Ibanez OD850 Reissue
- True Bypass
- “Narrow Box” Enclosure
- LED Status Indicator
- 9v Battery or DC Powered
- Sustain, Balance, and Tone Controls
When you think about it, very few brands have had the range of influence that Ibanez has had. The Tube Screamer is most famously associated with SRV, while the innovative neck access of the RG is loved by shredders like Nili Brosh the world over. What many people don’t know is that the Tube Screamer was originally designed and built to be marketed under the Ibanez brand by Maxon. In fact, Maxon designed and manufactured all of the “first series” pedals for Ibanez, which gets us to the topic of this review.
While not nearly as well known as the TS808, all three versions of the OD850 both valuable and rare. Version one is housed in the same enclosure as the reissue, which sounds remarkably close to the original. Version two added the famed “Flying Fingers” icon, larger knobs, and “new” Ibanez logo to the narrow box enclosure. Version three shares the larger box and square switch most commonly associated with the TS808. While all three say OVERDRIVE on the enclosure (technically v.2 says OVER DRIVE), they are all based on Maxon’s take of the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, but with a modified tone circuit. Each version of the Ibanez OD850 reflects the shifts in design and enclosures of the Maxon branded version of these pedals. Although OD850 sounds remarkably like the original pedals, it was manufactured in Japan, but not by Maxon.
As I mentioned before, although the pedal says OVERDRIVE (anybody recognize that font from a certain high-end amp company?), it really is a fuzz pedal, and a great one at that. In addition to having all three original OD850s I also own an original Big Muff Pi. To my ear, the OD850 sounds more like its predecessors, but you can definitely hear the Big Muff in there as well.
If you love fuzz (and who doesn’t?) there is a lot to love about his pedal. Higher gain settings chords towards the bottom of the neck have the classic sputter more associated with Fuzz Faces. Single notes on the other hand sing and soar like my beloved Big Muff Pi, and this is where the honey is at. The first player that comes to mind from the Big Muff clan is David Gilmour. Even though he’s best known for using the “Rams Head” v.2 Big Muff, the lead tones with this pedal are definitely “Gilmourish” to my ear. Also of note, it also sounds great at lower Sustain (gain) settings on the pedal.
Another thing that I loved was the fact that you can turn the Tone control up and not have to run for the hills. While musical might not be the word that comes to mind for some folks when they hear a fuzz pedal, I found this pedal to be wonderfully musical. While it does have some of the sputter I commonly associate with a Fuzz Face, the OD850 does not get ultra clean when you turn your volume down, but that comes as no surprise since it was not based on a Fuzz Face circuit.
While the pedal stays true to the female 9v DC input found on v.2 and v.3 of the original OD850, it does come with an adapter so you can use your favorite DC power supply instead of relying on an internal battery. Of note, DC power does not sound the same as a used battery, so if you’re a real fuzz fanatic, please keep that in mind.
In conclusion, I have to say I love this pedal. I spent years putting together my vintage Ibanez pedal collection, and while I won’t say how much I spent in the process, for the money, this little gem delivers the fuzzy goodness of my original OD805at a fraction of the price!