Overdrive/Distortion Box help/suggestions?

Mike Thomas

Member
Messages
115
Hi, I know there are what seems like millions of overdrive and distortion effects out there but I was wondering if based on the following some of you might have some ideas you could please suggest.

I just started playing with a group of guys again. We mostly play original Alternative rock songs that I have written that in a way sound a bit like Weezer and The Foo Fighters. Just good catchy melodic rock that mostly features distorted guitars.

Currently I was forced to move a few things not too long ago,so the only amp that I have has been my main rig I've had for a really long time. It is an all original 1962 brown face Fender piggy back head and matching 2x12 cab. The amp sounds amazing but with a rating roughly 38 to 40 for wattage,it definitely is more of a clean headroom amp to use pedals with. Depending on power tubes, with the loud rock band I'm playing in right now, I can't even put it past 4 before the guys in the band start telling me to turn it down. The thing is loud. So getting those golden tones of natural breakup by cranking it,is out of there question. So I have to use a good pedal.

I've owned so many overdrives and distortion boxes over the years I don't even know where to begin. I like a lot of gain,but along with a lot of gain I like for the individual notes to be able to ring out and still be somewhat heard. I know that most of the bands I like usually get their overdrive tones from a multi-channel amp,such as a duel or triple rec mesa or a diesel. Or in some cases in the studio they will crank of course a low wattage amp. Because I am stuck with what I have for right now as far as my amp is concerned,plus because I like it,I of course have to run some kind of pedal if i want to get some good overdriven tones with the band.

I'd like to find a pedal that has a lot of gain reminiscent of maybe some of the tones off of Weezer's first album,The blue album. The problem I usually run into even with some of the higher priced boutique distortion pedals out there is that it seems of course, the greater the amount of gain a pedal is capable off,the less transparent sounding your notes tend to get. Which is why I usually end up settling for an overdrive pedal rather than distortion. The notes within rhythm playing can individually be heard a little better with an overdrive; were as many higher gain distortion pedals end up almost sounding too distorted leaving you with something sounding similar to white noise that a tv can sound like. Just too muffled ,making the notes in any rhythm playing lost and almost inaudible or indistinguishable.

I thought about getting an attenuator for my amp and then just riding my guitars master volume if I need to clean the tone up a bit since the gain achieved from cranking a good tube amp gets me closer to the sound I like. However, I have never messed with an attenuator and so I don't think it would be able to be loud enough to use with a full rock band as the whole point is to be able to get cranked up sounds at lower volumes when using the attenuator.

With all that being said, any recommendations for a good true-byepass boutique pedal that is going to have a decent amount of saturated gain without clouding the tone so much that you get that white noise type of overtone instead of the individual clarity from the notes being able to come through? I currently just picked up one of those exotic sl plexi drive pedals. I love the sound of it,but I think I wish it had more gain! Even with the internal trim set to the extra 6db setting I still feel like its lacking in gain.

I did just purchase my first Duesenberg guitar and it could also be a factor that the pickups aren't as high output as I'm used to?

Thanks.
 

jazzfromhell

Member
Messages
4,295
Get the Bogner Blue. Extremely amplike and dynamic overdrive/distortion with great note separation. Responds like an amp to volume changes on the guitar. With the boost channel dimed you can easily get into med/higain territory, but if you need even more gain just hit it with a TS or something.
 

thecornman

Member
Messages
2,364
Rivers used stuff like the Boss DS-2 and Dave uses a Rat! Nothing boutique or expensive. So I would suggest those. If it must be boutique and true bypass I got no suggestions.
 

gitapik

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
864
Rivers used stuff like the Boss DS-2 and Dave uses a Rat! Nothing boutique or expensive. So I would suggest those. If it must be boutique and true bypass I got no suggestions.
He's got a point there…

However, I have a couple of suggestions if you're looking elsewhere:

> The above mentioned Bogner Blue. Great pedal.

> My favorite OD is the XTS Multi-Drive. I've got one on both of my boards. On the large board it handles the light OD and I have an Atomic Overdrive for the heavy stuff. On the little board it handles the heavier stuff while I have a Timmy for the light brigade. AKA: it's versatile and it's kick ass. One of the big plusses for me is that I love a great clean tone and that's what this pedal (and all the XTS pedals) was designed to work with: clean amps. Partly as a nod to touring players who need to plug into whatever backline amp is available at the gig. Just set it to clean and plug the pedal in.

