distortion pedal

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distortion pedal

Postby Specia1One » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:38 am

Hi folks,
I'm a newcomer to an electric guitar. I was playing acoustic guitar for 3 years but never tried myself playing an electric guitar. Yesterday I turned 24 and my friends gifted me Yamaha Revstar RS320 :mrgreen:
So I want to buy a distortion pedal. Which one do you recommend? I have $200 for this aim, don't look for an expensive one for training
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby carlaz » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:27 pm

Do you mean, like, an actual, physical distortion pedal? (As opposed to a model of a pedal in Amplitube?)

The answer may depend on whether you are looking for distortion closer to the "bluesy overdrive" or "screaming metal" ends of the spectrum -- but given that you are moving to electric from acoustic, perhaps the less outrageous options are more your vibe. Still, either way, there are a vast range of distortion pedal options out there, to suit all sizes, budgets, and sonic perversions. :mrgreen:

That said, perhaps a solid basic option is the Boss DS-1. This is, I think, one of the earliest real distortion pedal designs, originally launched in the late 1970s. Doubtless the current models have some slight differences to the internal electronic components, but I think the DS-1 still earns respect as a solid, useful piece of gear that doesn't bankrupt you: You can buy a new one for about USD 50 in the States, though you can probably get a perfectly serviceable used one for less. (When I first started playing electric, I bought all kinds of random used pedals -- mostly Boss -- through Usenet :ugeek: as eBay didn't yet exist! If I didn't like them, I sold them on again.) Boss pedals are built like frickin' tanks, in my experience, so if you like your DS-1, it will probably last forever.

Otherwise, you could try the Joyo JF-01 Vintage Overdrive, which is a budget clone of the famous Ibanez Tube Screamer (like the DS-1, also originally launched in the late 1970s). You can also buy "official" current versions of the Tube Screamer produced by Ibanez or Maxon, as well as a vast array of clones and derivatives. (The Tube Screamer may be the most famous and popular distortion pedal ever; it is at the very least one of the most famous and popular.) But, at a list price of about USD 30 new in the States, you probably can't go too badly wrong with the Joyo clone. My impression is that the Joyo stuff is relatively well-respected for the price-points, offering good value for money.

With that in mind, if you wanted to try something a little more exotic without much risk, you could go for the Joyo JF-12 Voodoo Octava pedal. That's more a "fuzz" than a "distortion" ("distortion", "overdrive", and "fuzz" all have subtly different if overlapping connotations as terms); the JF-12 is based on the famous Electro-Harmonix "Big Muff" circuit(s), though it also includes an "octave" effect, which basically doubles whatever note(s) you play an octave higher. Overall, think of a Jimi Hendrix kind of vibe. (Thus, I presume, the "voodoo" in the name of the pedal.) I think this pedal also lists for about USD 30 in the States.

Now, if you were thinking about pedal models in AmpliTube, there are digital models corresponding to pretty much all of the physical pedals I mention above. AmpliTube's Distortion stomp model is based on the DS-1, the Overscream stomp model is based on the Tube Screamer, the Big Pig stomp model is based on the Big Muff, and there's an Octa-V stomp model that's based on the "Octavia" pedal (as used by Hendrix). Using the Custom Shop app, you can try some or all of those models with AmpliTube free of charge for 72 hours.
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby carlaz » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:32 pm

Of course, if you want to blast out USD 200 on a distortion pedal, you certainly can. :mrgreen:
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby Specia1One » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:21 am

Hello Carlaz,
Thank you for a very detailed reply! Well, thank you for clarifying this topic. Now i understand that $200 is too much, $30-50 is enough to get a good one :mrgreen:
As i said before i don't savvy in distortions. I came up with idea to buy a distortion and straight after that i googled them. The first article i found was smth like that: https://primesound.org/best-distortion-pedal-for-metal/
I believed them, but it was just a commercial piece of junk.

carlaz wrote:That said, perhaps a solid basic option is the Boss DS-1. This is, I think, one of the earliest real distortion pedal designs, originally launched in the late 1970s. Doubtless the current models have some slight differences to the internal electronic components, but I think the DS-1 still earns respect as a solid, useful piece of gear that doesn't bankrupt you: You can buy a new one for about USD 50 in the States, though you can probably get a perfectly serviceable used one for less. (When I first started playing electric, I bought all kinds of random used pedals -- mostly Boss -- through Usenet :ugeek: as eBay didn't yet exist! If I didn't like them, I sold them on again.) Boss pedals are built like frickin' tanks, in my experience, so if you like your DS-1, it will probably last forever.

