Best Plexi/Marshall-Style Distortion PedalsJan 08 2024
Classic rock guitar tone is almost synonymous with the sound of a cranked Marshall® Plexi.
Unfortunately, cranking a Plexi is not always an option. Neighbors, parents, or sleeping children, and the sheer cost of a full stack are all factors that impede us from unleashing that roaring tone at its full volume.
Plexi-style pedals offer a great solution to achieve that iconic sound at any volume.
Catalinbread - Dirty Little Secret Deluxe
If you want to go all-in on Plexi-style distortion, the Dirty Little Secret Deluxe from Catalinbread packs all the tones you need for that sound. It has a 4-band EQ, a stackable boost and a switchable Marshall® Super Lead and Super Bass modes.
The Super Lead mode is the classic Plexi sound, while the Super Bass mode is a bit more bassy with a bit more gain. The boost is a great addition to the pedal, as it can be used to push the pedal into more gain, or to push the amp into more gain. The 4-band EQ allows you to dial in the exact tone you want.
Listen to even more sounds in the full demo.
Funny Little Boxes - 1991
The story of this funny little box in a nutshell is that it was designed to emulate the sound of Pearl Jam's Ten album (released in 1991).
In practice, this means smashing a TubeScreamer-style overdrive into a Plexi-style high gain amp. All this is packaged in a cleverly designed user interface with just a 3-band EQ, dual gain and volume – all of which are very interactive.
To be honest, I'm not really into Pearl Jam and I couldn't tell you if this pedal feels like the Ten album sounds. I just know this is a great distortion/overdrive pedal that feels inspiring to play, looks cool and sounds great. On top of that, it's the most affordable pedal on this list.44
Check out the full demo and twist some knobs.
Alexander Pedals - Jubilee Silver Overdrive
The Alexander Pedals Jubilee Silver Overdrive is the simplest pedal from the list but it delivers nonetheless. It's a single-channel distortion box with a 3-band EQ and a gain and volume knob. The EQ is – typical for a Plexi-style amp – comprised of cut controls for the 3 bands. Turning them fully clockwise will give you no filtering, while turning them fully counter-clockwise will attenuate the respective frequency band.
If you're simply looking for that typical Plexi sound in a box without any complications, the Jubilee Silver Overdrive delivers the vibe and the tone.
Check out the full demo here.