Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A White (BUD Box) DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp?

I'm not sure how well I have made it known over the years, but to me the best overdrive pedal ever made is the DOD 250. I can honestly gush for hours about how good they sound, and even longer about their history and all the different versions over the years (but we'll save that for a later post).

One thing that has been rumored to exist, in nerdy pedal collector circles, is a very briefly-lived DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp housed in an off-white colored "BUD" box enclosure. We know for sure that about a year or two after DOD officially launched with their original big box pedals, they decided to move in the direction of a trending style at the time. And that trend was all about MXR and the smaller pedals that took over the 2nd half of the 70s.

And while I have never personally owned one of these "Bud" box DOD pedals, I have seen photos of a few existing units over the past couple decades.

BUD Box White DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp

BUD Box White DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp

BUD Box White DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp

If you don't already know the story; around 1975/76 in an attempt to capture the new small-pedal market, DOD and ROSS decided not only to use suspiciously "similar" circuits to MXR, but also the exact same enclosures! 

The BUD box (which was basically a generic metal electronics project box) was the enclosure of choice. In fact there are a slew of pedals from the 70s that are all the same size and shape precisely because BUD were the go-to.

But unfortunately for ROSS and DOD, they just got a little too big for MXR's liking and a cease and desist was issued.

So in 1977 (which coincidentally was the same year MXR stopped using BUD boxes themselves) DOD came up with their own enclosures, which we all recognize now as THE 70's enclosure associated with the brand.

BUD Box White DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp

This ad from the Fall of 1977 is the earliest one I could find that not only shows the classic DOD enclosures, but also announces them as the "new" 200 series, and highlights their "extra rugged pressure die-cast case(s)".

So... this all begs the question, Was there a DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp that was built and sold in the BUD box era?

At this point it is hard to know! If I were to go by serial numbers alone my earliest grey 250, from roughly the Fall of 1977, should be the 1,001'st unit ever made. 

Should be.

But I have discovered grey 250s from 1980 that have EARLIER serial numbers!!! So after seeing this (the earliest being 250-0559) my first thought was that maybe they printed the serials for what was supposed to be BUD box 250s, but after getting the cease and desist from MXR they decided to hold off on production until they could make a new enclosure. And then for some reason they just kept a few hundred serial stickers until 1980 when they decided to recycle them way out of order??? but who really knows!

BUD Box White DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp

The corners of the circuit boards in the BUD box DOD pedals are all cut at an angle, just like the old MXR pedals. And so far I have yet to see one of the classic DOD enclosures utilized those cut boards. Which hints at one of two conclusions; either they decided to sell through all remaining stock of the BUD box pedals, or they trashed them and started fresh in the Fall of 1977. 

(I'm sure there is a 3rd option too, like they exist and I have just never seen one, but I needed to add some kind of drama to keep you on your toes)

BUD Box White DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp

As of now, this one above, which is my oldest 250, is the earliest I have been able to find. 

And while I have heard stories from two separate people who swear they have seen/owned a BUD box version, I have to hold out belief until I see one for myself. 

Even if it's just a photo, I'll take it!

Come on universe! 

Give me something!!! 

Well, as we always do about this time, if you happen to have ever seen or owned any of the BUD box DOD pedals I would love to hear from you; (Email / Instagram) but especially if you have any information about the BUD box 250 Overdrive Preamp.

*a big thank you to all the owners of the BUD box pedals above. I appreciate your documentation for posterity. 

Thanks for reading,

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