It’s not uncommon for musicians to go to online guitar stores and spend thousands on guitar multi effects pedals and other pieces of sound equipment just to get the perfect tone–to get the guitar distortion of their dreams. While guitar effect pedals will certainly increase the range of options you have, they’ll be no good if you don’t know how to use them!
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of three different kinds of guitar distortion available so that you have a more thorough working knowledge and can put them to better use.
A booster pedal is basically just a straightforward preamp used to increase the signal of the guitar for louder, cleaner sounding solos, or to overdrive the amp, which produces natural distortion. They’re typically used in conjunction with the guitar–like an extra part of the instrument. These kinds of guitar distortion pedals have gone a little out of vogue, but there are still contemporary versions that can offer the classic, vintage tones as well as newer, “cleaner” models. If you use a tube amp, you can use a Booster pedal to overdrive it and get some awesomely vintage sounding guitar distortion.
Fuzz boxes have been around even longer than boosters, and were originally created to let guitarists mimic the raspy tones of a saxophone. Unlike boosters, fuzz pedals have their own unique tone that they slather all over your guitar’s sound. Most only have two dials that you can play around with, so they’re relatively simple to use. If you like the stylings of songs like “When the Music’s Over” by The Doors or Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” then try using a fuzz box to enhance your guitar distortion.
Overdrive pedals try to replicate the sound of an overdriven amp, as their name implies. Most of the guitar distortion you hear in the heavier stuff nowadays uses overdrive. You can use an overdrive pedal to add more girth and grit to your guitar distortion, or you can even use one to replace your amp’s tones. (If you want to do the latter, all you have to do is switch to a clean channel.)
Booster pedals, fuzz boxes, and overdrive pedals are three of the most essential tools you can have to sculpt and perfect your signature tone. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. Find out more at this site.