#2
Gain and distortion are basically the same thing, gain "distorts" your signal. Overdrive is a natural breakup in a tube amp, older marshalls or other vintage amps would break up, smooth out, and naturally "drive" the tone into a crunchier sound when the volume was pushed, though this can be VERY loud
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#3
Quote by CodySG
Gain and distortion are basically the same thing, gain "distorts" your signal. Overdrive is a natural breakup in a tube amp, older marshalls or other vintage amps would break up, smooth out, and naturally "drive" the tone into a crunchier sound when the volume was pushed, though this can be VERY loud



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#4
Gain is the distortion (can be overdrive in tube amps) that comes out of the amp when you turn it up. Distortion and Overdrive are the same thing essentially, however, they work by different principles. Distortion is produced by transistors that shut off when they reach their maximum voltage load hence the signal wave is sharp and piercing. Overdrive is usually produced by tubes (ancient 1930's technology, basically did the job that transistors now do because transistors are more efficient, except in musical environments) and as the signal distorts, the tunes shut off, but as they are inefficient, they let more voltage through if there is enough power, therefore "driving" the tube past its limit. THe smooth path in the signaldue to this inefficiency is like a hill-shape in wavelength, therefore making it sound more musical to the human ear. Overdrive can be produced by transistors, but not as efficiently, hence the invention of overdrive pedals. I know, its quite technical, i hope you know what im talking about or at least, get the gist.
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#5
As far as i know gain is the amplification of signal. ie you have a very low voltage coming out of your guitar, you can increase the gain of it by boosting the voltage. Overdrive and gain are related in that increasing signal gain of a guitar can overdrive preamp tubes.

Gain has other applications to, ie antenna gain. If you have an antenna it is essentially picking up very very weak signals, and these are boosted by a radio by increasing the voltage, therefore increasing the gain, to a point where the signal is strong enough to be amplified.
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#7
No problem , does this all make it clear now?
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#8
Ok so gain is what I'm hearing when I turn up the gain knob on my amp, ( there's two of em on my amp). And overdrive has to do with tube amps? The reason why I asked originally is because I was browsing through some effects pedals and seen some distortion pedals and overdrive pedals. My amp, it's a Park G-10 by the way (ever heard of that?), has two gain knobs. I always thought it was all the same but I guess I was wrong haha. Thanks for all of you guy's responses on my question.
Last edited by Jake100884 at Sep 25, 2006,
#9
I was wondering the same thing & ran across this thread(thanks for asking the question Jake).
I'm goin' for a distorted Country Rock sound(example: listen to Jason Aldean's `My Kinda Party`) & (like Jake mentioned above) saw the numerous distortion & overdrive pedals, I figured I'd hafta buy a pedal to accomplish the distortion I want. I don't have the $$ to buy a bunch of different pedals to try & find the right sound.

My amp is a Fender Mustang I & it has a Gain knob & I can download distortion presets but good to finally know that Gain is pretty much the same thing as Distortion.
I also have a VOX Pathfinder 10 that has an Overdrive channel & a Gain knob.
Now I know what they're for & am not just turnin' knobs .

A buddy of mine listened to the Aldean sound I want & just said I could accomplish that distorted sound by cranking the Gain up.

20
Last edited by 20_Gauge at Jun 24, 2013,
#10
This thread is from 2006... Why don't you start your own new one to make the responses more clear?
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#11
Gain cause tubes to be overdriven which creates distortion. Now let's give this thread a proper burial, huh?
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#12
All three terms have separate technical meanings (Cath's post shows that nicely) but to the average guitarist they are roughly the same.
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Unless its electronic drums.

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#13
Which is friggin annoying as hell. Gain can simply mean greater volume. When talking about technical details using gain to mean distortion is just confusing.
Gain literally means the amplification factor (Vout/Vin), not distortion. It can cause distortion but it doesn't always. The volume knob on your hifi is a gain control. If you mean distortion, say distortion ffs.
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Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
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Marshall 18W clone
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Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


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Last edited by Cathbard at Jun 24, 2013,
#14
Quote by Cathbard
Gain literally means the amplification factor (Vout/Vin), not distortion. It can cause distortion but it doesn't always.

Came in here to basically say this.
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#16
Quote by tubetime86
but to the average guitarist they are roughly the same.


"Average guitarist", that's me.

20
#17
uh i'm still don't get it,so gain knob lead to distortion and overdrive has knob itself,right?
#18
Quote by fxr.septian
uh i'm still don't get it,so gain knob lead to distortion and overdrive has knob itself,right?

gain knob leads to distortion. distortion happens because of the tubes being overdriven.
#19
Cath made it fairly clear...

Gain: Volume difference

Overdrive: If the volume is too high then tubes (and transistors, opamps, everything actually down to caps and resistors if you drive them hard enough) will be over driven (driven by too much volume).

Distortion: being over driven means that the signal gets distorted... clipped at the top and bottom of it's wave form like this, hard clipping is more how solid state items get overdriven, soft is closer to the model of tube clipping, in general.


So gain leads to overdrive which leads to distortion.
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