#1
hello, im not familiar with how an OD or Distortion pedal works in relation to tube amps, i believe that an OD boosts the signal or something and makes the amps distortion greater but say if someone was on stage and they had their amps distortion on plus the OD pedal on and wanted to go to clean right away, would you have to click your amp distortion off and then click the OD off too to get back to clean, so in other words does the OD being on make the clean distorted?

im also curious as to how distortion pedals work (singles) do they replace the amps distortion completely so that you are on the amp clean and turn the distortion pedal on and then you're good to go and you're not using the distortion of the amp?

sorry for the noob questions but i just want a better understanding of how this stuff works.
#2
you sound like you've got it bout spot on. good thinkin' bro

in generalization, yes that's how it works. technical people here on UG will barrage you w/ big words but it'll all come down to that pretty much.

you COULD put a dist. pedal on while ur amp's dist. channel is on, but it'd sound TERRIBLE. so yea, usually you just stay on the clean channel and then put the dist. pedal on that.
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#3
Distortion pedal distorts the signal...
if you use it on a dirty channel it'll just mix in with your amps distortion..
use it on a clean channel and when you turn it off you'll go straight to clean.

as for overdrive, it basically is like when you turn your amp up to 11.. in a way.
the louder the more overdrive, with an overdrive pedal you don't have to kill your ears for more overdrive.. it basically gives a good boost on the dirty channel and doesn't sound bad on clean.. yes you have to turn your amps distortion and the pedal off to play clean.
#4
I'll answer you in the wrong order
Quote by AkiraSpectrum
sorry for the noob questions but i just want a better understanding of how this stuff works.

Don't worry, asking questions is good. You could have searched for it or checked the stickies tho.
Quote by AkiraSpectrum
im also curious as to how distortion pedals work (singles) do they replace the amps distortion completely so that you are on the amp clean and turn the distortion pedal on and then you're good to go and you're not using the distortion of the amp?

Yes, that's how they work basically. You can use some as boosts (I'll get to that) too tho, but they might now work so well like that.
Quote by AkiraSpectrum
hello, im not familiar with how an OD or Distortion pedal works in relation to tube amps, i believe that an OD boosts the signal or something and makes the amps distortion greater but say if someone was on stage and they had their amps distortion on plus the OD pedal on and wanted to go to clean right away, would you have to click your amp distortion off and then click the OD off too to get back to clean, so in other words does the OD being on make the clean distorted?

Actually, OD pedals are ment to simulate the breakup of tube amps running at high volumes (compared to their headroom, that is). They're basically like distortion pedals, but just different sounding.

However, I believe they're often used as clean(ish) boosts. Meaning, you turn the gain on the pedal to 0, and the level to full or something along those lines. That way, the pedal just boosts the signal, causing it to drive the preamp (of a tube amp, preferably - might sound very bad on an SS amp) harder. If you use the pedal as a boost, depending on the amp (and the settings of the amp and the pedal), yes, with the pedal on your clean channel might be distorted. So basically you have to hit two buttons (amp channel switch and OD) at once.

Edit: To give you an example, running my OD as a boost and my amps clean channel with little gain, I actually get a more grittier clean, not quite distorted, just rougher.
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#5
think of your guitar signal as a wave. Where a smooth wave would produce a perfect tone (think "boooooooooooooooop") a wave with irregularities creates a different tone.

When you put too much signal into an amplifier, the amplfier will only process the signal at the level it can. so if an amplifier can handle signal with a voltage of 10mV, and you give it 12, it will only handle the 10 and youve "lost" those other 2mV. It does this by clipping the tops off the waveform. In transitors, this clipping is regular and typically harsh sounding. In tube amps, this is asymetrical and sounds a little different (warmer or whatever you want to call it).

A distortion pedal clips the signal a lot, an overdrive pedal tries to clip it only a little bit.
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#7
TechnicolorType: dunno, its the best information I can give. Maybe some day down the line he does get it and then hurrah. If not then Owell.
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#8
Quote by TechnicolorType
^ Do you really think he understood that?

i understood. im smart
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#9
Quote by vampwizzard
think of your guitar signal as a wave. Where a smooth wave would produce a perfect tone (think "boooooooooooooooop") a wave with irregularities creates a different tone.

When you put too much signal into an amplifier, the amplfier will only process the signal at the level it can. so if an amplifier can handle signal with a voltage of 10mV, and you give it 12, it will only handle the 10 and youve "lost" those other 2mV. It does this by clipping the tops off the waveform. In transitors, this clipping is regular and typically harsh sounding. In tube amps, this is asymetrical and sounds a little different (warmer or whatever you want to call it).

