Danelectro DJ1 Pastrami Mini Overdrive


What is it?
Danelectro DJ-1 Pastrami Mini Overdrive. First in Dano’s mini boxes. Got this from a friend. Thanks Mr. Järvi!

Not bad at all. Like many in this series, the soldering leaves me wanting more quality, but otherwise there’s not that much bad to say about this. The schematic can be found on FSB. There’s nothing new or super special in there, just succesful mash of basic gain and recovery stages with LED clipping.

Designwise this is definitely a great overdrive with personal character. With this simple design, i’m really not interested if it is supposed to be a copy of some popular design. It doesn’t sound like any of the big names, so i’d leave it at that.


I’ve built a clone with my own mods to this as it bothered me that the level control mixes the makeup/recovery gain stage input with gorund. This method doesn’t leave enough room for low gain and volume maxed. Also, bigger resistor to set lowest possible gain higher than stock will be a good idea. My mods have the original level control transformed into a SWTC2 and the new level control taken to more conventional place – the output. LED clipping is at home on this design.

How does it sound?
Think of your weekend morning rice crispies. Crunchy medium gain with moderate output. Usable and recommended crunch. The LEDs give out their trademark sound for clipping on this one. After playing with one of these intensively, one can spot the sound of LEDs being used as clippers on other designs too.  Easily the best OD/Dist unit in this series.


5 responses to “Danelectro DJ1 Pastrami Mini Overdrive”

  1. Hi.
    I like very much this unit, better if you pull off the two led-diodes that add some harsh distortion to the basic distortion that comes from the IC.
    Very very close to the Boss Blues Driver (both witout the clipping diodes) but the Pastrami have a more natural low end.
    Best pedal i had to run as the basic sound to drive other pedals.

    • The original unit is a pain to mod to something more useful. Thankfully there are stripboard layouts of several mods around the internet. I personally wouldn’t mod the original at all as it has some nice personal character to its sound.

  2. So, based on your review, thought I’d buy and try one. Spent an hour today watching youtubes of Bluesbreaker OD clones, then the post came, with my cheap used Pastrami. Plugged up to my house amp (2xEL84 home brew w/ Altec 12), and holy crap. Yup – got THAT sound, right off the bat, both knobs straight up. Tried other settings: 9:00 dirt box – great; 11 to 2:00 OD – great; 5:00 mid-gain distortion – great. I could see a pedal setup with three of these, and I might do that – they’re cheap. So, there’s no tone knob, but I’ve heard that most guitars these days have a tone control, built right in, no extra charge! Amazing. We’ll see how it plays with the other pedals in the big gig rig, probably okay. An extra: clipping LED visible through the red plastic case, like a living beating heart!

  3. The first part of the circuit is a copy of a Guvnor.
    Still in my pedal board as my first crunch pedal.

  4. Some Pastramis goes with TI TL072 ic and others with STelectronics TL072.
    The second sound a little bigger and fuller. Best to my ears.
    Just at the end of the circuit there is a 10k resistor in series with a 0.0022 uf to ground that enhance a very high frequency that its not very musical.

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