First Impressions: MXR Timmy Overdrive Pedal

A couple of months back, I bought the MXR version of the legendary Timmy overdrive pedal. Since it arrived, I’ve been far too busy using it to write about it 😂

If you’d like to know a bit more, here are my First Impressions of this pedal.

What Did You Buy?

I bought a second-hand MXR Timmy overdrive pedal. It’s a mini-pedal, made in collaboration with Paul Cochrane, who used to hand-make the original Timmy pedals.

Why Did You Buy It?

I recently bought a True Grit Telecaster bridge pickup for Hedgehog (my Squier Esquire 60’s Custom). While it’s a great pickup, it isn’t as hot as the Telecaster pickups I have from Fender. I’d like to stick some kind of pedal between the True Grit and my amp to help it out.

After some experimenting, I decided that the Timmy was a great choice for boosting the True Grit to get closer to my other Telecasters (so that I can switch guitars without having to adjust settings every time). Look out for details about that in a future blog post.

Unfortunately, my original Timmy v2 is on the blink. I think the footswitch is going. (It happens.) The pedal doesn’t work reliably, and I’m sure that at some point it’ll stop working entirely. And I can’t just pick up another one.

The Timmy v2 has been discontinued (Paul Cochrane is in the process of launching the Timmy v3). Second-hand examples are rare, and very sought after. I’ve seen sellers asking for Klon KTR-levels of cash to part with theirs. As much as I like the Timmy, I don’t like it enough to pay that kind of money for one!

It just doesn’t make sense for me to chase another Timmy v2. Not when this pedal from MXR is widely available.

What Is A Timmy Pedal?

The Timmy is one of the original transparent overdrive pedals. It’s right up there with the Klon and the King of Tone as a legendary pedal.

‘Transparent’ overdrive pedals aim to give you more overdrive while still sounding the same in all other aspects. None of them quite manage that, but the Timmy does come closer than many.

What Is A Timmy Pedal Good For?

The whole point of a Timmy pedal is push your amp harder.

It isn’t the kind of overdrive that you run into a clean amp. I’m sure there’s someone famous out there who does do exactly that. There’s always an exception to these rules.

Take an amp that’s already breaking up (or, in my case, an amp like the Origin which sounds like it’s breaking up even when it isn’t), and stick a Timmy in front of it. You can use it just as a volume boost, or you can also add some initial overdrive from the Timmy itself too.

That’s what it was designed to do, and arguably it’s still one of the best pedals for this – especially for Marshall-style amps.

What Are You Doing With It?

I’ve ended up sticking it in front of my Marshall Origin 20H.

My Origin 20H doesn’t really break up on its own. The preamp will distort (in a horrible way) at extreme settings. The power amp section will overdrive if I gun it hard enough, but the sweet spot is quite small. It’s very easy to turn it into mush.

So what I’ve been doing is using the MXR Timmy to give me a light overdrive sound, straight into the Origin 20H. By modern tastes, it probably still counts as a clean tone, but I think it’s really sweet.

How Does It Compare To The Original Timmy v2?

I’m sure many readers will be here for that comparison. I’m sorry, that’s not one for today. It’s a topic that deserves its own blog post – preferably one with actual sound samples.

What I will share, though, is that I have not felt the need to grab my original Timmy v2 pedal to A/B them. To my ears, the MXR Timmy is close enough for my needs.

Final Thoughts

The Timmy is one of those utility pedals it’s great to have. You might not use it all the time, but when you need it, nothing else quite does the job.

I’m very happy with the MXR Timmy. It goes great with the True Grit pickup in my Esquire – which is what I bought it for. It also works really well with The Earl, my new PSR Paul’s Guitar.

What I love most, though, is that it’s absolutely perfect in front of my Marshall Origin 20H. Since I got the MXR Timmy, I’ve started playing this amp again on a regular basis. The two together have given me something I didn’t quite have before – or, at least, something that I wasn’t really doing before.

For that reason alone, I’ve already had my money’s worth out of this little pedal.

One Reply to “First Impressions: MXR Timmy Overdrive Pedal”

  1. “I’m sure many readers will be here for that comparison. I’m sorry, that’s not one for today. It’s a topic that deserves its own blog post – preferably one with actual sound samples.”
    -> I’m waiting anxiously

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