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Breaking Down the Break-up Part 3



Like feeding an overdrive pedal large doses of testosterone and steroids, a distortion pedal seeks to reproduce the full-stack, valve-distortion grit that the kinder, gentler overdrive pedal barely hints at. Similiar to overdrive, distortion pedals will have their own ‘sound’, rather than merely enhance the amp tone it starts with, usually with a scooped-EQ curve (ie high bass and trebble frequencies with lowered middle) and liberal helpings of compression. There are many flavors of distortion available, of course, but by its very nature this pedal aims to achieve its “sound in a box,” rather than partner up with a good valve amp to sound its best. Every major pedal maker on the market today offers their own renditions of this sonic fury but some of the more popular models include the Boss DS1 and Pro Co RAT.



Now that we have discussed the differences between each type of overdive pedal, it’s worth having a think about how you go about using them. Whatever gets you to your own flavor of filth, you will most likely want to use your boost, fuzz, overdrive, or distortion early in the pedal chain. If you are using more than one overdrive or distorion pedal, a quick rule of thumb is to put the milder, or cleaner, OD earlier in the effects chain (ie nearer your guitars signal). This said, there are always notable exceptions for example Wah-wah pedals and compressors usually prefer to go before fuzzboxes to work their magic. Don’t be afraid to experiment though, as there is no ‘correct’ way and messing around with the order of your pedals might produce results that give your tone the extra zing you’ve been looking for.

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