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Best distortion / boost pedals?

Ed Rafalko

Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
6,287
I've been 'duded', 'Aced', 'cheifed','Pal'd','kided','striped', and 'Spampy'ed, but I've never been Spudded.;)
 
O

OldCrow

Guest
Old Tube Driver + any fuzz

First, let me say that I do not agree with Speed Metal.
I run two amps, a Deville 2x12 for clean, and then via
an A/B switch box a 71 Marshall 100 wt. The band I'm
with is all over the place and requires I go from completely
clean to dark as hell, and all shades in between, many
times in the same song. In short, to limit your opinion to
"must have this or that" is counter to the open approach to
tone that is really what we are all here for. A stomp box is
just a tool to create tone, and there are to many musical
variables to ever state absolutes about what should or should not be in your setup. In my setup, which is used in the real world, I may need to jump from clean to brown on the Fender, before
going a little darker with the Marshall in the first song of the set.
In order to pull off a Jazz to Hell tone in such a manner, it requires adjusting settings on amps, stomp boxes etc...
to accomplish it in real time, live.

Wow, that was a paragraph. So, now to the point.
I've got three overdrive/distortion boxes on my ridiculous but neccessary pedal board.

Old Chandler Tube Driver - This is one of the older models that has the wall cord with it. Nice spongy effect with a 12au7 tube.
I use this one when I want a "little more" on the Marshall.
THis one is good for bringing out what is already starting to
happen with a good tube amp. Really a transparent as possible
boost with just enough overdrive edge if needed.


TS-9 w/808 mod Ibanez - Can go to Fender or Marshall, but mostly this one creates a mid level overdrive on the Fender which
I've set to go all the way clean in most cases without effects.
TS-9s deliver a good mid-range punch, but I've heard others
on the web state that they seem to lose a little of the bottom end
when compared to other overdrives. I cannot confirm this as I've
got mucho low end via the cabinet/speaker combos I'm running.


Boss Fuzz - This is an old caked up pedal that mimics a
Big Muff distortion. I really think that using a straight up Fuzz
pedal in conjunction with a good overdrive pedal will give you
all the distortion colors you'll ever need. THis one is suppossed
to be just like an old Big Muff pedal, so that is the best I can
point you to. I tried a bunch of fuzz pedals before I picked this
one up, and the Big Muff fuzz tone is what I really liked. Big
about says it all.

My setup is unique in that I play in a quirky band that requires I go big to small to ?? almost every tune. At first coming from a bar band where I was a "guitar+chord+amp" guy, I balked at the notion of using all of these gadgets. I now realize that if you are willing to invest the time to learn to control them that effects can really provide dynamics in a live situation that could not be attained any other way. I have the absolute best rock amp available (IMO) with the old Marshall, and the Deville sure ain't shabby for a clean tone. With these immaculate tone bases I use effects to twist them to even more bizarre tone worlds. The idea that an overdrive or fuzz pedal is a result of poor or inexpensive equipment is a product of musical "blinders" if you ask me.
















pedal board.
 

becks bolero

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
1,810
I kinda like the original tubeman pedal.....you could pick one up used fairly cheap. <$100 I'd think. lots to tweak on it too.
 

slammintone

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
2,011
I don't usually bother with O/D pedals however, for the times when I'm not able to crank up some power amp dirt I bought a Marshall BBII Bluesbreaker overdrive and find it extremely versatile and great sounding, depending on which amp and at what volume I'm playing at. With my Bluesbreaker RI amp, I use the pedal with the amp no further than half way up. On my buddies 2203 marshall, it sounds hellaciously good all the way up and PUMPS through his vintage cabinets. This pedal does a mild AC/DC crunch very effectively and also gets down and dirty into the realms of thrash and heavy metal quite easily as well. No nasty hardness or hash anywhere in the tone spectrum. The Marshall Guv'nor and Jackhammer may be even more cool, haven't got around to checking them out yet. 95% of the time I don't use any pedals whatsoever.
 

soldano16

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2001
Messages
3,043
Fav pedal

It took me a while to find a great pedal but I swaer by the Boss SD1 (Mine are the original Japanese ones - I haven't tried the Taiwan ones but some people say they sound different)

The trick is to keep the drive really low and run the level about 35-40%. That gives a really nice push to the tone.

