Paul Stanley Distortion review by Washburn

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Ease of Use: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 5.2 (10 votes)
Washburn: Paul Stanley Distortion

Price paid: C$ 54

Purchased from: Zellers

Sound — 7
The Paul Stanley stompbox is advertised as a distortion, but it's really an Overdrive. Accordingly, it is incapable of producing high-gain Heavy Metal tones and is completely inappropriate for that sort of riffing. It's simply a clear and silky Overdrive comparable to the overdriven Marshalls used by Stanley. It is important to note that, while this box sounds pleasant and transparent when used for single-note leads, it becomes a muddy, distorted mess when used with chords. I do need to stress the utility of this pedal for leads, though; it produces a very clear and defined sound. It does have an issue with noise, though, and can really Drive you mad, whether you're using singles or humbuckers.

Overall Impression — 6
At the time when I bought this pedal, I played Sonic Youth/Nirvana type noise/grunge. This pedal wasn't too bad for that, but I was disappointed by how clean it was. I've since sold it. I now play dream-pop/post-rock/shoegazing and am looking for a stompbox that is able to produce the same clear, transparent tones that the Paul Stanley did. I've tried and heard several other distortions and overdrives, but to no avail. I do regret selling it and will probably only end up buying another. It is a terrible pedal if you need something that's an all-purpose distortion, but the one sound that it does deliver is a good one.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Once, again, this pedal looks and feels just like an MXR, and the die-cast casing looks like it could withstand more abuse than an MXR. The Level and Tone knobs look fine; it's the tiny little (rubber? ) contour and gain knobs that scare me. They look as though they might fall off any minute.

Ease of Use — 4
The Paul Stanley Distortion has four knobs: Level, Tone, Contour, and Gain. Surprisingly, there's really only one useable sound that can be dialled in; the contour knob produces no significant change in sound, and the gain need be turned to full to get any decent Overdrive. The tone does make a fair bit of difference, but it must be turned past 12 o'clock in order to she'd the muddy quality of this pedal. The true bypass Switch is a welcome (and unexpected) feature. There is no manual, and the back of the box does little more than to state the obvious. For all it's knobs, this is probably the least versatile gain box I've ever used.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Yeah, they still make them... and I think the guy who approves this stuff added in a few (grammatically incorrect) apostrophes. Nice job. And yes, the paint job is awesome.
    I bet the "Paul Stanley Signature" gear is just taking advantage of naive kids and their parents.
    I love this pedal for the simple fact that it takes my Fender Twin and makes it sound like my Marshall JCM800 (with a hint more gain). Not good for modern metal, but does a decent job with older Slayer or Metallica (any metal pre 1986)when you dial up the gain. Unlike the reviewer, I find this pedal to be really clear with chords, more so than say a Boss pedal anyway. Its my go to for rhythm. I like it for leads, just not with a dirty amp (such as the aforementioned JCM800). I find it doesn't really cut or add anything interesting to the tone of an already dirty amp. My old yellow Boss overdrive still wins for that. Still, with an open back tube amp on a fairly clean setting, this thing rocks. I generally hate distortion pedals (even though i've probably owned 30 over the years) but this things a keeper. Worth checking out, especially for the price (I got mine at Zellers too).
    Great pedal very useful and has excellent tone ...great value for the money.i few quick mods turns this pearl into an overdrive monster.i highly recommend it.