Joyo Ultimate Drive Just Got Better

Joyo Ultimate Drive Just Got Better

My craigslist $30 Joyo Ultimate Drive just got even better! It was a great sounding overdrive right out of the box for sure. It’s been compared to a Freakish Blues Alpha Drive, or more precisely they are the same drive with a few different component values. I found a mod that is supposed to make the Joyo sound more like the Alpha so I figured what the hell let’s give it a go. If you know the Alpha Drive then you know it cost right at $160 and the Joyo Ultimate runs approx. $40. The key difference is that the Joyo has more volume on tap with a fatter bottom end and the Alpha has a tighter bottom end and more chimey highs. They use the same PCB so the Alpha Drives appear to be re-branded Joyo’s. With $1.50 worth of components I went in. This is about as simple a mod you’re likely to find so it’s a good first mod for a beginner. You have to pull the board out of the housing to get at the top to remove one component while the other 3 can be done from the back side. Here’s the mod.

1. Remove the 1uf electrolytic capacitor located at C9.
2. Flip the board over (see image below)
3. Insert a 0.1uf polyester cap in C9. I prefer box caps.
4. Solder a 330k resistor across Drive pot lugs 1 & 3.
5. Solder a 1k7 resistor across Tone pot lugs 1 & 3.
6. Solder a 470k resistor across Volume pot lugs 1 & 3.

Button it all back up and test drive it.
The difference is startling. It tightens up the bottom end and makes the tone knob much more responsive and adds a bit more in the high end. Before the change the Joyo was border line muddy but was controllable with the tone knob and backing off on  the volume knob. With the mod it gives the tone and volume ability to go full on without losing any clarity. And it loses none of the pre-mod volume boost. So what I considered to be a great overdrive right out of the box is now a truly awesome dirt box. Now here comes the disclaimer: all results were achieved using humbuckers. I have no idea how single coils would perform so as always YMMV.

joyo ultimate drive diy mods

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What’s the easiest mod you’ve ever done? Leave an answer in the comments below


Dean Leslie West Peace Sign Signature Soltero, Dean Leslie West Flame Maple Tobacco Burst Signature Soltero, Gibson Les Paul Studio, Hamer Studio,, Epiphone Les Paul (Korean), Ovation Celebrity, Laney Cub 12R, Blackstar, HT-1R, Jet City JCA20H, Jet City JCA22H, Orange OR15, and a lot of dirt pedals, some store bought some DIY.

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