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Amp drive/ distortion vs pedal

emdub123

Member
Messages
1,279
Both. I prefer my amp on the edge of breakup and kick in a light overdrive to add crunch and or treble content if I'm getting buried. Since I play rhythm guitar and a lot of strummed open chords, anything more than that gets muddy. When I was playing mostly barre/power chords, I tended to use a lot of pedal overdrive.

Anyway, I prefer natural amp overdrive but it doesn't work in my current band.
 

Average Joe

Member
Messages
11,824
I like amp distortion in principle. For practical gigging purposes i find pedals much easier to get a good and consistant sound out of. With pedals i dont have to worry whether the amp's sweet spot match the room, just turn the clean amp to the proper volume and go. Pedals also allow me to go from clean cleans to distortion at unity gain. For my applications that's a must

It May not be 100% equal to a non MV amp doing its thing, but it's 95 and it's 95 every time regardless of room
 

snow and steel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,980
depends on the amp and the sound you need.

On a 1974X Marshall - put the volume and tone on '10' and plug straight in for blues and most classic rock. Maybe a TS9 for solo boost.

I do a lot of pedal platform stuff because in cover bands or studio work you need to be able tog et a LOT of sounds, and one amp drive probably can't give me that.

For fly in gigs or backline provided shows you may not even know what amp you'll get, or you may have a extremely limited selection. Its easy to find a good clean sound and then get everything else from a pedal board.

So ultimately - it depends.
 

scott944

Member
Messages
3,949
I play exclusively at lower volumes, and enjoy lots of different flavors, so pedals work better for me.
 

greenhilander

Member
Messages
377
I play exclusively at lower volumes, and enjoy lots of different flavors, so pedals work better for me.
Yep that works for a lot of guys I know. Took me years chasing "my tone" so I finally went to Voodoo Amps and had one built especially for me and what I was searching for. They nailed it even at lower volumes so I do not use over drives or distortion pedals. Its kind of a cross between EVH's first record tone and the REV's Fandango tone depending on the guitar. So I don't mess with it.
 

DHC

Member
Messages
421
Good topic. I've got three different takes:

1) Guitar straight to cranked amp. Sounds great but even my little 5 watt Swart is ear-bleedingly loud. Still, I do this every chance I get as it that tube compression is like nothing else.

2) Guitar straight to cranked amp with attenuator. The tone is similar to above (at moderate to low volume) but ... not .... quite. This scenario loses a bit of that compression I mentioned above. Something to be said for getting that speaker cone moving, I guess. Anyway, the attenuator in question is at the lower cost end of these things (Swart Night Light Jr.) but I still find this very pleasing. Get that Les Paul rocking and able to dial down the volume? Winner.

3) Guitar to dirt pedal(s) to low volume/clean amp. This approach is loads of fun, as the different dirt pedals (or stacked) get you a crazy number of possible flavors. I can hit a bunch of different types of fuzz or distortion from the Velvet Fuzz, or go nuts with the different tones in the Gain Changer. I'm thinking of adding a Catalinbread DLS, which would handle Marshall goodness (JTM45, Plexi, JCM800, etc.). With low volume coming out of the amp, I can increase the gain to get thick overdriven tones while keeping the overall loudness at manageable levels.
 

mudster

High Prairie Wrangler
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,432
If you can find an amp that produces an overdriven/distortion sound that you really love at a volume that is usable for you, you are very fortunate - stick w/ that amp. Chances are that if you have that amp, you will also like it with the added "flavors" of all of the very fine OD pedals that exist these days. With all those pedals, certainly there are 2 or 3 you'd like that work well with any given amp.
 

guitguy28

Member
Messages
1,163
I used to think playing into a cranked non-master volume tube amp was the be-all, end-all of tone. And while it is for some, and it is what I prefer, I realized
that it's only one flavour of tone, which is often best suited for blues-rock kind of tones. Cranking your amp, or using OD pedals, or using just the amp's preamp
gain, or a fuzz pedal... or even going the digital route... they can all produce stellar tones, none better than the other.
 

