Welcome back to Analyzing the Hype, a series in which we look at some coveted pieces of old school gear and we look into why they became so damn popular, and what is out there that can get you some of that sound. This week: the John Landgraff Dynamic OD

The John Landgraff Dynamic OD is a colorful-boxed, handmade overdrive pedal that and has been produced since 1999. Ever since, some sections of the internet have gone silly bugger over this thing (sorry I let my UK heritage get away from me there for a second), but why is that? Let’s look further.

The History

John Landgraff and his wife, Rose, started to build the Dynamic OD back in 1999 out of their home in Pensacola, Florida, and it’s been in production since then. The pedal itself is a hand-wired 3 knob overdrive with a switch to select different clipping diode options and the circuit is all centered around the classic JRC4558 opamp chip from the venerable Tubescreamer. In fact, the whole circuit is very much TS-based, but fully point to point wired.

The pedal is available new through Blue Angel Music in Pensacola, and they are the sole dealer, unless you go through the builder. Sadly, John passed away in 2015 after bouts of ill health, and Rose now continues her husband’s legacy and still makes the pedal for general sale.

Why Is It So Hyped?

Well, there are several reasons. Firstly, the price is around $500 new. Yep, $500. So, the price is only just kind of eye-catching. Speaking of eye-catching, so is the swirl paintwork that is individual to the pedal, which is only ever done by two renowned artists; Arlon Prince and Darren Johannson.

The waiting list also fueled some mystery and wonderment, as it got to as long as three years. That, along with John’s reclusive nature, made getting hold of one pretty tricky.

Lastly, the amount of online word of mouth that has been generated over the years, both pertaining to the above and players lauding the tone of the pedal as one of, if not, the best overdrive pedals out there was a large factor.

Real World Options

If you don’t happen to have a spare $500 lying around to shell out on one of these swirly myth boxes, what can you get with an everyday budget? Well, thankfully, there are a number of options that have since followed the mold of a modified Tubescreamer circuit with a diode switch.

Firstly, we have the CMAT Mods Signa Drive, which follows the same basic format as the Landgraff, as it’s a modded TS circuit with a 3 position clipping diode selector, but you can grab one from CMAT themselves for just $135, and it can run on up to 18v too, so there’s a bonus!

If, however, you are more inclined to the budget end of the spectrum, you can find either the Biyang OD-8 or OD-10 (same circuit, different box) for around $50 new. I’ve owned the OD-10 and it did the job very well.

Lastly, I’m going to throw a bone to my Eurobros with the Finhol Classic Overdrive. This pedal may only have 2 clipping options, rather than 3, but the tone of the pedal gets it here as it sounds a bit like a Hi-Fi Tubescreamer with a little less of a mid hump, and it’s about $200 to get it to the US.


There you have it! Another piece of gear decoded. Luckily you can still get the real deal, but other options are very viable as well.

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This article written by community contributor John Waldock.

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