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Fuzz vs Overdrive vs Distortion, school me!

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  • Fuzz vs Overdrive vs Distortion, school me!

    I have heard all these terms used almost interchangeably, and I'd like someone to clear up my confusion and clarify to me what each one is, and what genre each is most suited for, and the differences in sound between them. Thanks!
    Originally Posted by Annoying Twit


    I've heard that if you suspend a pendulum over a Gibson guitar, if it's fake it will move in a circle clockwise, but anti-clockwise if it's genuine.









    Originally Posted by Mike Fiasco


    I don't have a strat but I'll show up in any thread that says bollocks.

  • #2
    All three are essentially "distortions" because they distort the true audio signal. Differences lie in the way they alter the signal and by which means. Transistors, diodes, IC's...there are many ways to get a decent distortion sound. "Fuzz" is just a particular 'flavor' of distoriton and is called fuzz because of the unique sound of the distortion you get with a fuzz circuit.

    Heres a few samples from a terrific youtube reviewer and pro musician. These should give a decent idea of some of the sounds associated with each category.

    FUZZ:


    DISTORTION:


    OVERDRIVE:
    Good deals with:

    LossForGain

    Comment


    • #3
      I'll leave the technical details out of it...because I'd probably get them wrong.

      Overdrive pedals are designed to emulate the sound of a tube amp that is turned up to a very high volume. This produces a clipping/compression effect on the tone, as well as amplifying some overtones that would normally be too quiet to hear. You typically get a warm, compressed tone with a lot more sustain than usual, but the natural tone of the guitar is still there. Classic rock and blues players (like myself) love overdrive pedals. The tubescreamer is sort of the industry standard for overdrives, but there are a billion pedals out there with different tones to pick from. I'm a fan of Barber, myself.

      A distortion pedal amplifies those little overtones much more aggressively, which changes the tone to a much greater extent than an OD pedal will. This makes the "fuzziness" of the tone more pronounced. It makes for a more aggressive sound, and is usually used for heavier rock and metal.

      A fuzz pedal (to my knowledge) is really just a distortion pedal, but the purpose is to give that super-noisy signal. With so many overtones being amped up by the pedal, you get a very fuzzy, buzzy tone. Psychedelic acts in the 60's loved these things, and they got another big boost in the early 90's when grunge bands started using them.


      That's the way I see 'em. I'm sure somebody else can give more details and possibly correct my mistakes. I favor overdrives.
      My gear: Reverend Avenger TL
      Reverend Slingshot
      Taylor 514CE
      Gibson Les Paul Standard
      Fender MIM Stratocaster
      Fender Champion 600
      Fender Blues JR
      Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue

      Some of my playing:
      http://www.thebloolights.com

      Comment


      • #4

        Overdrive pedals are designed to emulate the sound of a tube amp that is turned up to a very high volume. This produces a clipping/compression effect on the tone, as well as amplifying some overtones that would normally be too quiet to hear. You typically get a warm, compressed tone with a lot more sustain than usual, but the natural tone of the guitar is still there. Classic rock and blues players (like myself) love overdrive pedals. The tubescreamer is sort of the industry standard for overdrives, but there are a billion pedals out there with different tones to pick from. I'm a fan of Barber, myself.


        i always thought overdrive pedals were designed to add volume, pump the mids, and add a slight bit of gain to cut through on leads.
        The Common Sense Mets Fan

        There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov, Newsweek (21 January 1980)

        Comment


        • #5
          That guy rock my socks right off my feet!



          Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius:

          "When it comes to gear vs talent I'll be the first to admit that I sit in the Mayor's seat in Poserville."

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, hes not only a great player, but a funny dude as well. Recognize his voice?
            Good deals with:

            LossForGain

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, hes not only a great player, but a funny dude as well. Recognize his voice?


              is that jack black?
              Mesa/Boogie Mob

              My Gear
              Fender American Deluxe V Neck (w/ sustainiac stealth plus)
              Warmoth Tele (Bridge: Dimarzio Breed, Neck: GFS Hot Nashville)
              ESP-LTD MH-301
              Mesa/Boogie Lonestar Special 112
              Boss GT-8
              Vox V848 Clyde McCoy Wah
              EHX Micro POG
              Afri-Can Guitar
              Xotic Effects BB Preamp MB
              Xaviere XV-700 Redflake Fretless
              Crate V18-112
              Outlaw Supply Ole Fuzzy

              Good deals with:
              Mfergel
              NOS68
              jdh4him (on the Boogie Boards)

              Comment


              • #8
                jack black or christian slater...

