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-   -   overdrive pedal, distortion pedal, whats the difference? (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1594950)

Dead Sea 03-28-2013 08:22 AM

overdrive pedal, distortion pedal, whats the difference?
 
Can someone tell me if I am even remotely close with my understanding of these two things? Over drive will boost your guitar signal, pushing your tube amp harder, creating more natural gain from the amp, and a distortion pedal will give you lots of....distortion?

So would that mean having high output pickups is equivalent to using a overdrive pedal?

eh?

GABarrie 03-28-2013 08:35 AM

Nope,

It's all a little loose in the descriptions but the basics are as such, please note this is all VERY basic and generalised. Overdrive and distortion are basically the same thing - clipping, overdrive is normally used to describe soft clipping, distortion hard clipping. Distortion is much harsher and noticeable while overdrive is more subtle and smooth.

Overdrive pedals are actually designed to implement clipping, but many people keep the gain down low (minimal clipping) and the level all the way up for a strong signal boost into the amp. Distortion pedals are more often used for their intended purpose to introduce clipping into the signal. Overdrive pedals are perfectly capable of providing an effect on the signal and being turned down to not provide the signal boost.

Dead Sea 03-28-2013 08:51 AM

:shrug:

kurdtkobaign 03-28-2013 09:00 AM

Still wondering? Look up "John Mayers 'Im going to find another you' live" on youtube. a perfect example of a soft overdrive while using his volume control. A distortion pedal is going to be harsh and crisp. A great example of a distortion pedal would be say, "Smells like teen spirit" from nirvana. An OD pedal can be used alone, or as a boost to an amp. Generally, a straight distortion pedal is for just that- stand alone distortion. It all comes down to the amp you're running through.

Bigbazz 03-28-2013 09:02 AM

Most people use overdrive pedals to push the front of their amp so that the amp creates its own overdrive, where as most distortion pedals are used to where they create a distorted sound and pump it into a clean amp.

Generally the Overdrive pedal though it colours the sound you're still hearing the sound of the amp you're using, with a Distortion pedal you're typically just hearing the sound of the pedal.

Though often enough many Overdrive pedals do create their own sounds if you want them to, think of them as smoother and lower gain distortions. Hard to compare them to pickups, a high output pickup isnt "that" high output, but I guess if you compare a really low output pickup and a really high output one there is a good comparison to be made.

Dead Sea 03-28-2013 09:06 AM

OK, lets say I have a tube amp (orange rockerverb) and im looking for a tight metal tone with some low output pickups. Would a overdrive pedal be of any benefit?

I K0nijn I 03-28-2013 09:54 AM

While a Rockerverb should be able to do metal on it's own, an overdrive pedal will benefit you greatly. I'd suggest a TubeScreamer-type overdrive. TS-9 or OD-808, I prefer the 808. But you'd use it with (over)drive at 0, balance/volume at max and tone where you find it suits best.

It'll tighten up the low end and push the amp a bit.

kurdtkobaign 03-28-2013 10:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Sea
OK, lets say I have a tube amp (orange rockerverb) and im looking for a tight metal tone with some low output pickups. Would a overdrive pedal be of any benefit?

Dead sea,
As an owner of an Orange Rockerverb 50 combo (avatar 2x12 extension cab), the orange itself has MORE than enough gain/saturation to cover any needs (in my opinion). Im using "low output" pickups in my guitar as well, it can do it all, but only in its particular voice. I use an 808 OD for leads, but ONLY for leads. But this is just me. If youre looking for a tight metal tone I would suggest an amp that does this solo without the need of any pedals to boost/enhance the tone. Chose an amp that suits your primary needs WITHOUT the need of pedals. I spent $2700 on my custom Orange because it fits me personally. Amp tone comes first and foremost. Pedals come last.
I hope this makes sense. Im really tipsy so I hope it does.

Dead Sea 03-28-2013 10:22 AM

hmm, cool!

Wolfie60 03-28-2013 11:52 AM

i agree the amp sound / tone comes first and adding pedals effects etc as least important

you make a nice amp sound nicer with pedals, but a crappy sounding amp will always sound crappy even if you stick a heap of pedals in front etc

bowen 03-28-2013 02:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kurdtkobaign
Dead sea,
As an owner of an Orange Rockerverb 50 combo (avatar 2x12 extension cab), the orange itself has MORE than enough gain/saturation to cover any needs (in my opinion). Im using "low output" pickups in my guitar as well, it can do it all, but only in its particular voice. I use an 808 OD for leads, but ONLY for leads. But this is just me. If youre looking for a tight metal tone I would suggest an amp that does this solo without the need of any pedals to boost/enhance the tone. Chose an amp that suits your primary needs WITHOUT the need of pedals. I spent $2700 on my custom Orange because it fits me personally. Amp tone comes first and foremost. Pedals come last.
I hope this makes sense. Im really tipsy so I hope it does.