A compressor gives it that much more versatility. But you don't really need it if you're not into it.

You're gonna get a lot of suggestions and I'm sure they're all gonna be good ones. My main reason for suggesting the XTS stuff is that you mentioned your amp as being clean. Some OD pedals work better with clean amps than others, just as some OD pedals work better with amps that are set to the verge breakup, ime.

Enjoy. Glad you're into the original stuff.

:rockin
 

NHBluesMan

Member
Messages
6,141
I just started playing with a group of guys again. We mostly play original Alternative rock songs that I have written that in a way sound a bit like Weezer and The Foo Fighters. Just good catchy melodic rock that mostly features distorted guitars.
i'll be honest, i stopped reading right here because i instantly thought 'this guy wants a Rat pedal'
 

Mike Thomas

Member
Messages
115
He's got a point there…

However, I have a couple of suggestions if you're looking elsewhere:

> The above mentioned Bogner Blue. Great pedal.

> My favorite OD is the XTS Multi-Drive. I've got one on both of my boards. On the large board it handles the light OD and I have an Atomic Overdrive for the heavy stuff. On the little board it handles the heavier stuff while I have a Timmy for the light brigade. AKA: it's versatile and it's kick ass. One of the big plusses for me is that I love a great clean tone and that's what this pedal (and all the XTS pedals) was designed to work with: clean amps. Partly as a nod to touring players who need to plug into whatever backline amp is available at the gig. Just set it to clean and plug the pedal in.

A compressor gives it that much more versatility. But you don't really need it if you're not into it.

You're gonna get a lot of suggestions and I'm sure they're all gonna be good ones. My main reason for suggesting the XTS stuff is that you mentioned your amp as being clean. Some OD pedals work better with clean amps than others, just as some OD pedals work better with amps that are set to the verge breakup, ime.

Enjoy. Glad you're into the original stuff.

:rockin
I just checked out the Atomic overdrive video demo by Pete Thorn and that pedal seems like it would do the trick,I love how responsive the mid knob control is. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Jet Age Eric

Member
Messages
7,675
I think the Rockbox Boiling Point excels at provding "a decent amount of saturated gain without clouding the tone." The Keeley Stahlhammer might be good choice; it does color the tone, but in a way that's reminiscent of Foo Fighters. -E
 

Rumbeer

Member
Messages
356
I will second the XTS stuff. I've been through several dirt boxes, but the Atomic has worked flawlessly with every amp I ran through in rehearsal studios.
 

ahcleinad

Member
Messages
938
One of my favorite distortion pedals I've ever owned was the Wampler Plextortion. Was looking for a distortion that had clarity but could still play chunky power chords. Another good option to look into might be the Bearfoot Arctic White Fuzz. More on the drive side than fuzz in my opinion, but definitely one of the most open and well defined fuzz I've played.
 

gitapik

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
864
I just checked out the Atomic overdrive video demo by Pete Thorn and that pedal seems like it would do the trick,I love how responsive the mid knob control is. Thanks for the suggestion.
Ahhh…now we're getting into the distortion realm, but, yeah: it's called an "Overdrive" for a reason. Really good articulation.

And Pete Thorn could sing a kazoo through a plastic cup and string and make me want to buy it. His demos are great.

On my big board, I've got the Preamp:

http://www.xacttone.com/xts_preamp.html

It's got a Pegasus Boost (you can set it pre or post dirt), Multi-Drive, and Atomic Overdrive. Not cheap, but it's a fair price if you need all three pedals.

I can't possibly say enough about the Atomic. The only reason I mentioned the Multi-Drive is that it's got a broader range in the light to heavy area, which is what I thought you were looking for. It's more of an overdriven Deluxe Reverb (light to heavy) while the Atomic's more of a medium to heavy OD, designed along the lines of a Marshall JCM800.

As great as Pete's demo is, he did leave something out (at least I think he did…I should check it out, again): it cleans up really well. Very much like a JCM800. Still got a little bit of that grain in there when you dig in at lower guitar pot volume, which is really, really cool.

I'm very into both of these pedals. The Preamp is a perfect compact unit for a smallish board.