Thank you'll buy this one i guess. I'll check youtube and order this one i think.
You are awesome ;)
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby carlaz » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:34 pm

Well, I don't want to suggest that distortion pedals costing more than the DS-1 aren't necessarily worth the money, too. To be fair, if I were shopping for a new "dirt pedal" or two, I might start looking at some of the kinds of models that run new in the USD 75-175 range (though I might look for used units!). And I'm not going to say that the distortion pedals that cost 200 bucks or more aren't necessarily worth it -- there are some nice "boutique" pedals I can think of that run in the USD 200-250 range new, and I wouldn't turn them away if I had the budget. (If I had the budget, I could easily drop USD 200+ on a wah or fuzz-wah pedal!)

It-s more that I'm not sure it's worth rushing out to spend that kind of money unless you are fairly sure that you know just you what you want to spend it on. (Or unless you reckon you can easily sell it onwards, if you end up with regrets! :lol: )

The Boss DS-1 has been a useful and affordable pedal for the last 40 years, so if you end up not liking it, at least you'll know you want something with a rather different vibe. But it might well do very well for you as-is.
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby Peter_IK » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:10 pm

I have three DS-1 pedals, and I know they're the "basic" go to but having the three options really works for me. One stock (I actually have used that one for messing up vocals more than anything), one Keeley-modded, and one with a tri-gain mod (Monte Allums). I've had them all for over 10 years except I may also still have my original stock from the late 80s which I'll have to dig through stuff to find, too much gear to remember what I still have!). I know I picked up a newer stock model just to have that on hand, though, I definitely have it but not on any of my pedalboards.

Or you could use the one in AmpliTube for a fraction of the cost of a real one even if the DS-1 isn't super expensive to begin with. :)

You can also use AmpliTube to try out different flavors of distortion pedals, I know that the Ambass'dor, for example, is a great representation of the Marshal Guv'nor which is a pedal I love but don't have. Asking prices are a little high on the real pedal but it does really give surprisingly good "amp like" tones if you are into that sound.

I also tried out the Orange Tiny Terror amp in AmpliTube vs my real Tiny Terror and that representation is great too. There are differences, of course, since my TT is an early Korean-made model (vs later China-produced units) and isn't hand-wired like the version modeled in AmpliTube. I also use a Weber attenuator on mine as I like to push the amp hard and even at 15 watts - as I don't like to switch to the half-wattage setting personally - it is SUPER loud.

Orange is actually extremely happy with our models and they do feel that you can get a great idea of what their amps sound like without splashing down the cash up front or being in a noisy music store or otherwise "meh" environment and they've had customers tell them they've done exactly this (using AmpliTube first) before buying a hardware Orange amp. Of course you'll probably be searching for a bit and paying a lot for that OR-120 as that one was a 1970s model that sounded SWEET. Though I missed out on playing it when it was at the US office, I know that my colleagues who tested it out were well-qualified to be trusted when they said it was amazing to play. I know it sounded amazing, as I have heard that specific amp a few times when we've tested it.

Anyway, that was a novel. DS-1 is a perfectly fine pedal, even though it gets some to turn their nose up at it. I'm not a fan of the Metal Zone stock but I do have one stock, one modded for that too and I'll always go for the modded version. That one is fun to tweak in AmpliTube, though. Sometimes there's more flexibility in software (at least more gear to pair it with and some settings and even other plugins to interact with a modeled version that give it a bit of a new life.

Oops I already called this a novel I should quit while I'm a head and you might actually read all of it.
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby Peter_IK » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:23 pm

OK I can't resist. One more suggestion. Look toward ovedrive pedals too. In AmpliTube, the T-Rex Møller is a very cool overdrive that also has a boost. I'm a huge fan of boosting to drive an amp/pedal and the overdrive in this pedal is fantastic on its own too.

With regard to boosting, the Tiny Terror mentioned above is typically run in an A/B/Y setup (with another low-wattage superstar on the clean side - Fender Blues Junior). Thus, it has its own pedalboard setup. While it doesn't take all pedals as easily as a more clean amp would (like the Blues Jr does), I use multiple boosts to get a range of tones that is almost like having channel switching. We don't model the boosts I use but the Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster offers quite a large amount of boost and I also use a a Boss EQ for more of a mid boost, as well as their Super OD for some overdrive and a cheap Danelectro Daddy-O for a different flavor of overdrive.