As helpful as the direction of this post is, asides from the seriously limited number of amps which can produce a "tight metal tone" without the use of pedals, there has always been a misconception on these boards to do with the understanding of a "tight metal tone" and high gain amps. The majority of popular high gain heads do have way more gain on tap than necessary, however, there gets a point when the gain is pretty meaningless. Cranking the gain past 6 on most high gain amps just reaches this area of noise and muddiness, and very few amps naturally produce a tight sound without any kind of boost.

I have experience with Orange Rockerverbs and although they do have quite a lot of gain, the reality is that it is not a tight sounding amp just on its own. You can dial the bass down, crank the mids, but the fact is that without a boost any Orange amp is not going to get you a tight metal tone, regardless of the pickups you have in your guitar.

In modern metal music boost pedals are incredibly important as far as cutting through the mix and tightening up an amp. An example of amps which truly do not need a boost would be higher end Engl amps or Mark series Mesa amps. They have a naturally compressed voicing and this does replicate a secondary (and often overlooked) function of overdrive pedals - compression. This is where overdrive pedals really differ from distortion pedals in front of high gain amps.

Overdrive pedals when used as to boost a high gain amp not only boost the signal, but they have a tendency to boost the mids, cut out some of the unnecessary low end (especially if you are playing down-tuned guitars) and compress the signal. This is why you sound so much better soloing with a boost pedal on. It isn't that there is more gain, but that there is compression helping your very light fretting hand ring out the notes in your solos while you play very fast. The same goes for rhythm playing with an overdrive to boost - your sound is tightened up because you have taken away what is unnecessary (low end) and accentuated what is crucial for your tone to sound tight (mids and compression, and a lower gain setting on your amp!).

Distortion pedals are more popularly used on the clean channels of amps, especially on high gain amps. Running a distortion pedal into a lead channel of a high gain amp isn't likely to get you any kind of "tight" tone. You will likely create more noise and the severe clipping will muddy up your already high gain sound. However, some higher quality distortion pedals when used in front of a clean channel can get a very simple and usable tone, different from that which the amp produces naturally. Some players can really benefit from this variety.

And the output of your pickups is not going to replace the use of a boost pedal. You probably won't notice much of a difference between output of pickups until you are playing into a properly dial'd in quality amp. This is why most people advise for beginners to buy a new amp before upgrading the pickups in their guitar, because most of the time the real problem is the amp/or the pedals used in front of the amp.

tubetime86 03-28-2013 02:07 PM

They're both just marketing terms. Neither one actually means anything. The real term for what they both do is 'clipping.'

Toppscore 03-28-2013 02:23 PM

Overdrive pushes/boosts the signal/power to the amp ~ before the amp.
"Amp generated" distortion (NOT "pedal distortion") is a clipped signal
generated by internal amplifier electronics.

Is this description too far off base, or accurate? Thanks :)

SimplyBen 03-28-2013 02:27 PM

^ Massively wrong.

Toppscore 03-28-2013 02:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimplyBen
^ Massively wrong.


I changed it from "pedal distortion" to
distortion generated by the amp itself without a pedal.

Please massively correct. Thanks.

SimplyBen 03-28-2013 02:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toppscore
Please massively correct. Thanks.


See posts by bowen and tubetime.

tas38 03-28-2013 04:46 PM

It's kinda like asking what's the difference between whole milk and skim milk. A distortion pedal just has more clipping. I'm not sure where the invisible line is between OD and distortion, but it's really just the amount of clipping. Now, a lot of people talk about using an overdrive with the level at 10, gain at 0. At this point it's not really acting like an overdrive, but a boost. It isn't clipping the signal, just making louder. In a tube screamer's case it's also boosting the mids and cutting bass.

coldandhomeless 03-28-2013 07:43 PM

i agree with alot of u guys about the tubescreamer. but i found a secret weapon for getting metal tones out of a less than metal voiced amp. a boss enhancer in the loop will take your orange head and dimebag the fukkinshitoutofit!

SimplyBen 03-28-2013 08:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by coldandhomeless
i agree with alot of u guys about the tubescreamer. but i found a secret weapon for getting metal tones out of a less than metal voiced amp. a boss enhancer in the loop will take your orange head and dimebag the fukkinshitoutofit!


Or you could put a tubescreamer out front and not ruin the sound of your lovely Orange by "dimebagging" it.

Dave_Mc 03-29-2013 07:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tas38
It's kinda like asking what's the difference between whole milk and skim milk.


that's a good way to put it :cheers:

it is semantics to a certain extent, but at the same time if you know you hate skimmed milk, getting a whole bunch of recommendations for skimmed milk when you want whole is pretty silly. Ditto with pedals. if someone wants a low gain overdrive and someone recommends they buy a metal zone because "it's all just clipping", then that's a bit silly IMO.


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