30 Pedals in 30 Days: Budda Zenman Overdrive/Boost and Chakra Compressor


Don’t forget to check out the video at the bottom of the page.

There are pieces of gear that everybody has in their arsenal. Then, there are players who are looking for something unique. If you want a sound that few people have tapped into, Budda is the way to go. For 30 Pedals in 30 Days, we here at TheToneKing.com had a chance to check out Budda’s Zenman Overdrive/Boost and Chakra Compressor and see what makes them so unique.

Founded in 1995 by Jeff Bober and Scot Sier, Budda amplification is about as boutique as you can get. They were also one of the few companies doing low wattage amps before it was cool.

Mostly known for their amps, this San Francisco based company concentrated on making amps that accentuate the player’s capabilities rather than hide them. Buddha doesn’t disguise your tone to make you sound good. Their gear complements your playing. If you can’t play, don’t think a Buddha is going to make you sound good.

Although Budda has been around for almost two decades, you’ll notice that they don’t have a ton of gear. Careful design, meticulous construction, and unique tone are all qualities that Budda looks for in their gear. If the product doesn’t meet those standards, it doesn’t get the Budda name.

Enter The Zenman Overdrive/Boost and the Chakra Compressor, two pedals that Budda feels worthy to bear the name.


The Zenman Overdrive/Boost is a wall of sound, a versatile gain pedal suitable for driving your amp anywhere between a mellow blues wail to a strong driving rhythm. The key to the Zenman is that it doesn’t have so much gain that it over-saturates your tone. It gives you enough gain for crunch and grind, but if you’re looking for mud, you’ll have to find it somewhere else. When you push the Zenman to 11, you’ll find a hard-hitting drive that feels like a kick to the skull.

To find true Zen, one must examine both ends of the horizon. Therefore, the Zenman also brings enlightenment with its overdrive. Simple and elegant, with a clarity that will give you just enough gain to bring a wail to your leads while keeping your chord voicings from getting too murky. The Phat/Vintage Switch twists the EQ parameters of the pedal, giving the player a whole new set of sounds to mess with. To top it off, the Boost feature has a level control that can be used with or without the overdrive. The result is a versatile pedal that is suitable for guitar players from any genre of music.

Next on deck, there’s the Chakra Compressor. A compressor has one job to do, make loud sounds softer and soft sounds louder. Surprisingly enough, many compressors fail miserably at this. Instead, they manage to make your guitar sound like it’s being played underwater or inside of a tin cup, with nothing in between. The Chakra is modeled after the optical compressors used in studios during the 60’s. The Gain knob can be used to increase the glow of the optical circuit, fattening up the sound. And, like those old compressors, the more gain, the more it effects the comp and attack. Like everything else made by Budda, careful attention was made to make sure that this pedal didn’t create an effect over your existing tone. The Chakra just enhances it.

Good compressors can be used to complement a gain pedal, giving you a thick, warm, organic sound. And, the Chakra is no exception. When put together with the Zenman, Nirvana can be achieved. I’m speaking, of course, of the blissful state of being, not the band from Seattle.

Sometimes it’s hard to find something different, sounds that are unique to you. Well, one way to do that is to search out gear that only a few discerning players are using. Budda has always prided themselves on being gear for the discerning player. And, they’re continuing that tradition with the Zenman Overdrive/Boost and the Chakra Compressor. For us at TheToneKing.com, playing these boutique pedals was like drinking Casablanca Lager in Morocco surrounded by belly dancers. Of course, we had a chance to rock out a bit, too.



For prices on the Zenman Overdrive/Boost and the Chakra Compressor as well as all Budda products, check out: Sweetwater.com


Click here to enter into TheToneKing.com’s 30 Pedals in 30 Days Randall Give-Away!

Unboxing Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sihtc2My0_0

And, here’s the Official Video Review of the Budda ZenMan OD/Boost & Chakra Compressor:


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Filed Under: FeaturedPedals3P3D-2013


About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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