I use the pedal with my Soldano's and my Super Reverb and it sounds great with both.

Other pedals I had tried but gave up on were

TS9
Marshall Govnor
 

Dystrust

New member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
14
I agree with Ed Rafalko

I don't think a pedal should be needed for your rhythm sound. If you use a pedal for this, you need an amp with more gain, though exceptions do exist. Randy Rhoads used an MXR Distortion + through Marshall SLs and that sounded great. Anyway back to the topic. My favorite boost pedal is the Boss GE-7. I boost the level to get the extra gain/volume I need and then adjust the EQ to help it cut through. The EQ shape I use is like a tent with the peak at 800/1.2K.
 

Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
Distortion Pedals mean:Your AMP Sucks

This is a serious reply.
IF You need a Distortion/Boost/overdrive/Fuzz pedal in the front end of your amp(fill in the name of the clunker you bought here) you have either 1 of several scenarios happening:

You bought the WRONG amp for your needs/wants/or could afford
Your amp is anemic.
You need new tubes in it.
You are using the Wrong pick-ups to help overdrive the amp.
The amp wasn't designed for the type of Gain YOU need or want.
Your amp isnt working right.
You couldn't afford or didn't buy a channel switching High Gain amp to begin with.

In this day & age of High Gain,Properly Designed Tube amplifiers from several Dozen Manufacturers you find you need a solid state box of some sort to "boost" the amp.....you bought the WRONG amp fella!

Bogner,VHT,Bradshaw(Custom Audio Amplifiers)Mesa Boogie,Budda,Egnater,Fuchs,Trainwreck,Guytron,THD,Orange and a few more that escape me at the moment....ALL have Great overdrives,pure tube signal paths,Girth,Definition,and TONE!

If you have a Marshall,Fender,or similar amp(too many to list) then I can see why you need a box to juice it.
They weren't designed to achieve overdrive or Saturation that a Box(which NO Matter which one you choose it sounds Cheesy) can get.
Yer gonna ram the front end with a solid state signal after you went and bought an amp that sounded good till you got home with it?
Overdrives/fuzzomatic/death ray distortion,and Rocket Boostomatics are all cheesy and fake.
Hot-Rod your amp with components that achieve YOUR sound and dont buy some box crammed full of $35.00 worth of op-amps and chips that create distortion.
You really think(for example) a Fulldrive sounds good? Gimme a fukkin break Dude! $200.00 for that hunk of tin and chips is a LAUGH!
From My little 18 Watt budda Verbmaster I can Crush that or any other anemic amp with a fuzzbox thru it for GOOD,Defined Distortion.
The box in your amp scenario is LAME and silly.Buy a GOOD amp that performs on its own without cheesy box's...then you'll be happy.
Oh Yeah...I dont give a FUCK that Eric Johnson,SRV,or Hendrix use distortion boxes....2 of em are dead and the last is Brain Dead!
Necrobump. Sorry about raising the deservedly dead and forgotten, but my Hiwatt Custom 100 DR103 and Reeves Custom 100 DR504 asked me to resurrect this thread so they can laugh in that post's stupid brain eating zombie face. 🤣🤣

THE ONLY high gain amp I have ever played that came remotely close to those amps in terms of tone and volume whether playing clean, crunchy, or over the top distortion when hit with a White Face RAT, Soldano SLO Pedal, or my Systech Harmonic Energizer was a Mk IIC Colliseum. The Hiwatts dust all other high gain heads I ever played in terms of both tone and volume. Every other high gain head I ever played flattens out and becomes incoherent mush at the same gain and well before the Hiwatts are even breaking a sweat on the Master Volume. None of them sound as articulate and musical sounding at high gain and volume settings outside of the Mk IIC Colliseum.
 
