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.

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What are the Best Guitar Overdrive Pedals?

best guitar overdriveIf you are in the market for a guitar overdrive pedal, this list will point you in the right direction.

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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The Fulltone OCD – In Search of the Holy Grail

Fulltone OCDThe Fulltone OCD delivers an incredible palate of overdrive sounds in one little pedal.

Catching That Wave

The “Holy Grail” of overdrive pedals is a lot like that perfect wave that a surfer desperately seeks. Well, good news folks; I think I may have found it! The Fulltone OCD is one hell of a little pedal. Granted, there are other ones out there that offer an actual 12AX7 tube, and pretty serious tone-shaping (for example, the Radial Tonebone), but the OCD is just an incredibly simple little pedal that delivers; it sounds great anytime, anywhere!

That Perfect Driven Sound

One of the things that seems to be particularly high on the list of priorities for guitarists is how to achieve the perfect driven sound. There are so many overdrive / distortion pedals out there. You could spend all day and night just trying them all out, to see which one sounds best. Although guitars, amps and even pickups are often candidates for “Best of the Best” ranking among guitarists, the overdrive pedal seems to hold a special place in our hearts, as a critical component to our sound and an item that we keep ourselves in an unrelenting search for.
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MXR M78 Custom Badass ’78 Distortion

MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 DistortionMXR’s new ’78 Bad Ass is a dammed good distortion pedal that offers true bypass and a warm sound, at a very reasonable price.

OK, this thing is pretty good. The kicker is that it retails for under $100. At that price range, true bypass and warm analog distortion is definitely a feature set that should impress anyone. Of course this is all very subjective. You have to factor in your setup, taste, and playing style. That said, all things considered, it’s a strong pedal.  I’m not too sure what the ’78 stands for. I guess I don’t really care, but I am curious.
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