Fulltone Fulldrive 3 Review – Perfect Overdrive Pedal?

Updated on by Ross McLeod | There may be affiliate links on this page.

The Fulltone Fulldrive 3 has reached legendary status amongst guitarists. Emerging from the crowd of overdrive pedals, it offers a range of exceptional, warm tones.

With four rotary knobs stretching across the top later of the pedal, you can tailor the overdrive effect to suit any situation. In this detailed guide, I’ll discuss the standout qualities of this popular overdrive pedal.

Fulltone Fulldrive 3 - Overview

The Fulldrive 3 houses the following features:

  • Four tone-shaping controls
  • Germanium diode
  • NOS JRC4558D chip
  • JFET clean boost
  • Two distinct overdrive voicings
  • Doubles up as a clean boost pedal
  • Eliminates dynamic spikes
  • Compact size
  • None

Tone

The Fulltone Fulldrive 3 is based on the success of the limited-edition FD3, which was released on the 20th anniversary of the original pedal. This inspired the manufacturer to design the black standard overdrive pedal.

Housing an array of versatile overdriven tones, the Fulldrive 3 can be used to add layers of warm saturation to your guitar or to heat the signal to the point of obliteration.

A large contributor to the versatile sonic performance of the Fulldrive 3 is its smartly designed Order switch. This feature allows you to place the boost either before or after the overdrive section.

When the boost is positioned before the overdrive section, the effect is less dramatic and blends into the rest of the mix seamlessly. When it is used after the overdrive, it adds substance to the warmly distorted break-ups.

A great overdrive pedal is defined by its adjustable controls. The Fulltone Fulldrive 3 offers several methods for tailoring the tone and sound of the effect to suit your style.

You can access classic 60s style overdrives, or push the parameters into their higher values to edge closer to classic rock tones. Whatever style of overdrive you need, you’ll find it within the Fulldrive 3.

Housing & Durability

The Fulltone Fulldrive 3 is a robust pedal, with an all-metal chassis that is sure to stand the test of time. It has single inputs and outputs which securely hold the guitar cable in place.

Compared to the original pedal which was celebrated by Fulltone’s 20th-anniversary edition, the Fulldrive 3 is roughly 20 & smaller in total size.

Despite its reduced size, the pedal hasn’t lost any of the integral controls or parameters that made the original so popular. It’s much easier to slot onto a busy pedalboard than the bulkier previous model.

Controls & Parameters

The controls featured on the Fulldrive 3 are largely responsible for its fantastic arsenal of overdriven tones. Indeed, the JFET clean boost and germanium diode play a significant role, but the settings you choose are undeniably impactful.

Four large rotary controls are positioned across the top of the pedal. These are labeled:

  • Volume
  • Tone
  • Overdrive
  • Boost

There’s also a smaller rotary control labeled “Dynamics”, which is joined by a pair of mini switches for instantly changing the tone of the overdrive effect.

The footswitch in the bottom right corner allows you to use the pedal as a simple clean boost.


Conclusion

The Fulltone Fulldrive 3 is revered by guitarists for its wide range of warmly saturated tones. It’s the kind of pedal that makes you wonder how you ever coped without it once you’ve added it to your pedalboard!

If you need to add some character to your guitar’s tone, the Fulldrive 3 is a great way to achieve this. It’s a great tool for recording guitar tracks and performing live.

About Ross McLeod

Ross McLeod is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His most recent project is named Gold Jacket, and he is the frontman and bassist of the garage rock band The Blue Dawns with whom he has released 4 EPs and toured extensively.

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