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Great Eastern FX Co

GREAT EASTERN FX CO Small Speaker Overdrive


Small Speaker Overdrive pedal captures classic small-amp-in-the-studio tones

First stompbox from Great Eastern FX Co. promises dynamic drive sounds that sit perfectly in the mix

Some of the biggest guitar tones of all time were created using surprisingly small amps such as the Fender Champ.

That’s the inspiration behind the Small Speaker Overdrive, which promises organic, amp-like breakup, outstanding volume knob clean-up and a unique sonic signature that will help the guitar really cut through the mix.

The Small Speaker Overdrive is the first pedal from newcomers Great Eastern FX Co. Featuring an all-original discrete transistor circuit, this unique overdrive sets its sights on Fender’s iconic student-model valve combo or, more specifically, that magical thing that happens when you put a microphone in front of its eight-inch speaker.  

Bolstered by a mic and mixing desk, these little amps sound anything but small, delivering sweet, dynamic drive at lower volumes. Most importantly, the small speaker naturally rolls off low end and emphasises upper-mids, putting the guitar exactly where it wants to be in the mix. It’s a technique that’s been used on countless recordings, by the likes of Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, Billy Gibbons and Mike Campbell, to name just a few. 

The stated aim of the Small Speaker Overdrive is to capture the sound and feel of plugging into a small, Class-A combo in the studio, imparting the same flattering frequency response and expressive, dynamic overdrive to whatever amp you’re plugged into, big or small.

The pedal, which is built by hand in the UK, features standard Gain and Level knobs, plus a pair of unconventional EQ controls – a High boost/cut and a Low boost.

Designed to sit at the start of the signal chain, it promises a response to picking dynamics and volume knob adjustment more akin to a vintage fuzz pedal than a conventional overdrive.

Described as low- to medium-gain, it ranges from an almost-clean boost with added grit when you dig in, to the kind of honky, saturated drive most often associated with an overdriven Champ. 

About Great Eastern FX Co.: 

Based near Cambridge in the East of England, Great Eastern FX Co. is the brainchild of veteran guitar journalist David Greeves. Formerly editor of Guitar Buyer magazine and a contributor to various UK-based guitar and studio recording publications, David launched the company in 2021 with the aim of delivering original effects that are equal parts functional, fun and inspiring. This approach is summed up in the company motto: Serious.Fun. 

The company’s pedals are made by hand in the UK. They feature high-quality components throughout – including low-noise, 1% tolerance metal film resistors, PET film capacitors, Alpha pots and Neutrik jack sockets – as well as additional power supply filtering and protection circuitry. The pedals, which are individually calibrated and play-tested before shipping, are covered by a one-year warranty.

The SSO's controls are designed to be useful across their entire range, so experimentation is actively encouraged.

Adjusting the GAIN knob takes the pedal from almost clean, through edge-of-breakup tones to saturated overdrive. The SSO is very sensitive to playing dynamics and volume knob adjustments. If you wish, you can use the GAIN control to set the maximum amount of overdrive then explore a range of clean and dirty textures directly from the guitar.

The LOW control lets you add more bass and body to the tone, or rein in that low end for classic, characterful small amp sounds. From a starting point around 9 o'clock, there's plenty of scope to boost lows if required. 

The HIGH knob provides precise control over presence and bite. Starting from 12 o'clock, turn the control clockwise to boost highs. Conversely, rolling off the high end lets you emphasise the mid-range – great for smooth, singing slide tones. 

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