gets buzzy or shrill in the high end. To put it simply he said “If it was the first OD pedal I purchased for bass, I would have saved a lot of money over the years.”
And just because the Beta is labeled as a bass overdrive, it doesn’t mean you can’t try it with guitar. I did, and it sounded great. It certainly has plenty of low-end grunt in this context, but still enough mids and highs to work in a mix. I could see this pedal being great for baritone and Bass VI players as well as players who use dropped tunings. I could also imagine it being awesome on Wurlitzer or Fender Rhodes.
What We Like: The Beta is one of the better bass overdrive pedals I’ve heard. It sounds thick, rich, and natural and never gets muddy or buzzy.
Build Quality: The Beta sounds solid and feels solid. It has a near perfect paint job and feels like it will hold up for the long haul.
Value: Considering the wealth of tones within, the Beta is a steal.
Tone (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
Build Quality (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
Value (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
Overall Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★