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#1
My amp alone doesn't have enough juice to make the crunchy, gritty sound that i want so I need a distortion pedal to help it out. I want something that is extremely aggressive, so no soft pedals. Even though I want to mainly play hard rock, I want something that can handle metal. I don't know much about pedals so that is why im asking here. In your opinion what is the best distortion pedal?
#2
Quote by J23L
My amp alone doesn't have enough juice to make the crunchy, gritty sound that i want so I need a distortion pedal to help it out. I want something that is extremely aggressive, so no soft pedals. Even though I want to mainly play hard rock, I want something that can handle metal. I don't know much about pedals so that is why im asking here. In your opinion what is the best distortion pedal?


what amp are you using? can't really give you a decent answer without knowing. also need to know how much you want to spend.
#3
Quote by monwobobbo
what amp are you using? can't really give you a decent answer without knowing. also need to know how much you want to spend.

My amp is a Jet City 20 and I don't have a limit on how much I'm willing to spend.
#4
If you want a dirt box to do metal on its own, look into Amptweaker TightMetal. Could also be used with an amp's drive.

I would think your JCA would be able to handle some metal-ish tones. If you put an overdrive in front of the amp that might be the tipping point for you.
#5
With that amp all you should need is a decent boost. Say a Green Rhino or an MXR 10-band EQ, etc.
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#7
Boss HM-2. Entombed's Left Hand Path has the best metal guitar tone ever.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#8
As suggested before, all you might have to do is get a boost/overdrive (maybe a digitech bad monkey, great cheap option) to push your gain into metal territory. This MIGHT not get what you're looking for though, it depends. However, as a metal distortion pedal by itself (IE, you can get metal from the clean sound of your amp rather than the boosting the already distorted sound)

This: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/distortion-overdrive-effects-pedals/emma-electronic-pisdiyauwot-metal-distortion-guitar-effects-pedal

The pisdiyauwot, bit hard to get your hands on but I've always thought is a nice pedal. Bit pricey. You can also go for something less pricey like an mxr fullbore metal. People complain about it but those people haven't tried turning the treble on it way down, that's when the magic happens. It is quite full on and harsh I'll admit but I've made it sound good through a cheap peavey modelling amp. You should do fine.
#11
I like the Joyo Vintage Overdrive for a pedal on the cheap - $30.

My favorite answer to this type of question is the channel selector switch on the amp :-) Just get an amp that will cover what you want. Plenty of inexpensive used options all the way to expensive new options.
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Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
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Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#12
Quote by J23L
My amp is a Jet City 20 and I don't have a limit on how much I'm willing to spend.


if you don't have a limit, get a new amp.
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#13
Mesa Dual Rec... Done!
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#14
Quote by Cathbard
With that amp all you should need is a decent boost. Say a Green Rhino or an MXR 10-band EQ, etc.

My amp is decent, but it still isn't harsh sounding enough. For example, when i palm mute it doesn't chug and crunch the way i want it to. I think i need to add more distortion rather than a simple boost.
#15
The most common way (as others in this thread have pointed out) is using an overdrive pedal as a boost (like: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/distortion-overdrive-effects-pedals/maxon-od808-guitar-overdrive-pedal), by setting the drive knob low (5-10% perhaps), and the balance/volume/output knob high, so the tubes of your amp get pushed harder, giving you more amp distortion and usually a tighter sound. As a bonus you have a tone knob you can use to tweak your tone brighter or darker.
#16
You might want to wander over to the Wampler Pedals website; there are a lot of vids and sound files to listen to.
#18
Quote by TenTonHammer
The most common way (as others in this thread have pointed out) is using an overdrive pedal as a boost (like: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/distortion-overdrive-effects-pedals/maxon-od808-guitar-overdrive-pedal), by setting the drive knob low (5-10% perhaps), and the balance/volume/output knob high, so the tubes of your amp get pushed harder, giving you more amp distortion and usually a tighter sound. As a bonus you have a tone knob you can use to tweak your tone brighter or darker.

Thanks for the advice. I will try that.
#19
Quote by TheQuailman
Get an overdrive pedal, set the volume on it on max, boost your amp. Job done.