A distortion pedal clips the signal a lot, an overdrive pedal tries to clip it only a little bit.



<3 this guy.

Just to add, overdrive pedals tend to use the clipping diodes in the feedback loop as opposed to the output.

With tube amps, they clip by essentially adding even order harmonics, and SS clip by adding odd order harmonics. Even = Nice, Odd = Nasty.
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#10
Of course most people will but if the TS has no clue what overdrive and distortion pedals do then it's unlikely he gets it
#11
You can combine distortion pedals together. Like mixing paint, you can get good or bad results. Your ear is the judge. The same thing applies to mixing distortion pedals and amp distortion. Overdrive pedals provide distortion, usually milder than a distortion pedal, which is milder distortion than a fuzz.
#12
thanks everyone!

what would the average pro guitarist use? are they using OD's, Distortions, or just the amp distortions when they play live and such?

(i know there are going to be variations but if you had to give an average of what most modern rock bands do what would that be?)
#13
I would guess that they have an OD pedal driving the preamp of a valve amp usually, but like you said there will be variations.
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#14
sweet, one more question, isn't using a distortion pedal basically like using the distortion on a multi-fx pedal??
#15
^in a sense yea that is pretty accurate! why? well, what does a multi fx pedal do? it has tons of models of famous amps and their tone. and a distortion pedal does the same thing, it tries to recreate the sound of a reputable hi-gain tube amp being worked hard. only difference btw this and multi fx pedals is obviously the number of different sounds and tones (dist. pedals usually only model after one amp type, USUALLY) and tweaking range.
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#16
fake distortion isn't cool...most of the time. when you have to have a sound that can't be achieved w/ ur amp's distortion (with OR without an OD pedal) then it's perfectly acceptable IMO....IF it's a nice sounding quality distortion.

but other than that i say use the amp's gain all the way and then OD it if you need more.
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#17
Quote by slash_rocks2005
^in a sense yea that is pretty accurate! why? well, what does a multi fx pedal do? it has tons of models of famous amps and their tone. and a distortion pedal does the same thing, it tries to recreate the sound of a reputable hi-gain tube amp being worked hard. only difference btw this and multi fx pedals is obviously the number of different sounds and tones (dist. pedals usually only model after one amp type, USUALLY) and tweaking range.


when you say it has "their tone"
that is rather false since no multi-effects or modeling amps actually sound close to the real thing..

but yeah what slash said.. mutli-effects are basically pedals that have distortion, and several effects built in.. but are very digital and usually sound like complete crap lol
stick with an amp and single pedals..

also you asked about famous people.. well there are a few that use stompboxes but most are going to use distortion from their amp and alot of times drive it with an OD.

also OD aren't usually used just turned on and sitting there.. it's like you find the settings on the amp.. and alot of times the pedal is used as a boost for things like solos and such.
#18
just to clarify... most professional guitarists are going to have OD's but only use them for things such as solos?

i was curious because i was wondering how bands can switch from clean to dirty if they are using OD's... but since u say they usually only use them for solo's etc. that makes a lot of sense
#20
You can switch from clean to dirty with on OD.
If you have a tube amp, you can set the volume how you want and the gain up a little bit to give you that sort of 'gritty' clean. Still clean, just with a bit of balls.

I run an old Japanese Boss SD-1 that was given to me as a gift in front of my Fender Blues Junior. I usually have the Level on full and then adjust the Drive to how much I need. It's not usually much though.
Because tube amps are more sensitive to signal input levels that Solid State amps, just by having the level knob on my OD on 100% causes the signal running into my amp to become louder (not distorted yet, just louder). The increased input means increased output, which means you tubes are going to be doing more clipping. Turning the drive up a bit does give me more distortion, but it doesnt sound as sweet as the sound of my overdriven amp.

Steer clear of Multi FX. You ask what the average pro guitarist uses? They use singular stompboxes. Any pro guitarist with a record contract using a Multi FX for distortion should be shot.
#23
It's an overdrive pedal. It's known for having a boost in the middle frequencies. People talk about getting a tube screamer of some sort, and with that they mean the "original" line (Ibanez pedal), and the copies (cheap Bad Monkey, Maxon OD808 and whatever, there are a lot of copies).
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#24
Quote by vampwizzard
think of your guitar signal as a wave. Where a smooth wave would produce a perfect tone (think "boooooooooooooooop") a wave with irregularities creates a different tone.