                Damon
                GUITARS:
                Fender MIM Standard Strat
                Hand Made SG Replica
                Epiphone DOT Studio
                Westbury Standard
                Cort X-5
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                Home Made LP copy "The Swamp Ass"
                AMPS:
                Crate VC3112
                Fender Mustang II

                Proud Rose Pickups and Rose Petal Effects user

                My Good Deals

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                • #9
                  Jack, yup
                  Good deals with:

                  LossForGain

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I much prefer overdrive...much warmer sounding and maintains definition. Distortion is just too noisy for me...

                    Bad Monkey = FTW
                    Proud Member of the Epiphone Empire!








                    Originally Posted by aenemated


                    if i wanted a daisy rock with goddamn care bears and rainbow brite on it, i'd ****************ing well have it and rock it out like a mother****************er.









                    Originally Posted by adlo76


                    maybe the customer service agent didn't speak douchebagenese




                    YOUR ≠ YOU'RE

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The line between overdrive and distortion is pretty ambiguous. Overdrive doesn't have as much actual "distortion" on tap. It is best used to push an amp towards the onset of power tube saturation while providing a bit of gain on its own. Literally, to overdrive the amp. I see distortion as something that is better used as a standalone on a clean channel. Generally lower gain units are labeled overdrive while higher gain are distortion.

                      Fuzz is a totally different animal to me in that while OD and distortion try to be "amplike", fuzz doesn't sound like an amp at all. It's a wild, over the top sound, super thick and buzzy. For some stuff it's great, but it's not my thing at all.
                      My Soundclick
                      My YouTube Channels

                      '01 Heritage H535
                      '05 USA G&L Legacy
                      Taylor Big Baby

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The line between overdrive and distortion is pretty ambiguous. Overdrive doesn't have as much actual "distortion" on tap. It is best used to push an amp towards the onset of power tube saturation while providing a bit of gain on its own. Literally, to overdrive the amp. I see distortion as something that is better used as a standalone on a clean channel. Generally lower gain units are labeled overdrive while higher gain are distortion.

                        Fuzz is a totally different animal to me in that while OD and distortion try to be "amplike", fuzz doesn't sound like an amp at all. It's a wild, over the top sound, super thick and buzzy. For some stuff it's great, but it's not my thing at all.


                        yeah, i'd say it like this

                        Overdrive: Cruising over the speed limit (doing 80 in a 60mph zone)
                        Distortion: High Speed Chase
                        Fuzz: Total Wipeout Head On Collision Cars-Flipping-Over Huge Explosion at the End.
                        Mesa/Boogie Mob

                        My Gear
                        Fender American Deluxe V Neck (w/ sustainiac stealth plus)
                        Warmoth Tele (Bridge: Dimarzio Breed, Neck: GFS Hot Nashville)
                        ESP-LTD MH-301
                        Mesa/Boogie Lonestar Special 112
                        Boss GT-8
                        Vox V848 Clyde McCoy Wah
                        EHX Micro POG
                        Afri-Can Guitar
                        Xotic Effects BB Preamp MB
                        Xaviere XV-700 Redflake Fretless
                        Crate V18-112
                        Outlaw Supply Ole Fuzzy

                        Good deals with:
                        Mfergel
                        NOS68
                        jdh4him (on the Boogie Boards)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1437183&highlight=overdrive+fuzz+ distortion
                          the city- it calls to me
                          decadent scenes from my memory

                          "Someone like David Gilmour can say more in three or four notes than Yngwie can say in 100, but at least they're both speaking." -Dave Mustaine







                          Originally Posted by Tweedledee


                          Because it was off topic. This is the Electric Guitar forum, not the nutmeg forum.









                          Originally Posted by batotman


                          There's only so much you can say until it gets annoying (which I found out with dog humping and puking pics).









                          Originally Posted by adlo76


                          Nikki Cox flavored **************** sauce.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would say OD pedals tend to be much more mild than most distortion pedals while fuzz pedals are overdriven as well as more noisy in general and "fuzzy" sounding.
                            Crappy guitars and a tube amp.

                            Member of the SG Army

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I thought his voice sounded like Jack Black - I'm a big fan - and I even thought to myself that his little comic snippits sounded Jack Blacky... but I never made the connection.

                              That's awesome.

                              metallica_00. I think we're on the same page with most tonalities and I've NEVER considered myself much of a fuzz guy, but that video clip with the fuzz makes me rethink that. I was very impressed with the tone he was getting.
                              Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius:

                              "When it comes to gear vs talent I'll be the first to admit that I sit in the Mayor's seat in Poserville."

                              Comment



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