Last edited:

Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
a lot of Hiwatt talk lately…you pump’n up for a sale 😂
Oh hell no. When I die if I cannot be given a Tibetan Sky Burial, then I want a Viking Funeral. If it happens, then my DR103 and DR504 will be sitting to either side of me on my funeral pyre with my Staple and P90 loaded Les Paul Special clasped in my hands like a sword.
 

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Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
Original Sans Amp Tech 21

Original Sans Amp Tech 21. It sounds incredible through any hand wired non MV head.

You can still get them for around $150. Cheaper than a new reissue. But slowly rising.

I like my TS808 as well. It has a unique harmonic range although I haven't been using it at all it still has a vibe that I can't let go of.
I agree. Original SansAmps work infront of NMV, low gain, and high gain heads extremely well whether used as a clean boost, dirty mid boost, OD, or for a vintage flavored high gain.

Also, their buffer is top notch for running longer signal chains and instrument cables.
 

Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
While I don't have a Plexi, I do have two Hiwatt Custom 100's, a Matamp GT150, and a NMV Ampeg VT22.

My favorite so far is my Keeley Java. It always does exactly what I want, crystal clean to toothy mean with the throw of the volume knob on my guitar.

I also love my original SansAmp.

I had an NKT275 Beano Boost for a good while, another great Treble Booster option.

I had an EQD Special Cranker for a while. Great pedal infront of a vintage style tube Amp.

I had a Dunlop EP1 Preamp for a while. Great pedal.

I had an MXR Sugar Drive, another great pedal.

I had a Maestro Ranger for a while that was a great vintage rock OD, but not so much for complimenting and adding flavor to heavier tones.

And long ago I had a DOD Juice Box I really liked too for edge of breakup to light crunchy OD.
 
Last edited:

Hiwatts-n-Gibsons

Active member
Joined
May 10, 2024
Messages
176
Old Tube Driver + any fuzz

First, let me say that I do not agree with Speed Metal.
I run two amps, a Deville 2x12 for clean, and then via
an A/B switch box a 71 Marshall 100 wt. The band I'm
with is all over the place and requires I go from completely
clean to dark as hell, and all shades in between, many
times in the same song. In short, to limit your opinion to
"must have this or that" is counter to the open approach to
tone that is really what we are all here for. A stomp box is
just a tool to create tone, and there are to many musical
variables to ever state absolutes about what should or should not be in your setup. In my setup, which is used in the real world, I may need to jump from clean to brown on the Fender, before
going a little darker with the Marshall in the first song of the set.
In order to pull off a Jazz to Hell tone in such a manner, it requires adjusting settings on amps, stomp boxes etc...
to accomplish it in real time, live.

Wow, that was a paragraph. So, now to the point.
I've got three overdrive/distortion boxes on my ridiculous but neccessary pedal board.

Old Chandler Tube Driver - This is one of the older models that has the wall cord with it. Nice spongy effect with a 12au7 tube.
I use this one when I want a "little more" on the Marshall.
THis one is good for bringing out what is already starting to
happen with a good tube amp. Really a transparent as possible
boost with just enough overdrive edge if needed.


TS-9 w/808 mod Ibanez - Can go to Fender or Marshall, but mostly this one creates a mid level overdrive on the Fender which
I've set to go all the way clean in most cases without effects.
TS-9s deliver a good mid-range punch, but I've heard others
on the web state that they seem to lose a little of the bottom end
when compared to other overdrives. I cannot confirm this as I've
got mucho low end via the cabinet/speaker combos I'm running.