When you put too much signal into an amplifier, the amplfier will only process the signal at the level it can. so if an amplifier can handle signal with a voltage of 10mV, and you give it 12, it will only handle the 10 and youve "lost" those other 2mV. It does this by clipping the tops off the waveform. In transitors, this clipping is regular and typically harsh sounding. In tube amps, this is asymetrical and sounds a little different (warmer or whatever you want to call it).

A distortion pedal clips the signal a lot, an overdrive pedal tries to clip it only a little bit.



Thats actually the first time ive understood specifically why the amp cuts the waveform. good job man.
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#25
Quote by AkiraSpectrum
just to clarify... most professional guitarists are going to have OD's but only use them for things such as solos?

i was curious because i was wondering how bands can switch from clean to dirty if they are using OD's... but since u say they usually only use them for solo's etc. that makes a lot of sense


Nono, I don't mean from acoustic to distortion.. like they have a distorted tone but the solo needs a little more kick of it so they turn the OD on to have their tone even more distorted.
the way bands switch from clean to dirty is by using an amp channel switcher pretty much.. alot of expensive amps come with them since you're going to want to use the amp's distortion and not a stompbox.

but don't get me wrong, you can use it on the clean channel but it won't sound like a normal distortion stompbox.. it'll sound better just not as much distortion.. it basically is like a lighter version of your amps distortion somewhat.. good for playing quieter stuff like blues and such..

and the tubescreamer is just a popular overdrive pedal.
Last edited by TechnicolorType at Jun 12, 2008,
#26
Quote by Fama
It's an overdrive pedal. It's known for having a boost in the middle frequencies. People talk about getting a tube screamer of some sort, and with that they mean the "original" line (Ibanez pedal), and the copies (cheap Bad Monkey, Maxon OD808 and whatever, there are a lot of copies).

Yeah, except Maxon made the original tubescreamers before making their own...
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#27
yw heart.

Pro guitarists use many different techniques to get distorted and clean sounds. Some will use only the amp's distortion (Think ZZtop), some will only use a pedal distortion (A number of bands including some Nu-Metal, some instrumentalists, etc) and a lot will get their amp on the edge of breaking up and then add an od/distortion to send it over the top (SRV, Mayer, ETC). Experiment and see what you like.

The Tube Screamer works best in this way... Sort of as mid clean boost. For the record: FAMA, great post. However, the Maxon808 is probably closer to the original TS than the ibanez reissues... considering Maxon made the originals for ibanez. LOL.
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#28
Quote by vampwizzard
yw heart.

Pro guitarists use many different techniques to get distorted and clean sounds. Some will use only the amp's distortion (Think ZZtop), some will only use a pedal distortion (A number of bands including some Nu-Metal, some instrumentalists, etc) and a lot will get their amp on the edge of breaking up and then add an od/distortion to send it over the top (SRV, Mayer, ETC). Experiment and see what you like.

The Tube Screamer works best in this way... Sort of as mid clean boost. For the record: FAMA, great post. However, the Maxon808 is probably closer to the original TS than the ibanez reissues... considering Maxon made the originals for ibanez. LOL.


Actually I used to think this to but I stuck an old TS next to one of the 808 reissues and there was like no difference. The reissue was a tad bit smoother and that was about it. Tried every knob change on both.. tested the hell out of them.
#29
Type: IDK I tried the Sonic Distortion and the TS and didnt like the reissues at all.. its all about personal opinion. Diffr'nt strokes for Diffr'nt folks.
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#30
Quote by aznrockerdude
Yeah, except Maxon made the original tubescreamers before making their own...

True, but it's still a copy of the original tubescreamer, sort of (added true bypass?). Even if they made the original one too.
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#31
Quote by Fama
True, but it's still a copy of the original tubescreamer, sort of (added true bypass?). Even if they made the original one too.

I'm sure Maxon have kept true to the same schematic? as it was theirs?
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#32
Quote by Yngwi3
I'm sure Maxon have kept true to the same schematic? as it was theirs?

I think they added true bypass, I'm not sure if it was included in the original TS? Oh well, this is all just splitting hairs anyway
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#33
alot of people are saying some incorrect things.
guess what, OD and disto pedals do the same thing, just people use them differently.
both of them clip your signal, a disto pedal clips it more extremely, while an OD does it in a smoother softer way.
you can use your clean channel, and then put an od over it. it will be distorted. and guess what, it sounds good. this is in contrast to what some people will tell you.
there is another way that you can use it though, you can turn the pedals gain down and it acts more like a clean boost. put this over your dist. channel on your amp, and it "tightens" the sound for lack of a better word.
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