Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Overdrive Review

The Fulltone Fulldrive 2 has become an industry standard in overdrives and has been the top pick for overdrive in many guitar magazines.  It even won the Readers Choice Poll in Guitar Player Magazine for "Best Stompbox".  It's versatile with it's many options for great sounds, user friendly, and I believe the pedal can be useful in any guitar rig.  The newest version, with the  Mosfet switch, is just as great as the older models, with some additional improvements.

The Fulldrive 2 features controls for volume, tone, overdrive, and boost, as well as 2 toggle switches.  The first toggle switch changes between 3 different overdrive modes - Comp Cut, FM, and Vintage, ranging from clean boosts to medium overdrives.  The second changes between 2 additional settings, Mosfet and Standard.  I will go over all of these controls in more detail later.  The pedal can be powered with a 9V battery or via a 9V DC power supply.  When engaged, a bright green LED shines to indicate on status and when the boost feature is engaged, a red LED is displayed; both LEDs are super bright.  The pedal is true bypass, so when not in use, it is not robbing any tone from the original guitar signal.  there is also no "pop" when engaging the pedal.  On to the other features.

Knob Controls

Volume  - Like most volume controls, this one simply controls the overall output level of the pedal.  Turning this knob clockwise increases the output of the pedal.  This knob becomes very useful when toggling between the overdrive settings. Tone - Most tone knobs serve as sort of a treble control, simply adding brightness to the overall sound or dulling the treble.  The tone knob on the Fulldrive 2 is actually more of a presence control, while still affecting the treble frequencies.  Turning the knob clockwise provides a wider soundscape, giving a little more fullness and life to the pedal with focus on the higher frequency range, adding upper harmonics, while turning it counterclockwise smooths out those frequencies just a bit.  My favorite setting for the tone knob is around 11:30, giving it just a little more air and breathing room, but not too much presence, to help tame the upper registers.
Overdrive -  This knob controls the amount of gain in the signal path of the pedal.  Turning the knob counterclockwise decreases the amount of gain while turning it clockwise increases it.  The Fulldrive 2 has a healthy amount of gain on tap, but also cleans up nicely and performs well as just a boost.  This is another knob that is very useful when toggling through settings.
Boost - This knob controls the amount of saturation when the boost control is engaged.  Turning the boost knob counterclockwise limits the amount of saturation and turning it clockwise increases it. The boost control pushes the pedal harder for a much more saturated overdrive sound.  The pedal must already be in use for the boost feature to be operable and it only adds so much of a level increase, so there is not a huge volume difference when engaging the boost, however the sound just gets meaner and meaner as the boost knob is cranked.  Fully clockwise, the sounds are practically distorted, very thick and lots of gain with lots of sustain.  This is great for adding gain for a solo or break out part or even to add more gain for a chorus part or bridge; the options are open for the user.

Toggle Switch Settings

Comp Cut - This stands for compression cut.  This mode allows the pedal to function more as a clean boost or moderate overdrive, depending on the amount of overdrive.  There is a large increase in volume from the other settings and the tones are much cleaner and smoother.  This is my favorite setting, I like how natural the pedals sounds when used in this position.  All of the settings do a great job of maintaining the original sound of the amp and guitar, but this setting seems to do it the best.  All of the sounds are very clear and rich and this setting gives the boost a little more headroom, increasing the sustain and clarity while in use.  This setting works great for boosting clean tones or to push the sound over the top a bit for solos when already playing overdriven.
FM Mode - This stand for "flat mids".  This setting offers more gain and is a very natural overdrive sound.  Sounds are punchy and tight and the amp breaks up really nicely in this setting, seemingly to
offer a little more gain than the other 2 settings.
Vintage - This setting is more true to the original Fulldrive pedal by Fulltone.  Very heavy on the mids and does a great job standing out in a mix.  This setting seems to be a bit warmer than the FM mode, with the increase in the mid range frequencies.

Standard - This mode allows the pedal to operate just as the standard Fulldrive 2. As described above, disengaging the Mosfet mode from the circuitpath.
Mosfet - This introduces the Mosfet mode into the circuit path, which slightly increases the upper mids in the overall sound.  A very subtle, but usable and interesting switch for creating original overdrive sounds.

All of these settings are great, and can be very useful when experimenting with new sounds and trying to dial in some original tones.  The pedal even works great with other overdrive pedals.  I've used it as a boost alongside pedals such as the RC Booster by Xotic Effects, the OCD and the Fat Boost, both Fulltone Pedals.  It especially works well with the OCD.  The pedal works great with humbuckers and with single coils.  I've gotten great rock sounds when using a Les Paul and it sounds really great with a Strat, especially on the positions closest to the neck.  One upgrade to this newest version is in the Standard setting.  This setting is more "open" sounding than past models and removes any "blanketed" sounds.  To open the sound even more, try running the pedal at 18V instead of 9V.  This will not
hurt the pedal, it only improves the tonal qualities.  Removes even more of any "blanket" sound and really opens wide the pedals sounds. I've tried this and I love how much more headroom it gives the pedal. The pedal still sounds great at 9V but it's definitely worth the try. I've found that I prefer 18V over 9V and use a special cable to power the pedal with my Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus.  The OCD and any version of the Fat Boost can also be ran at 18V and the sound improvements are worth trying out. Here is a link to the cable: PPY 18V Y Cable

I believe the Fulldrive 2 has earned it's ranking and will remain as one of the best overdrive pedals in the industry.

Josh Bates
Humbucker Music