Should i set both the drive knobs on the amp and on the pedal to 10? I want an aggressive sound but is that too much? Sorry for the noob question, but im inexperienced with this stuff and Im trying to work this stuff out.
Last edited by J23L at Dec 1, 2015,
#20
Xotic Brute Drive and Suhr Riot are the best contenders I'm seeing.

That being said, if you primarily play heavy music you should get an amp that suits that style, like a Mesa Boogie Express etc.
#21
Quote by J23L
Should i set both the drive knobs on the amp and on the pedal to 10? I want an aggressive sound but is that too much? Sorry for the noob question, but im inexperienced with this stuff and Im trying to work this stuff out.

For starters, set the drive on the pedal to zero, and it's volume to ten. All you want from the pedal is to boost your signal to drive the amp harder.
Set the amp's drive wherever you want and experiment a bit with the gain and EQ settings.
You can also try turning up the drive on the pedal a bit; this can result in mush though if you over do it.
#22
Completely dependent on what sound you're looking for. Keep in mind that you might actually be looking for something softer like an overdrive or something heavier like a fuzz. The best idea is usually to go to a local guitar shop, take your guitar and even your amp if you can, and play though as many as you possibly can. You can eliminate a lot of pedals very quickly that way. A good rule as well is to never buy anything without hearing it first. No amount of YouTube videos can tell you how a pedal will sound with your hardware, your playing style and your music.
#23
^ That's obviously the ideal, but it sort of depends on having a good guitar shop close by which stocks everything you want to try Depending on where you live, you could be needlessly discounting a lot of good stuff by refusing to buy anything you can't try first.
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#24
OP also has a fairly high-gain amp already. Putting an OD in front of it is just a proven and cheap way to get more distortion. So it's about as low-risk as it can be without trying the pedals.
#25
Quote by J23L
Should i set both the drive knobs on the amp and on the pedal to 10? I want an aggressive sound but is that too much? Sorry for the noob question, but im inexperienced with this stuff and Im trying to work this stuff out.


no don't do that. you shouldn't need to go nuts with the amps gain. start with the gain around 5 and set the overdrive as mentioned. if that's not enough then something is wrong with the way your playing in most cases.

how exactly do you hae your amp currently set? are you cutting your mids a lot? also what guitar are you using?
#26
Quote by chriswelburn
Completely dependent on what sound you're looking for. Keep in mind that you might actually be looking for something softer like an overdrive or something heavier like a fuzz. The best idea is usually to go to a local guitar shop, take your guitar and even your amp if you can, and play though as many as you possibly can. You can eliminate a lot of pedals very quickly that way. A good rule as well is to never buy anything without hearing it first. No amount of YouTube videos can tell you how a pedal will sound with your hardware, your playing style and your music.

I plan on doing this. I might have to go to a few guitar stores in my area and haul my guitar and amp along too. It seems like the quest for getting the perfect tone will be very long for me. It should be fun to try out all the different pedals tho
#27
Quote by monwobobbo
no don't do that. you shouldn't need to go nuts with the amps gain. start with the gain around 5 and set the overdrive as mentioned. if that's not enough then something is wrong with the way your playing in most cases.

how exactly do you hae your amp currently set? are you cutting your mids a lot? also what guitar are you using?

mids- 5
treble-10
bass-10
Presence -10
Gain- 4.5 (I have the gain on the overdrive pedal set to 10)
Guitar: Les Paul Standard
#28
Quote by J23L
mids- 5
treble-10
bass-10
Presence -10
Guitar: Les Paul Standard


I think we've found part of your problem...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#29
Quote by Arby911
I think we've found part of your problem...

And that would be...
#31
Quote by J23L
And that would be...


I don't have a JCA 20 to test, but I've yet to find an amp that sounds very good with the bass and treble maxed and the mids reduced.

A little forum surfing tends to agree, your settings probably aren't optimal.

http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/forum/guitar/acapella-28/1405127-

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/jca20h-owners-thread.926095/
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#33
Quote by Tony Done
This is a bit OT, but can someone explain to me how a clean boost in front of an overdriven amp helps. Assuming you don't want to be deafened, is this about driving the preamp harder and lowering the power amp output to compensate?