(BTW: just to make your decision harder: the suggestion of the Wampler Plextortion is a good one, too. Really great effect).
 

edward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,869
FWIW (and since you asked ;) ), I've discovered stacking dirt pedals offers me the best of all worlds: light, hairy OD to full-on foo-fighter grit and girth. Lots of single pedals can get you there, but I like the option of having two, set differently, so as to step on one, or the other, or both for differnt tone and dynamics.

As for specifics, my dirt tone for some time now is a Lovepedal OD11 and Zvex Distortron. With the OD11 set really light and the Zvex kinda medium-hair, I've got lots of breadth in gain change. And kick the zvex into "hi gain" and it is thick/full but still maintains indiv note clarity. BTW, both these pedals clean up superbly with the guit vol knob, as well. Hope that helps you a bit.

Edward
 

kdc113

Member
Messages
526
Im in the same situation as you. For the guys said RAT for Foo Fighters and DS-2 for Weezer. Dave use more Mesa Boogie amps for distortion, and Rivers mains amps was a Mesa Boogie MKI first albums, then a Marshall JCM900 SLX and least Diezel, the DS-2 only as a overdrive in the dirt channels.

Actually in videos I check the Krank Distortus Maximus, and I think is a good pedal for that kind of alternative rock.
 

Mike Thomas

Member
Messages
115
Thanks for all the ideas. I used to actually stack a couple of old ts9's when I was much younger in the late 90's/early 2000's just before the whole boutique/true bypass craze hit the industry. Right before the exotic sl drive became my main drive sound that I'm now using which I set the internal trim to the highest gain setting that adds +6db more; I was using an early run made M.I. audio crunch box,which of course is a distortion and not an overdrive. The high gain settings were pretty good in the crunch box but I just wasn't too into the lower gain settings. It seems kind of odd to me that a lot of cheaper pedal companies have started to reference the crunch box as a sort of bench mark pedal when comparing their similar made pedals,like in the same way companies have forever compared their overdrives to tube screamers. Is the crunch box really that significant as a distortion pedal? Don't get me wrong I enjoyed mine,but I wasn't so blown away where I would figure it to be the end all be all bench mark distortion pedals?
 

71strat

Member
Messages
9,381
Moog Minifooger Drive.

57db of Drive!!!!!

It a Moog Low Pass Filter with a HUGE Drive unit built into it.

It goes from mild boost..6.8db all the way up to Speaker Splitting 57db of Drive. I Never use that much but the capability of the Pedal makes it perfect for pushing the front end of a NIie Old tube amp circuit.

Ive got a Metro Amps Limited Edition GMP45 which is as close to an Original 1965-66 JTM45 with 1900 dollars worth of tubes in it and believe me I want as good of a Drive as I can get.

The Mini get British- American OD and also gets into Fuzz Territiory. Not to Mention that 1 of its functions is to OVERDRIVE a HIGH GAIN Tube Amp. That is 1 of its functions. But like I said. I never use that much Drive.

A Tube Screamer has only 26db of Drive Minifooger has MORE ( 57db) than Double a TS and also does Not suffer from Mid Hump Crisis. It Can be Dialed in but it can also be Dialed out anduwed as a Clean Transparent Boost.

I also have a Timmy. The Moog beats the Timmy for a Basic Drive unit. I wont say Anythng bad about the Timmy as I like it.

I also Like Tube Screamer, Rat, Butler Tube Driver, Roger Mayer Voodoo Boost KOT and many others.

This Is Geaar Page Right ??

Is there EVER Enough Gear ??? If we were all Rich musicians we would have Access to anything we want and all the Studio tricks, Compression, Phase Shifting ect. So I feel that for me to get the most stuff possible to experiment with is important to keep sounding new. And not just Drives of course.

But I also like to get the Most Pedal for the Money.

I 1st bought Moog because I know who they are by Reputation. Not initially for guitars of course but their Low/High Pass Filters, Modulation Units, RIng Modulators, Delay, 6/12 Stage Phasers are Legendary. They did make Phasers for Maestro in the 70's.

Moog is known for Synths and SOUNDS. Low/High Pass filtering. Add the ability to use this with Guitar/ Bass and add a HUGE/POWERFUL Drive Unit to it and you have Instant WINNER.

The Mini has More Drive than I have seen Advertised for ANY Drive Unit

Also it has Both FET and OTA Circuits and is Very Dynamic, Articulate, and works with ANY Amp or Pickup Combination.

