overdrive is not as heavey as distortion usualy. but there is exceptions

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overdrive is generally less distortion, more of a crunch sound. distortion is the full on sound with a lot more distortion than OD. where can you not hear the difference?
Overdrive is like a warm clean crunch, but distortion is a... well, distorted signal. It's hard to tell to begin with, but you just know.
Depends what kind of solo'ing you are doing
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Its all to do with the frequencies they give out. But generally OD is a crunchier sound and Distortion is your metal sound.
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so it's best to use distortion for solos?

It depends what kind of solo you are playing. If something heavy and strong use distortion if its bluesy and maybe sounds like a classic rock tone more so, use overdrive.
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For starters, distortion is not CRUSHING

But seriously, Overdrive is like a bit of distortion and more of a punchy sound.
For starters, overdrive was originally obtained through cranking a tube amp, so that the signal overdrives. Distortion is more of a preamp thing.

Overdrive is more to boost the signal, or to overdrive it, creating a slightly, (Or not so slightly) crunchy sound. Distortion is designed to break the signal to the point that it has a heavy, growl to it. Generally speaking, OD is creamier and less heavy, while distortion is rawer and more high gain, and distortion seems to have a more trebly sound to it.
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Overdrive is soft clipping (think tubes) and Distortion is hard clipping(think SS Diode clipping)

Thats in guitar terms

In Electronic engineering terms, distortion is any unwanted change to the signal and overdrive is a type of distortion
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overdrive is the sound from a speaker pushing out to much. think cranked tube amp. distortion is actualy messing with the signal of your sound (i think).
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overdrive is soft clipping, and distortion is hard clipping - so when you overload the signal, overdrive smoothly rounds off the peaks of the sound wave whereas distortion squares them off.

it's difficult to explain really. but they are different even though they sound similar.
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Quote by gstacey1
overdrive is the sound from a speaker pushing out to much. think cranked tube amp. distortion is actualy messing with the signal of your sound (i think).
This is the only post in the whole thread that got it right.

Overdrive is what happens when a tube amp is cranked. It's a natural occurance and is not really an 'effect'. It can be as hard or as subtle as you like, it's only limitation is the sheer total volume the amp can produce.

Distortion is an 'effect'. It is supplied by solid state gain or by items such as pedals and some software in the pre-amp stage. It is artifical. Distortion works by artificially modifying the signal. A stronger signal gets enhanced more than a weak signal, so background noise doesn't become amplified with the actual notes unless you're really pushing it. It can be as hard or as subtle as you like, it can usually be pushed so 'hard' that the sound converts to what is known as the 'wall of noise' effect where all note definition is lost. Though it can be potentially pushed harder than overdrive, distortion doesn't react naturally to playing as overdrive does.

There's also fuzz. That's much the same as distortion, but it pumps up all of the signal equally, rather than selective parts.
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