Let’s talk about the difference between silicon and germanium transistors and what it means to guitar players and audio in general, especially fuzz.
The Fuzz Effect
Fuzz is a type of distortion that guitar players use. It is most often found in an effect pedal and it creates a buzzy tone that is associated with an overdriven amplifier or a torn speaker. Transistors play a vital part in the design of this effect and their silicon and germanium diodes can sound quite different in the final result.
Continue reading “What is the Difference Between Germanium and Silicon Diodes in a Fuzz Pedal?”
The original Ibanez Tube Screamer is one of the most popular and imitated overdrive pedals of all time, and the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer reissue is made in the same factory, with the same parts, to get the same tone. This pedal has three controls to help get the tone you need. Continue reading “Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer”
The Soul Food Overdrive is yet another great effect pedal from the people at Electro-Harmonix. This is their representation of the KLON CENTAUR overdrive pedal, one that can cost thousands of dollars. Continue reading “Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Overdrive”
The TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive is designed with extra headroom and precise control in mind. Made in Denmark the pedal features an inner circuit that boosts the voltage three to four times the amount of most overdrive pedals. Continue reading “TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive”
The Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range Overdrive is designed to overdrive the full frequency range of the signal, unlike most overdrives which concentrate on the midrange frequencies. Continue reading “Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range Overdrive”
The Deputy Marshal, by Outlaw Effects has three control knobs for fine tuning your sound. With Level you adjust the overall volume, which is in great abundance in this pedal, unity being achieved around the 9 o’clock position. Continue reading “Outlaw Effects Deputy Marshal”
Fuzz is a type of distortion that was originally marketed in the early 1960’s as a device that you can use to emulate the sound of Orchestra instruments such as the Trumpet, Cello, Bassoon, Saxophone, etc. It was a Saxophone sound that Keith Richards wanted for the beginning of “Satisfaction,” that prompted him to try out a Fuzz pedal. It was also during this time that the Kinks, Link Wray, and many other early Rock & Roll and Blues guitar players reportedly punched holes in their speakers to get a fuzzy sound. You can hear a torn speaker in “Rocket 88” (the first Rock & Roll song), by Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston. Other notable songs from that time that feature Fuzz are “You Really Got Me,” by The Kinks and “Rumble,” by Link Wray. The aggressive Fuzz tone of this song actually caused people to feel fearful, so the song was banned from the radio.
Continue reading “How does a Fuzz pedal work?”
In discussing the differences between distortion and overdrive, what creates them, and how they’re used, we’ll begin with the relationship between a device’s maximum signal level and its threshold.
Every device in your guitar rig, or your home recording studio, has been designed to accept a maximum signal level. The maximum signal level that a device can accept is called that device’s threshold. If you introduce a signal to a device that exceeds the threshold, the parts of the signal that exceed it will get “clipped” (like tall grass), in various ways. Often, when a signal gets clipped, additional frequencies get created and added to the signal, as a sort of by-product of the clipping. These additional frequencies are known as overtones and harmonics. Sometimes the way a signal gets clipped sounds musical, natural, and warm, while at other times it sounds harsh, brittle, and as though there was something wrong with your equipment. Clipping the signal adds a “buzzy/crunchy” character to the tone, and that buzz is what we call distortion. Distortion is everywhere — on TV, in radio, etc. and it is rarely a good thing. Luckily, however, guitar players have found a way to make it work for them.
Continue reading “What is the difference between overdrive and distortion?”
Effect pedals are a great way to change 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. Continue reading “What are the Best Budget Guitar Overdrive Pedals?”
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.
Continue reading “What are the Best Guitar Overdrive Pedals?”