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what distortion pedal?

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  • what distortion pedal?

    I've been looking for a pedal that can deliver warm sounding distortion great for eric Johnson type lead tones. I've tried boss ds-1, boss super overdrive, boss power stack and they all sounded too gritty and distorted for the tone I want. I need more smoothness and warmth. I get that sound with my Digitech Rp100's Marshall jcm900 amp sim, and its not really that great but its not that great, as most multi effects are with the quality of their tone. and I prefer a real pedal as opposed to multi effects. I've been searching around youtube for the ideal distortion pedal and the best I've heard is the Radial tonebone plexitube, but its still slightly too gritty.
    Last edited by mbengs1; 06-27-2014, 03:14 AM.

  • #2


    • #3
      I really dig my FullTone FullDrive 2 MOSFET. You back off the gain it smooths out really nice. This pedal has been on my board for a long time because it does such a great job. I play in church so I need more smooth and less grit.
      Hughs and Kettner Grandmeister 36
      Mesa Boogie Road King II
      Egnater Rebel 30 Combo
      Fender FSR Standard Black
      Schecter Hellraiser Black Cherry
      Ibanez RG570 Blue
      Ibanez AR200 Red Wine
      Gretsch G5120 Orange


      • #4
        Butler tube driver for the big money
        Suhr riot for cheaper
        Joyo clone of the suhr for cheaper still


        • #5
          you'll have to find just the right fuzz face, like eric did.



          • #6
            What kind of amp are you using? It also sounds to me like you might be looking more for an overdrive than a distortion.
            Cause sometimes the rhetoric don't go with the contents


            • #7
              Wasn't that gold Mad Professor pedal supposed to do it?

              Honestly, I think a lot of his tone comes from the Marshall in combination with the fuzz and whatever batteries he uses with them. He's so meticulous about every detail.


              • #8
                There are three levels of drive pedals: boost, overdrive, and distortion. Within those, there are families. For instance, the Rangemaster clone/germanium/treble boost is a very early type, and still popular. The Tubescreamer family is another. There are many that emulate a single amp's sound - the so-called brown sound and Dumble sound pedals are popular.

                I'm with Trick Fall - it sounds like you might be looking for an overdrive pedal, not a distortion pedal. The Fulltone Selbertdr mentioned is a good, popular pedal. Some players like to "cascade" more than one drive pedal. With just two or three running together, you'll be in outright distortionland, but with more control than with just a distortion pedal.

                The Butler tube pedal Joeyowen mentions could be interesting. Tube pedals stay popular, but good, point-to-point, true-bypass transistor pedals sound just as good to me.

                I used to have a lot of cheap pedals, and they all sounded terrible. Now I have fewer, more expensive "boutique" pedals, and am much happier.

                For lower-priced, excellent boutique pedals, try:


                If you want to get fancier, try:


                There are a bajillion more, and other poster will name them, I'm sure. Happy hunting. The tone quest never ends!

                ( •)—:::
                Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele


                • #9

                  Originally posted by Trick Fall View Post
                  What kind of amp are you using? It also sounds to me like you might be looking more for an overdrive than a distortion.
                  I use a bugera 6262. you may be right. Its an overdrive I'm looking for. what's the highest gain overdrive ? overdrive usually lacks gain so whats the solution to that. buy three of them and use them in series? lol. I have two super overdrives and use them in series and they sound like a peavey 5150 lead channel.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Delmont View Post
                    There are three levels of drive pedals: boost, overdrive, and distortion.
                    Actually most break them down into 4 categories. Boost, Fuzz, Overdrive, and Distortion.

                    Most Boost pedals are clean gain and rely on the amp to distort the signal. They are just gain boosters and don't normally clip the signal on their own. If they did they would be classified as an overdrive pedal. Your treble and bass boosters fall into this category as well. Most are just filtered preamps that make a tube amp drive more at a particular frequency.

                    Most Fuzz pedals run gain stages in series using germanium transistors. They get their drive through transistor saturation. One stage puts out a signal too large for the next stage to reproduce cleanly, so the signal gets flattened. The circuit may be two or more stages and gain staging may be mild or great depending on the circuit.

                    Overdrives and Distortion boxes are often very similar and it may only be a matter of gain staging that makes them different.. An MXR Distortion plus for example is in the class of an overdrive like a tube screamer for example but uses hotter gain staging and particular chips to get their tones. Many of these pedals use diode instead of transistor clipping or they may have elements of fuzz boxes built in as well.

                    Distortion boxes often use an additional gain staging and coloration circuits to give them a particular drive and tone and can be highly clipped. They may not even clean up very well when the gain is turned down and don't require an amp to distort to give them their drive. Many sound bad when the amp does drive in fact.

                    So, I break them down into gain staging categories.

                    Boosters are mainly designed to overdrive a tube amps preamplifier tubes. On their own they are either full frequency or selective frequency gain boost pedals. These pedals don't usually sound very good in front of solid state amps unless you have an issue with weak pickups or allot of signal loss by using long wires.

                    Fuzz pedals get their saturation by overdriving transistor stages in series without clipping diodes.

                    Overdrive usually has low gain saturation that may be adjustable from 100% clean gain boost to having some drive.
                    The pedals allow the player to retains allot of their dynamics by not over compressing the signal.

                    Distortion pedals either add additional extra gain stages or the stages may just be aggressively gained to clip the signal more. The pedals usually have practically no dynamics and go from zero to 100% with the slightest input signal. The high gain stages often lead to background noise which requires them to only be used when playing notes or by using a gate/hush pedal. These pedals are designed to do the entire job an amp does and adding any additional gain staging by other pedals or the amp can usually drive pickups into microphonic feedback.


                    • #11
                      +1 on the Joyo. sounds great with tubes


                      • #12
                        anybody tried the boss feedbacker/booster? I heard it on youtube, sounds awesome


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

                          Actually most break them down into 4 categories. Boost, Fuzz, Overdrive, and Distortion.
                          Yup. There's also fuzz. I always think of fuzz boxes as effect pedals, not a drive pedal, but you're absolutely right, it is.

                          Keep me honest!

                          ( •)—:::
                          Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele


                          • #14
                            PS -

                            Also well-made and popular:

                            And here's a distributor that carries several brands of high-quality stompboxes:
                            ( •)—:::
                            Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele


                            • #15
                              Here's a video where Eric Johnson goes over his amp & effects setup:


                              By the way, I really like my Electro-Harmonix Soul Food overdrive. It does a great, smooth overdrive sound, and it's a versatile pedal: it can act as a clean boost, as a light overdrive, or as a distortion pedal. I have to give credit to Mike Finnegan (inventor of the Klon) for this amazing circuit, the dual-gang drive pot was a stroke of genius - you can change the drive level without affecting the output volume. Unlike every other drive pedal ever made, the drive and volume controls don't interact.
                              Last edited by Mr.Grumpy; 07-01-2014, 09:24 AM.
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