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HEAVY Gear – Fulltone Obsessive Compulsive Drive

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Chris Themelco of Monolith Studios

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Welcome to our first edition of HEAVY Gear by Monolith Studios owner and music producer, Chris Themelco.
Each month Chirs will review something new in the wonderful world of musical gear and software.
Next month we will introduce video demonstations of the products. This month we look at the awesome FULLTIME Obsesive Compulsive effects pedal.

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In an endless sea of overdrive pedals (most notably Tubescreamer variations), the Fulltone Obsessive Compulsive Drive stands out from the pack in more than a few ways. With a unique multi-stage distortion circuit and unique voicing, the end result is a rich and dynamic pedal that displays more than its asking price.

Before we talk about the tone of the OCD, let’s visit some of the attention to detail that this reviewer wishes more pedals would employ. For one, the pedal takes 9v, 12v, and even 18v power (if you wish to access a little more headroom), and my favourite part? Finger screws that allow easy access to the battery compartment of the pedal. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve scrambled for a Phillips-head screwdriver in the middle of a recording session to change out an old battery in a hurry. Nightmarish stuff… The pedal also includes true bypass switching, meaning your tone will remain entirely clean and unaltered when the distortion circuit is disengaged, which is super handy if you don’t want to be connecting and disconnecting pedals all the time. A rugged, solid metal housing ensures this guy can be thrown around on tour for years.

Three knobs: Volume, Drive and Tone, give the user full control over the intensity of the pedal’s tone. Standard stuff among the overdrive pedal world, but it’s worth noting that the entirety of each knob’s range is extremely usable allowing you to get super-focused with your settings.

The voicing of the pedal, however, comes in 2 flavours care of the HP/LP switch at the top of the pedal. The Low-Peak mode is reminiscent of ‘tweed’ styled in tone, something akin to an older British-style, with a smooth top end and a little more dynamic response to your playing as you adjust the dials up. It can be super dark and rhythmic when used subtly or rich and creamy at more extreme settings. This mode is great for a pleasing break up on a clean channel or a more classic boost in front of an already distorted channel. The response to dynamic playing can’t be understated. Every nuance and intricacy is superbly passed on by the pedal at even the most extreme settings with detailed harmonic content.


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The High-Peak mode is another beast all together. A hotter and more open top end, low end and gain available, this mode is definitely there to put any amp through its paces. Not only does it offer a very rocking valve like crunch, when run through the clean channel of an amp, it brings a new world of character to an already distorted channel of an amp – definitely a more ‘modern’ distorted vibe. Trying it through the Peavey 5150 with moderate gain gave me access to a much more rich and biting distortion character to the amp.


There’s more than enough ‘Tubescreamer’ styled OD pedals on the market to keep you comparing the subtleties for a lifetime, but the Fulltone OCD definitely carves its own place in the market by offering a level of dynamics and richness that I’ve yet to hear from another pedal. That, coupled with 2 unique and extremely versatile voicing options, make the Fulltone OCD into a must-have pedal for guitarists of all styles and types.


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