Dynamics and Gain – Understanding How Guitar Effects Work

dynamics and gainDynamics and gain are the most basic of guitar effects. They deal with Volume, and they’re designed to help control how loud or soft your signal is

Dynamics-and-gain are the most basic of guitar effects. They deal with Volume, and they’re designed to help control how loud or soft your signal is. The Volume control built into your guitar might not seem like it, but it fits into this category. What might seem like it fits this category even less is your guitar’s Tone control, but believe it or not, it actually adjusts the Volume of your guitar’s high end frequencies. Continue reading “Dynamics and Gain – Understanding How Guitar Effects Work”

Electro-Harmonix Hot Wax Multi-Overdrive

Electro-Harmonix Hot Wax Multi-OverdriveThe creative Hot Wax Multi-Overdrive, which sounds good on bass as well as electric guitar, combines a full-range Crayon side and a classic 1970s reissue Hot Tubes side.

The Electro-Harmonix Hot Wax Multi-Overdrive is a combination of two other pedals that the company created, and it is also one of the few that is designed to sound good on bass as well as electric guitar. The right side of the pedal is the Crayon, which is a full range overdrive, different than most overdrives that emphasize the mids. Continue reading “Electro-Harmonix Hot Wax Multi-Overdrive”

Pigtronix Fat Drive

pigtronix fat driveThe Pigtronix Fat Drive creates a pure analogue overdrive by using multiple gain stages that more closely resemble the way tubes operate, thus producing a more tube-like sound.

The Pigtronix Fat Drive pedal is designed to have a tube-like overdrive. It creates a modern, 100% analog style overdrive by using multiple gain stages that round and compress a signal in each stage, as it begins to clip. As a result, it more closely resembles the way that tubes operate, thus giving this pedal a more tube-like sound. Continue reading “Pigtronix Fat Drive”

Fulltone Full-Drive2 Mosfet Overdrive Pedal

Fulltone Full-drive2The Full-Drive2 Mosfet features Overdrive and Boost channels, Volume and Tone controls, toggle switches for modes and overdrive types, and LED-lit foot buttons.

The Fulltone Full-Drive2 MOSFET is a two-channel overdrive pedal housed in a very sturdy, powder-coated Blue 16-gauge steel enclosure. The first channel is Overdrive, giving the player a clean boost, or light to medium overdrives while retaining your guitar’s tone. The second channel is the Boost, with its own separate distortion control and delivering medium to higher gains, and adding sustain to the signal. Continue reading “Fulltone Full-Drive2 Mosfet Overdrive Pedal”

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

Ibanez TS9 Tube ScreamerThis legendary pedal is used by hundreds of the greatest guitar players out there, including Metallica, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Mayer, Trey Anastasio, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and The Edge

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”

Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range Overdrive Pedal

electro-harmonix crayonThe Electro-Harmonix Crayon does clean up quite a bit when using the volume knob on the guitar, and it’s also great for plugging into other overdrive pedals.

The Electro-Harmonix Crayon Full Range pedal 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 Pedal”

What is the difference between overdrive and distortion?

best guitar distortionLearn the technical differences between overdrive and distortion, and the role that each plays in your guitar tone.

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?”