In this Mesa Boogie Flux Drive review, I’ll give you the low-down on how this pedal can rock your world with fabulous clean boost and medium overdrive sounds!
If you’re looking to add articulate crunch to your playing that will make your power chords pop and your soloing sing, then check out what this pedal can do.
What Is The Mesa Boogie Flux Drive?
Well, it’s not the “Flux Capacitor,” but it might be the next best thing, at least for your guitar playing.
The Flux Drive is one of four Mesa Boogie boost/overdrive/distortion pedals that I think work great together. The other three pedals are the Tone-Burst (transparent boost), Grid Slammer (think classic Tube Screamer), and Throttle Box (essentially a Rectifier circuit).
This article is all about the Flux Drive unit. I will be reviewing the other three pedals at a later date.
Think of the Flux Drive as more of a “preamp on steroids” with tone-shaping controls. It works by spiking the front end of your amp to make it more responsive, give it a more aggressive attack profile, and bring out the harmonic richness of the notes.
Depending on your pedal and amp settings, the Flux Drive will give you the entire range of barely (almost transparent) boosted tone to full-on crunch. In addition, it can easily cut through the mix by pushing an amp’s clean channel into that magic breakup zone and making a high-gain channel deliver stadium-style leads.
Mesa Boogie has been around since the 1960s and has hand-built some of the greatest amps and pedals right in Petaluma, California. Guitar greats such as Carlos Santana, Keith Richards, and Walter Trout have all used Mesa Boogie gear!
Who Is The Mesa Flux Drive Pedal For?
The Flux Drive is for anyone that wants to add a little more oomph to their playing. The bass and treble tone stack controls work in conjunction with the level and gain controls to shape your sound and boost its output.
No matter what kind of music you play, the Flux Drive can enhance your sound and take your playing to the next level! Country players can effortlessly dial in twangy bite and sustain, blues players can wake up an audience with dirty riffs in just the right places, and rock players can conjure up creamy crunch with ease.
How Does The Flux Drive Work?
You control the Flux Drive, by adjusting the Bass, Treble, Level, and Gain knobs.
A good approach is to begin by setting the Bass and Treble to 12:00, which does not color the tone of the output. Once you dial in the boost or overdrive you need for your guitar and amp setup; then you can adjust the tone to finalize your sound.
Choose the Level setting you need to match or exceed the output signal of your bypassed sound, depending on how much volume you require when you activate the pedal.
Set the gain for the amount of boost or overdrive you desire and your good to go!
The Bass and Treble control both have up to a 12dB cut going counterclockwise from 12:00 and a 12dB boost going clockwise from 12:00. This gives you a tremendous tonal range to play with.
Here are some sample Flux Drive settings for each of the control knobs and what they do (from Mesa Boogie).
|Control Knob||Function||Setting –> Result|
|Level||Adjusts Output Signal||Higher settings increase signal output to the amp|
|Gain||Adjusts Gain (overdrive)||Low (8:00 – 10:30) – Subtle Overdrive|
Middle (10:30 – 1:30) – Early Saturation
High (1:30 – 5:30) – Smooth Saturation
|Bass||Low-Frequency Adjustment||Low (7:30 – 12:00) – Skinny, Tight, and Percussive|
High (12:00 – 5:30) – Full, Rich, Thumpy Low-End
|Treble||High-Frequency Adjustment||Low (7:30 – 12:00) – Dark, Round, & Compressed|
High (12:00 – 5:30) – Bright & Aggressive Bite
Here are the basic specs for the Mesa Boogie Flux Drive.
|Control Knobs||Level, Gain, Bass, Treble|
|Battery (Included)||9 Volt (one)|
|DC Power Adapter (Not Included)||Power Jack 2.1mm x 5.5mm,|
9VDC with Negative Center – Regulated
|Input Impedance||1M Ohm (500k Ohm minimum)|
|Output Impedance||10k Ohm|
|Dimensions (W/D/H)||2.87” x 4.77” x 2.28” (73mm x|
122mm x 58mm)
To remove the battery, unscrew the four Phillips- head screws from the bottom of the unit. Any type of 9-volt battery will work. I tend to use alkaline batteries because they last longer, assuming the pedal is not attached to a pedalboard.
Some players like the sound of conventional batteries better. Eric Johnson favors 9 Volt batteries that test a little on the weak side in his pedals, which he feels gives them more of a “vintage” sound.
This is a Blues-Rock demo of the Mesa Boogie Flux Drive pedal by none other than the amazing Walter Trout! Check it out!