Bogner

Senior Member
Messages
6,674
I have never been happy getting my gain from a pedal. I may use a pedal to dust the amp a small bit but rare I do even that. Not a boost fan either in most cases. I am a firm believer in having the amp do the job for the gain, clean and in between along with a volume roll if necessary. Just my $.02 :)
 

wildschwein

Member
Messages
4,022
I prefer dirt from the amp, even if it's from the preamp section. I have never really found a distortion pedal I have been totally satisfied with, though I do use them on occasion to push things over the edge.
 

Astronaut FX

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,847
I've had good luck with both. And now I'm realizing I have nothing of real value to add to the thread. :oops:
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,583
i love my marshall 2203's preamp crunch for some stuff, but i had to jump through some hoops to get a switchable volume boost that worked with it and a way to get my delays to sound good; i ended up with a relay-switching master volume boost for solos and the metro amps FX loop for delays in it. with a les paul that's my go-to sound for hard rock/pop/radio hit covers type music, while with a tele it gets me a decent jangly britpop kind of vibe, or i turn the FX off and get a credible tele into marshall cowpunk sound.

i also love the sound of a good tube screamer-type OD pedal into a fat, clean blackface fender-style amp for other stuff; i run an OD pedal into a compressor (addrock ol' yeller into allums-modded CS-3), then into my delay, and the whole thing into a volume pedal before going into the clean fender amp.

with the tele that's the ticket for roots-rock alt country and my attempts at ry cooder-y textural, ambient stuff.

so yeah, both are cool, and do different things; the "natural tube preamp overdrive" sound can be harder to wrangle on stage unless you've got some clever inside-the-amp switching going on.
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
9,078
Never been happy getting most of the gain from pedals....never sounds right. But add a clean boost to an already crunching MV amp,so its just like walking over to the amp and turning up the gain,now thats a sound i dig. So amp70% pedal 30%
 

bgh

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,979
The drive on my Mark IV is one of the best drives I have ever heard from an amp. I like it a lot. I use my Big Cannoli (from fellow TGPer John Coloccia) in front of it to shape the flavor sometimes. It seems to add some nice bloom when I play a slower solo.

While the Nomad's drive sounds good on its own, I will use it with pedals before I will the Mark IV. The Blackbird is very good both as a preamp (direct into the effects return) and as a drive pedal. I know this thread is asking about the drive channel, but the Blackbird's clean channel turn the Nomad's clean channel into a thing of beauty. For drive, I will often run my Jester into the Blackbird and then into the Nomad. Some really nice sounds.

Thanks for reading.
 

huw

Member
Messages
1,262
It took me a long time to realise it, but most of my early influences were running something between their guitar and their amp, whether it was a fuzz box, an echoplex preamp, a treble booster, a tape recorder, or something else (and sometimes more than one at a time!).

So whilst I appreciate the tone of a simple 'gtr > amp' setup, that isn't really the sound that I'm usually after for distortion/drive/crunch/whateveryouwanttocallit, and I can get what I want much more easily using pedals.
 
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Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,688
I like to get the amp pretty cranking and then a boost pedal for that extra "oomph". However, lately I've been using a Deluxe Reverb which is pretty clean so for dirtier stuff it has been pedals. Mainly a direct drive.
 

kak1154

Member
Messages
232
I never really understood the general consensus that:

1. Tube distortion from non-MV amp
is better than
2. Pedal distortion with clean non-MV amp
is better than
3. Tube distortion from MV amp

Why are pedals better than a MV amp?
 

sleewell

Senior Member
Messages
10,595
I set my amp crunchy and boost with a keeley ts9dx when needed. I use the volume knob on my guitar for cleans.

works really well and I love how simple it is. one channel on my amp, no fx loop. sounds soooooooo good!!
 




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