#1
What's the difference between the two? I know Overdrive makes it louder, but idk anything about the 2. Thanks, just wondering.
#2
Techically distortion is anything that alters the sound of your guitar, so for example a wah pedal could be considered distortion, but usually when people say distortion they mean overdrive and the two are the same.

Correct me if I'm wrong though.
Thomas hopes to not have offended anyone with this post. No responsibility whatsoever is taken for any spelling or grammar mistakes, should there be any.

last.fm
#3
overdrive is when you turn the amp up so loud that the tubes distort themselves.You can only use overdrive on an amp with tubes.I think it sounds better than distortion.
Distortion is usally when you use a pedal to change the sound.You can use a pedal without being as loud as overdrive,but IMO it doesn't sound as good.

Im sure people can explain how it works.
meh
#4
Quote by get ta led out!
overdrive is when you turn the amp up so loud that the tubes distort themselves.You can only use overdrive on an amp with tubes.I think it sounds better than distortion.
Distortion is usally when you use a pedal to change the sound.You can use a pedal without being as loud as overdrive,but IMO it doesn't sound as good.

Im sure people can explain how it works.

I'm sure you didnt mean what i think, but i have a button for overdrive. So distortion is just altering the sound? I'm getting a wah pedal like tomorrow, or some kind of pedal. Any recomendations while I'm asking? (I'll have about 100 bucks to spend on anything I want, def. gonna be guitar stuff ;])
#5
Well, if you could scrape by a little more money, for 130 or so the Crybaby 535Q is a great wah
The name's Austin
Quote by Leo Tolstoy
Music is the shorthand of emotion.
Quote by Friedrich Nietzsche
Without music life would be a mistake.
#6
a good, easy way to say it is this:

Overdrive: Just a slight crunch, common in blues, rock. think lighter Led Zeppelin stuff.

Distortion: Stereotypically Really heavy distortion. A la Slayer, Meshugga, stuff like that.
#7
Overdrive is a process applied to a guitar signal. Basically, it makes the sound louder, but with a limit.

So picture a sound wave, (a nice fat sine wave) that curves up and down and up and down. Now, imagine it's in a rectangle a little bigger than the wave. You increase the volume (drive) and the wave grows taller, until it is bigger than the rectangle. However, the rectangle is the limit, so whatever goes out of the box is clipped, or cut off, thus producing the crackliness of an overdriven sound. This clipping is called the distortion, because your nice clean sound has been distorted to something awful and ugly (at least, that's how the term came about). Of course, part of the wave is still inside the box, and that is what you hear. Turn up the drive way way high and barely anything is left inside the rectangle, and you really get distortion that you can't tell what note is what.


If you want to get into detail this also explains why higher register notes sound less crunchy due to their wavelength and lower notes get clipped more.
#8
Actually overdrive and distortion is the same thing(nearly). That button on your amp is switching your clean channel to the distorted channel. But tube distortion is different sounding than the other distortions created by pedals because of a circuit signal thing i don't know well so people gave different names to them.
Let's go back to five billion bpm and see how good i am.
#9
Distortion is typical for SS amps and is just sound altered by resistors etc. Distortion can't handle as many notes played as one since it doesn't have the variety of tones that a tube can handle.

Overdrive is as said, when the tubes start changing the sound themselves. It sounds more like lightly distorted clean but it can handle more notes played at once. However you cannot play metal through overdrive it just doesn't get heavy enough. Ofcourse if you have a mesa boogie then the tubes are driven to an extreme.

However overdrive usualy doesn't get distorted enough to lose notes in. Distortion does.

Basicaly Overdrive is for tube amps, Distortion for Solid State amps
Guitars:
1994 Epiphone Explorer
1997 Epiphone Les Paul
Tech side:
Blackheart BH5H Little Giant
Rat DeuceTone
EH Knockout
G Lab Wowhee Wah
Last edited by Simonwalker at Jul 27, 2008,
#10
no no,I meant what I said,you just have an SS amp and they do have buttons for distortion,because they dont have tubes,therefore they cant overdrive.


Off topic,My brother is watching the Jonas Brosthers/Miley Cyrus concert.I can't believe people like this.....we need someone to kill it like Cobain did too hair metal...
meh
#11
Quote by get ta led out!
no no,I meant what I said,you just have an SS amp and they do have buttons for distortion,because they dont have tubes,therefore they cant overdrive.


Off topic,My brother is watching the Jonas Brosthers/Miley Cyrus concert.I can't believe people like this.....we need someone to kill it like Cobain did too hair metal...

I agree with the off-topic, haha.
but anyway, thanks for all the info everyone, learned something today ;] Just to be clear again, tubes=overdrive and no distortion, no tubes= distortion? I can buy a pedal for distortion, correct?
#12
I heard it explained once as this

overdrive is when the Powertubes in a tube/valve amp are pushed, and the signal starts breaking up creating "Distortion" in the signal. Distortion is when the signal is disrupted, or something to that effect. Theres something about it in one of the stickys. read them.
#13
well ur close haha if u have a solid state,u can buy a pedal but you already have a distortion channel,so u woodnt need it.And you can use a distortion pedal on a tube amp,so you wont have to crank it for overdrive,but it wont sound the same.

What amp do you have?If you have any more questions ill try and help
meh
#14
that comment about solid state amps being exclusively capable of distortion is untrue.
solid state amps can be overdriven except the signal is being overdriven by resistors instead of tubes.

Distortion is digitally altering your signal. distortion pedals alter the signal to sound like clipping when there is actually no clipping taking place. distortion really sucks all the dynamics. you don't hear the nuances like how hard you're plucking.
#15
Quote by rayunit
that comment about solid state amps being exclusively capable of distortion is untrue.
solid state amps can be overdriven except the signal is being overdriven by resistors instead of tubes.

Distortion is digitally altering your signal. distortion pedals alter the signal to sound like clipping when there is actually no clipping taking place. distortion really sucks all the dynamics. you don't hear the nuances like how hard you're plucking.

I've never seen an SS amp capable of overdrive. Only seen ones that try to emulate the sound. Not to mention you can't really drive resistors.
Guitars:
1994 Epiphone Explorer
1997 Epiphone Les Paul
Tech side:
Blackheart BH5H Little Giant
Rat DeuceTone
EH Knockout
G Lab Wowhee Wah
#16
maybe im just bein stupid but i thought overdrive tightened up your sound o.O
Guitars

Dean Razorback Explosion Lefty
ESP LTD EX-400 LH
Vintage?? LH

Amp

Bugera 333xl
Bugera 412H-BK
#17
Quote by get ta led out!
Off topic,My brother is watching the Jonas Brosthers/Miley Cyrus concert.I can't believe people like this.....we need someone to kill it like Cobain did too hair metal...


To be honest with you, Cobain is just as bad as Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers. They both have a bunch of teenage nut swingers who don't know what they hell they're listening to.
Last.fm

Fender Deluxe Players Strat > Big Muff > LPB-1 > Moog Ring Mod > MXR Dynacomp > MXR Phase 90 '74 > Fender Hot Rod 410 (soon)
#18
Quote by get ta led out!
well ur close haha if u have a solid state,u can buy a pedal but you already have a distortion channel,so u woodnt need it.And you can use a distortion pedal on a tube amp,so you wont have to crank it for overdrive,but it wont sound the same.

What amp do you have?If you have any more questions ill try and help

This is my amp:
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/guitar_amplifiers/squier/sp_10/index.html
Thanks for being so helpful by the way, appreciate it

Oh, just noticed, mine's no Squire, it came with my Fender Strat, still SP.10 though...
Last edited by bnmjosh at Jul 28, 2008,