"smooth" overdrive.. Definition and examples?

edwardz

Member
Messages
361
I see the word "smooth" used to describe overdrive pedals posted so often that I'd almost consider it a throwaway term.

What do you mean by "smooth", and what do you consider good examples of "smooth" overdrives?

TS and D-style overdrives are often called "smooth". What overdrives would you say are "unsmooth"?
 

Barnzy

Silver Supporting Member
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3,450
I'm in agreement here. Smooth is not a great adjective for any overdrive. I don't and won't use it either. So I vote that it's a "throwaway term."
 

mkr1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
881
Unsmooth? Any multi-purpose OD with the clipping toggle on the most "open" setting. Haymaker comes to mind. Agree with MIAB. Supro or Hiwatt-in-a-box pedals too.
 

MilwMark

Member
Messages
2,667
Well, given that I often see the same pedal described by different users as "smooth" or "edgy" . . . (just check any BD-2 thread).

I'm going with, it doesn't mean anything consistent.
 

IndyMead

Member
Messages
624
Yeah the BD-2 is great example of why this word doesn't work. To me, the BD-2 is the complete opposite of "smooth" yet for some it defines that term.
 

edwardz

Member
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361
I guess MIAB and tweed-sounding pedals would be "unsmooth". Also, anything that is reminiscent of a fuzz pedal would fall into this category.
 

MilwMark

Member
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2,667
I guess MIAB and tweed-sounding pedals would be "unsmooth". Also, anything that is reminiscent of a fuzz pedal would fall into this category.
There's the problem - lots of people find a compressing tweed to be "smooth". Others notice the "raggedness" of and determine they are not smooth.

And with Muff's in particular I can't count how many times I've read about their "smooth, singing sustain" . . .
 

Blues Lyne

Member
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3,465
The perception of how smooth an OD is can be dependent on the rig, the player and whether listened to on it's own or in a band mix. My Jouster sounds like it has a lot of rip in it when a friend plays through it, but sounds pretty smooth, with a little rip when I play through it and it sounds really smooth in a mix with my band. Some fuzzes can be what I would consider really smooth.

I do think the term is useful and that most know what you are talking about when you talk about smooth OD. Do some misuse it? Sure. We are trying to describe sound, it's not going to be exact and universally understood.
 

thiscalltoarms

more gadgets than Batman.
Platinum Supporting Member
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7,976
Zendrive comes to mind, although there is a chippy attack to the pedal, but the gain itself is what I'd describe as silky and smooth and liquidy.
 
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6,836
Smooth = Jetter Gain Stage Gold, Analogman King of Tone, Lovepedal Kalamazoo Gold

Unsmooth = Sarno Earth Drive, Lovepedal Les Lius, ProCo Rat, Bearfoot Honey Bee.

Although, depending on amp and guitar settings, all of these suggestions could flip-flop.
 

Blues Lyne

Member
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3,465
To the extent there is consistency of use, to me it seems to relate to how compressed an OD is. More compressed ODs tend to get called smooth at a greater rate than less compressed ODs, I think.
I agree. It also seems like ODs that are called smooth often have a more mid forward character to them.
 

Nota

Member
Messages
2,904
- No ice picky highs

- No booming bass

- No "flubby" low end OD (like some fuzzes)

- Heavy on the mid range (mostly upperish mids IMHO)

- Not too much overdrive

- Dynamic


This is the sound I go for! Also the reason I haven't bonded with a lot of amps and pedals.
 

sanfi4u

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,485
The pedals that come to my mind first are Menatone Blue Collar and J. Rockett Blue Note.
As for the definition I'd say "smooth overdrive" is a pedal that sounds smooth :). As it is related to perception of an individual and we are all different same pedal can be considered smooth and sharp at the same time by different people.
 

stringman340

Member
Messages
471
When I hear "smooth", I hear a very tamed, maybe even subdued top end. Thick and just borderline muddy, but NOT muddy....I think the basic brew is just "smooth" out the top end and get enough gain to snag some good sustain. Basically.

My experience:
- WizPedal MiniD
- BB Preamp is set pretty smooth
- The overdrive on a Mesa Boogie Lonestar
- Empress MultiDrive (again, I mostly just cut the highs and it's there)
 

edwardz

Member
Messages
361
There's the problem - lots of people find a compressing tweed to be "smooth". Others notice the "raggedness" of and determine they are not smooth.
A lot of people consider the Blue Note and Zendrive to be smooth overdrives, but when the gain and tone (and Zendrive voice) are set high I don't think they sound smooth at all. My Tweed '57 can be smooth sounding with the gain and tone turned down, but I use it for nasty Neil Young-type tones which are anything but smooth.
 




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