Effect pedals are a great way to change up or enhance your sound. You can get almost any sound you can think up, somewhere in a pedal. You can do anything from adding a slap-back echo to turning your guitar into a synth. Their small size and relatively inexpensive price allows players to get several types of pedals and string them together on a pedal-board, or several of the same type and swap them out. Many vintage pedals are collected and can sell for thousands of dollars. Right now we’re going to take a look at overdrive pedals in particular, and of those we want the ones that won’t break the bank. Each pedal on this list costs less than $100, looks and sounds great, is high-quality and durable, and will deliver all of the overdrive crunch that you need. We’ll look at, and discuss a few vintage pedals that have more than proven themselves, and we’ll also take a look at a few of the more modern ones on the market today to see how the technology is changing, and determine if they sound as good, or better, than the old pedals.
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For many of us, the overdrive that is built into our amplifier, even if it is a good one, can become stale and restrictive over time, thus leaving you looking for something more. An overdrive pedal can be the perfect solution. Pedals are usually much cheaper than a new amplifier, and much less bulky. There are so many overdrive pedals available that it won’t be too hard to find one or more that you like, thereby leaving you free to create for yourself a truly custom sound that is unique to you. Right now we’re going to look at some of the best guitar overdrive pedals available out there, and we’ll talk about why they are so great, and also what makes them that way. We’re going to take a look at vintage designs as well as modern overdrive pedals, to see how things have changed, and how they have remained the same. These are all going to be Overdrive pedals, so we will probably see a few tube emulators, and pedals designed to sound like an amp naturally breaking up. You’ll get some good crunch and even distortion out of many of these pedals, but these are not Fuzz pedals or Metal distortion pedals; those are for another time.
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Fuzz pedals are often a great substitute for other solid state, and sometimes even tube-driven, overdrives and distortions. Fuzz was actually the first solid state distortion available to guitar players and it has been around long enough to have a vintage sound to it, as well as a long list of big name users. Fuzz is usually created with either germanium or silicon fuzz-based transistors. The germanium-based fuzz boxes produce a warmer sound, more like a tube amp, and you can also change the fuzz level by adjusting your guitar’s volume. Germanium-based fuzz boxes are affected by the environment and can sound differently on warm and cold days. A silicon-based fuzz pedal will sound brighter and sharper, and since silicon transistors are cheaper than germanium, the pedals are usually cheaper as well.The level of fuzz is not affected by the guitar’s volume knob and silicon is much less susceptible to the environment. Both types of distortion are capable of going from just a hint of fuzz to massive levels of tone-changing fuzz at any volume level. Right now we look at the best of the best so you can see which one is right for you.
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