Suhr Shiba Drive Reloaded: review

In 2009, Suhr released the Shiba Drive. My son recently bought the “reloaded” version, which is an update to the original pedal, tweaked to create something more amp-like, with a tighter low-end, focused mids and 50% more gain than the original Shiba Drive. The Reloaded version is a great overdrive pedal for players of Blues, Jazz and Rock.

For quite some time my son, Harry, had been in the market for a high quality overdive/distortion pedal. Before deciding on the Shiba Drive Reloaded, he’d spent months reading reviews and watching YouTube video demos, and a good few hours in guitar shops testing a variety of makes and models. I own a Suhr Riot distortion pedal, which Harry loves, but he was after something designed more for rich crunch and mid gain levels than a pedal capable of high end distortion.

He decided on the Shiba Drive because, of all the pedals he’d tried, it offered the best combination of tone and responsiveness. The Shiba Reloaded sounded rich and creamy and responded really well to the nuances of his playing. It’s an incredibly sweet, smooth, natural sounding pedal with fabulous dynamics. It allows the character of your guitar and amp to shine through. He’d tried the original Shiba Drive a while ago, but had dismissed it because he felt it lacked a bit of punch. The Shiba Reloaded offers over 50% more gain than the original, has increased saturation, improved midrange articulation and more sustain. It’s a versatile pedal. The 3-position “Smooth” switch offers three distinct treble roll-off voicings. Harry partners the Shiba Reloaded with a Big Muff Pi (with Tone Wicker) to get a wide range of sounds from mild crunch to crazy, crushing distortion.

Suhr gear is not cheap. But it is exceptionally well made and sounds wonderful. I recommend you give it a go.

More about my Suhr Riot and Suhr Koko Boost pedals.
More about Suhr at



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