Joyo JF-02 Ultimate Drive Overdrive Review
- Pros: Inexpensive, true bypass, Fulltone OCD clone.
- Cons: Quality control issues.
- Overall: A ton of bang for the buck and the gem of the Joyo lineup.
I have to be honest that I didn’t want to like this pedal. In fact, it sat on my desk for a couple of months with a few other pedals I’ve been meaning to demo. One day I was building a new pedal board, however, and decided to plug it in for a quick test. I was blown away at how thick it sounded. The other distortion/overdrive pedals on my board at the time were a Keeley modded Blues Driver and a Mesa Boogie V1 Bottle Rocket. I kept switching between them to make sure I wasn’t crazy, but the Ultimate Drive was beefier than the other two, while perhaps not quite as dynamic as the tube-driven Bottle Rocket, or as sparkly as the Blues Driver, which has the ability to clean up almost completely. That said, I found myself leaving the Ultimate Drive on and having a lot of fun with it.
The Joyo Ultimate Drive has sort of a super thick, full tone with emphasis on the low end and midrange. The top-end doesn’t exactly sparkle, but it brightens up significantly when you toggle the Low/High switch to the High setting and adjust the Tone knob. If you back off the volume on your guitar, the notes clean up even more. I kind of like it a little more thick, though. If you play a thin, trebly guitar, this pedal will definitely round out your sound.
If you’re on a budget, the Joyo JF-02 might just be the ticket. It’s essentially a China-made clone of the much more expensive Fulltone OCD Overdrive pedal, but sells for about $40-$60! The pedal achieved some notoriety a few years ago when an American company came up with the idea to repaint them and was selling them for about $200. The fact that they thought they could get away with it is a testament to how good the Ultimate Drive sounds.
The Ultimate Drive has a solid heavy-duty metal construction with an MXR-like button switcher. It’s also true-bypass so it doesn’t add any unwanted noise to your board. There have been some quality control complaints with defective units being shipped, but that’s part of the gamble when you get a chinese made pedal. For the price, it’s a pretty great option.