I am on a Quest to buy ALL of the Moogerfoogers. I have all the Minis I need and have 2 larger Moogerfoogers to make up for what I don't have in the Mini's.

To say I Love the Moog Products is an Understatement.

Also few pedals can have the range of 6.8db - 57db.



 

Mike Thomas

Member
Messages
115
Moog Minifooger Drive.

57db of Drive!!!!!

It a Moog Low Pass Filter with a HUGE Drive unit built into it.

It goes from mild boost..6.8db all the way up to Speaker Splitting 57db of Drive. I Never use that much but the capability of the Pedal makes it perfect for pushing the front end of a NIie Old tube amp circuit.

Ive got a Metro Amps Limited Edition GMP45 which is as close to an Original 1965-66 JTM45 with 1900 dollars worth of tubes in it and believe me I want as good of a Drive as I can get.

The Mini get British- American OD and also gets into Fuzz Territiory. Not to Mention that 1 of its functions is to OVERDRIVE a HIGH GAIN Tube Amp. That is 1 of its functions. But like I said. I never use that much Drive.

A Tube Screamer has only 26db of Drive Minifooger has MORE ( 57db) than Double a TS and also does Not suffer from Mid Hump Crisis. It Can be Dialed in but it can also be Dialed out anduwed as a Clean Transparent Boost.

I also have a Timmy. The Moog beats the Timmy for a Basic Drive unit. I wont say Anythng bad about the Timmy as I like it.

I also Like Tube Screamer, Rat, Butler Tube Driver, Roger Mayer Voodoo Boost KOT and many others.

This Is Geaar Page Right ??

Is there EVER Enough Gear ??? If we were all Rich musicians we would have Access to anything we want and all the Studio tricks, Compression, Phase Shifting ect. So I feel that for me to get the most stuff possible to experiment with is important to keep sounding new. And not just Drives of course.

But I also like to get the Most Pedal for the Money.

I 1st bought Moog because I know who they are by Reputation. Not initially for guitars of course but their Low/High Pass Filters, Modulation Units, RIng Modulators, Delay, 6/12 Stage Phasers are Legendary. They did make Phasers for Maestro in the 70's.

Moog is known for Synths and SOUNDS. Low/High Pass filtering. Add the ability to use this with Guitar/ Bass and add a HUGE/POWERFUL Drive Unit to it and you have Instant WINNER.

The Mini has More Drive than I have seen Advertised for ANY Drive Unit

Also it has Both FET and OTA Circuits and is Very Dynamic, Articulate, and works with ANY Amp or Pickup Combination.

I am on a Quest to buy ALL of the Moogerfoogers. I have all the Minis I need and have 2 larger Moogerfoogers to make up for what I don't have in the Mini's.

To say I Love the Moog Products is an Understatement.

Also few pedals can have the range of 6.8db - 57db.



I've always been a big moog fans myself and in fact the guitar shop I ran about ten years ago hosted a clinic with Bon Moog himself! I got to meet him and it was awesome. Just a quick cool little story if you don't mind? This is how great the guy was when it came to knowing audio.

We had one of the moog voyager synths hooked up buy the podium for Bob to do his thing and since the mini moog runs dry one of our sound guys thought to add a little space and depth he'll run the voyager through just a simple and cheap rack mount reverb unit. So the voyager gets set up and the sound guy runs it through a reverb unit,but leaves the reverb on standby,so he can easily give Bob the option of having verb or not by just hitting the standby switch.

So Bob comes in to do a quick check of the mic and what not before the audience comes in, The first thing he does is he presses one note on the moog voyager,and he instantly knew something wasn't standard. Roughly paraphrasing this is what he said after pressing one key, "something isn't right here, I'm hearing a loss, a degradation in the upper range of so and so(can't remember exactly what he said but you get the idea), decibels,is there some type of outboard unit that you have passing through this but that might maybe even just be on standby"? The amazing thing was the effects unit was hidden behind a row of p.a. speakers not visibly near the synth and he knew right away from pressing one key that we were running its output through another device even though the device wasn't even being used it was on standby!

I was considering the moog, and actually my next delay is going to be the mini delay. Do you know if the bbd's in those are the cool audio ones everyone is using these days? Thanks.
 






Top