Oh and also try the Pinnacle Deluxe in AmpliTube if you're into that "brown sound" type of tone. Great distortion as well.
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby carlaz » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:43 pm

+1 on the T-Rex Møller. The current "version 2" of the physical pedal can go for more than USD 200), though the AmpliTube model of version 1 is very good -- and considerably cheaper! :D The Møller is (AFAICT) essentially an enhanced Tube-Screamer-type pedal with a clean boost. (Tube-screamer-type pedals are very frequently used as slightly-unclean-boost pedals, with the drive control down, the level up, and the tone tweaked to taste.)

Otherwise, if I were going for a Tube-Screamer-type pedal and had a budget, I would totally get one of those Keeley-modded or Analogman-modded ones. I think the Keeley-modded TS is now basically encapsulated in the Keeley "own brand" Red Dirt pedals. Still, even the various fairly stock and new Tube-Screamer types are useful.

It's also hard to go wrong with Boss pedals, IMO -- though I'm not a fan of the Metalzone either, preferring the old HM-2. (Besides all the Swedish deathmetalers, even Dave Gilmour and Jerry Garcia also used the HM-2; it's more versatile than one might think!) But the DS-1, the SD-1, actually the Blues Driver, too ... they're all solid, dependable, and versatile.

For that matter, the Fulltone OCD pedal, which AmpliTube also models, has many aficionados, though I'm less familiar with it.

I'm really more a fuzz fan. :mrgreen: I have a physical old "Russian" EHX Big Muff from the early '90s, and my go-to in AmpliTube is the Big Pig (even though AmpliTube categorizes it as "distortion" rather than "fuzz"). But I'll often set up different classic-era amp models as fairly clean and audition different AmpliTube fuzz models through them, or multi-track in Logic with different clean-ish amps and different fuzz models.

Some day, when my current audio interface dies, I'll get the AXE I/O and finally set up an expression pedal to try out the AmpliTube wah models properly. I have a physical Thomas Organ Crybaby and a stock Dunlop Jimi Hendrix, but my holy grail would be the Colorsound fuzz-wah from the early '70s. Those things rip. There are some nice clones of those you can get, but they don't come terribly cheap (especially with my local currency's presently awful exchange-rate against the dollar!).

I can't say that I've compared all the AmpliTube Orange amp models to the "real things" :shock: (and I don't think I've ever even personally seen an OR120 in decent shape, though they are out there), but as a user of the AmpliTube models, I will say that I like them a lot. :mrgreen: The AmpliTube Rockerverb model is in my "default" patch when the AmpliTube standalone app loads up and in my go-to user-channel-strip guitar preset in Logic Pro. (Even when I'm using MIDI in Logic Pro, the sampler pumps the guitar stuff through AmpliTube. 8-) ) If I did find an OR120 (or a clone) and had the money to buy it (and the soundproofed bunker in which to play it :lol: ), the AmpliTube model has me pretty convinced that I'd like it. 8-)

If I could justify it, I would absolutely get a physical Rockerverb MkIII; only a few years ago, Orange stuff was utterly unavailable in the country where I live, though some dealers now carry it. Still, much as with the Tiny Terror, even if the Rockerverb 50w is switched down to 25w, it's probably still insanely loud. But that's not a problem in AmpliTube, where I can happily run even the model of the Thunderverb at full blast! :lol:
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Re: distortion pedal

Postby Peter_IK » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:22 pm

You must be a "Doomer" with those tastes ;) I kid, or at least mean no ill will as I love that sound.

Fan of fuzz here too. My EHX Big Muff fuzz isn't as old nor Russian as yours, I'm jealous. I do have a custom fuzz pedal called the "P-Fuzz" (for my first name...) which is a beast. I had Pfeiffer pedals combine some functionality and make some switchable etc (their octave is awesome and of course part of the P-Fuzz) and it is also hot as a mofo and will get pretty crazy - almost like a Fender Blender will but with more old-school fuzz qualities in general.

IK is obviously full of fuzz fans based on what we have in AmpliTube too.

Oh and agreed about Boss pedals. Been using them since I was 12 years old but unfortunately don't have a lot of those old pedals (SO sad). That chorus was amaaaaazing. I abused the flanger, wait that was an Ibanez pedal oops. Those were great too.
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