Features And Benefits
Here are some of the features of the Mesa Boogie Flux Drive Overdrive Pedal.
- Use the controls to color your sound and dial in just the right amount of boost or overdrive
- Bass and treble controls can boost or cut the tone by +/- 12db
- Level control can boost the output signal by up to 20 dB
- Gain control adds sustain and pick-sensitive dynamics to your playing
- True bypass switching keeps your guitar output signal pure without tonal quality loss
- Off/On LED status light
- Internal battery is switched on by a switching element in the input jack
- Switching element in the pedal’s external DC receptacle automatically disconnects the internal battery to prolong life
The Flux Drive can save you money by turning a mediocre-sounding amp into a great amp. If you use the Flux Drive on your favorite tube amp, it will open it up and make it perform in ways you never imagined.
What I like About The Flux Drive
Here are some of the things I personally like about this pedal.
The Flux Drive can really add a lot of mojo to an amp that is on the brink of clipping or already distorting. In addition, you can get more of a “British” sound by increasing the midrange voicing.
It really makes single-coil guitars, like a Strat, push your amp like higher-output pickups but without muddying their sound.
Many players tend to raise their single-coil pickups too high under the treble strings of their guitar, especially with the bridge pickup, instead of setting their height to the “sweet spot.” It’s a lot better to set your pickup height to where they produce the best tone and use a booster pedal like the Flux Drive to make the signal hotter.
If you use the Flux Drive with humbucking pickups and a high gain amp, you can get amazing sustain with notes that are clearly distinguishable, even when playing full chords.
In addition to spiking the front end of your amp, the Flux Drive can work excellently when placed in the signal path before a distortion pedal. With the right settings, it can push your sound into a sort of a “musical hyperdrive.”
Try placing the Flux Drive in front of an Electro Harmonix Big Muff or a Mesa Boogie Throttle Box for some big fun!
The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and your willingness to experiment. It’s no secret that Billy Gibbons has used up to six Bixonic EXP-2000 First Generation Expandoras at once to get his fabulous and totally over-the-top tone.
For more info, see What Is A Guitar Stomp Box – Attractive, Little, Tantalizing.
What I Don’t Like About The Flux Drive
There is not much to talk about in terms of serious issues and limitations. The sounds that this pedal produces speak for themselves!
There are, however, are a few minor points to be considered.
The Flux Drive is a little on the expensive side for an overdrive pedal, but Mesa Boogie’s high quality and functionality standards do justify the price tag. However, it’s really not that pricey for a premium pedal of this nature.
The pedal does not come with a DC power supply, which seems to be more the rule than the exception with stompboxes.
If you’re running it on a pedalboard, you will most likely be hooking it up to a common shared power source.
Mesa Boogie only covers the Flux Drive with a limited 1-year warranty. However, the pedal is very sturdy, so it should give you many years of service, barring any unforeseen electronic failure.
Like all booster, overdrive, and distortion pedals, the FLux Drive can make the notes of various chords a little less distinct at the higher gain settings.
I use a BBE MS-92 Mini Sonic Stomp Pedal in my pedalboard, which adds quite a bit of definition to my rhythm and lead playing, even with serious overdrive and distortion.
Final Thoughts On The Mesa Flux Drive Review
I hope you enjoyed this Mesa Boogie Flux Drive review and found it helpful!
The Flux drive is essentially a low-to-medium gain organic-sounding boost and overdrive pedal with lots of mojo and attitude to spare.
It has a distinct advantage over most other boost pedals because it features separate Bass and Treble tone controls, which can be set to give you a +/- 12 dB EQ boost or cut.
This pedal can be adjusted to produce a very clean and nearly transparent boost, making it more like a linear preamp.
Cranking the Level and Gain controls can boost the output signal by up to 20 dB and easily give you a saturated but well-balanced and musical overdrive.
The Flux Drive works great on your pedalboard when putting before a distortion pedal like the Mesa Boogie Throttle Box. These two pedals would essentially cover all your overdrive and distortion needs, from Gospel to heavy metal!
Tell Me What You Think
Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this review, have any questions about this product, or want to leave your own personal evaluation of the Mesa Boogie Flux Drive.
I will be happy to help you.
- Do you own a Mesa Boogie Flux Drive pedal? What do you think of it?
- Would you be more likely to buy a boost/overdrive pedal or a distortion pedal?
- Do you own any other Mesa Boogie products?
- After reading this review, would you consider trying out the Flux Drive?