Yes.
Many OD pedals also cut lower frequencies, giving you a tighter bass response, which is something you desperately need with heavy distortion.
#35
^

Quote by J23L
mids- 5
treble-10
bass-10
Presence -10
Gain- 4.5 (I have the gain on the overdrive pedal set to 10)
Guitar: Les Paul Standard

Turn down the drive/gain on the pedal to zero, turn up the volume on the pedal to max.
Set the EQ (including presence) on the amp completely flat (all knobs on 5/10). Adjust amp gain and volume to taste.

Starting from that, start tweaking the controls to get a feel for what they do. Small increments! You can also add some drive from the pedal, but with this kind of amp, for the tone you are going for, I never found it necessary/useful.
Don't expect it to sound like the recorded sounds off an album; those are double tracked if not more and have a bass-line added to them. They are also heavily edited.

What you want for starters is a tone that:
- isn't mushy/droning/wooly (don't max the bass)
- isn't fizzy/harsh (don't max treble and presence)
- makes notes clearly audible (mids and presence have incredible power over this, you likely need quite a bit of both)

After you've got that down you can tweak some more for flavour.
Having bass and treble dimed and mids reduced works well with very few setups, but it's a common mistake among newbies because lol brvtal.

Anyway, that's my method. Your mileage may vary.
#37
Quote by TheQuailman
^


Turn down the drive/gain on the pedal to zero, turn up the volume on the pedal to max.
Set the EQ (including presence) on the amp completely flat (all knobs on 5/10). Adjust amp gain and volume to taste.

Starting from that, start tweaking the controls to get a feel for what they do. Small increments! You can also add some drive from the pedal, but with this kind of amp, for the tone you are going for, I never found it necessary/useful.
Don't expect it to sound like the recorded sounds off an album; those are double tracked if not more and have a bass-line added to them. They are also heavily edited.

What you want for starters is a tone that:
- isn't mushy/droning/wooly (don't max the bass)
- isn't fizzy/harsh (don't max treble and presence)
- makes notes clearly audible (mids and presence have incredible power over this, you likely need quite a bit of both)

After you've got that down you can tweak some more for flavour.
Having bass and treble dimed and mids reduced works well with very few setups, but it's a common mistake among newbies because lol brvtal.

Anyway, that's my method. Your mileage may vary.

Thanks for the advice. I will try this out
#38
Quote by J23L
Thanks for the advice. I will try this out

Take your time, your ears need to get used to your setup and it takes time to figure out what you actually want or need in your tone. Guitar amp EQs are also highly interactive (most of the time, anyway), leading to weird results when you turn a knob. Don't get too discouraged if it takes you a couple of days.
#39
Quote by TheQuailman
Take your time, your ears need to get used to your setup and it takes time to figure out what you actually want or need in your tone. Guitar amp EQs are also highly interactive (most of the time, anyway), leading to weird results when you turn a knob. Don't get too discouraged if it takes you a couple of days.


sound advice here. shaping your tone often takes a while. i tweak mine pretty regularly and often when you switch guitars you need to make some adjustments on the amp. don't fall into the "i need more gain" pit as you will find that less often works better. this is very true when recording. start with your tone controls all at 5 and tweak from there. as metnioned maxing your bass and treble just leads to crap sound in most cases. the guitar is a mid heavy instrument so you live or die soundwise there. the scooped mids thing can sound cool when you're playing alon but in a band your guitar will just vanish in the mix and you won't be heard. yeah i know Metallica used the scooped mids thing but they have a sound engineer and far better gear to make it work.
#40
If you want the one pedal to rule them all the Mesa Throttle Box with the graphic EQ is far and away one of the best pedals on the market. There is nothing this thing can't do from slight overdrive to extreme high gain metal tones. And it doesn't sound thin or like a stomp box for the matter. It sounds like natural amp distortion. Try one out. I know because I use and sell them and I am surrounded by every overdrive and distortion pedal known to man as I am writing this down.
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