Boss Fuzz - This is an old caked up pedal that mimics a
Big Muff distortion. I really think that using a straight up Fuzz
pedal in conjunction with a good overdrive pedal will give you
all the distortion colors you'll ever need. THis one is suppossed
to be just like an old Big Muff pedal, so that is the best I can
point you to. I tried a bunch of fuzz pedals before I picked this
one up, and the Big Muff fuzz tone is what I really liked. Big
about says it all.

My setup is unique in that I play in a quirky band that requires I go big to small to ?? almost every tune. At first coming from a bar band where I was a "guitar+chord+amp" guy, I balked at the notion of using all of these gadgets. I now realize that if you are willing to invest the time to learn to control them that effects can really provide dynamics in a live situation that could not be attained any other way. I have the absolute best rock amp available (IMO) with the old Marshall, and the Deville sure ain't shabby for a clean tone. With these immaculate tone bases I use effects to twist them to even more bizarre tone worlds. The idea that an overdrive or fuzz pedal is a result of poor or inexpensive equipment is a product of musical "blinders" if you ask me.
















pedal board.
Well said. My Dual Rectifier Tremoverb was an amazing high gain amp. I will take my Hiwatt and Reeves Custom 100's or Matamp GT150 with a good Treble Booster, Fuzz, and Distortion pedal over it for almost any style of music. Particularly for heavy fuzz and high gain tones that I want to punch like a heavy weight and cut like a bastard sword.

The one exception being when I want some sweet tube rectified vintage tones with that natural sag and compression.
 

charliechitlins

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
1,132
Distortion Pedals mean:Your AMP Sucks

This is a serious reply.
IF You need a Distortion/Boost/overdrive/Fuzz pedal in the front end of your amp(fill in the name of the clunker you bought here) you have either 1 of several scenarios happening:

You bought the WRONG amp for your needs/wants/or could afford
Your amp is anemic.
You need new tubes in it.
You are using the Wrong pick-ups to help overdrive the amp.
The amp wasn't designed for the type of Gain YOU need or want.
Your amp isnt working right.
You couldn't afford or didn't buy a channel switching High Gain amp to begin with.

In this day & age of High Gain,Properly Designed Tube amplifiers from several Dozen Manufacturers you find you need a solid state box of some sort to "boost" the amp.....you bought the WRONG amp fella!

Bogner,VHT,Bradshaw(Custom Audio Amplifiers)Mesa Boogie,Budda,Egnater,Fuchs,Trainwreck,Guytron,THD,Orange and a few more that escape me at the moment....ALL have Great overdrives,pure tube signal paths,Girth,Definition,and TONE!

If you have a Marshall,Fender,or similar amp(too many to list) then I can see why you need a box to juice it.
They weren't designed to achieve overdrive or Saturation that a Box(which NO Matter which one you choose it sounds Cheesy) can get.
Yer gonna ram the front end with a solid state signal after you went and bought an amp that sounded good till you got home with it?
Overdrives/fuzzomatic/death ray distortion,and Rocket Boostomatics are all cheesy and fake.
Hot-Rod your amp with components that achieve YOUR sound and dont buy some box crammed full of $35.00 worth of op-amps and chips that create distortion.
You really think(for example) a Fulldrive sounds good? Gimme a fukkin break Dude! $200.00 for that hunk of tin and chips is a LAUGH!
From My little 18 Watt budda Verbmaster I can Crush that or any other anemic amp with a fuzzbox thru it for GOOD,Defined Distortion.
The box in your amp scenario is LAME and silly.Buy a GOOD amp that performs on its own without cheesy box's...then you'll be happy.
Oh Yeah...I dont give a FUCK that Eric Johnson,SRV,or Hendrix use distortion boxes....2 of em are dead and the last is Brain Dead!
Silly reply, of course.
If I didnt use OD pedals, I would have to either have 6 or 7 good amps and choose exactly which one is right for the gig (no room for error), or buy a small amp that I can always crank, Mic it, get it mixed right in the house and monitors...
Neither is impossible, and I'd rather be able to crank my Bassman wherever I play, but by far the best compromise is a good pedal or 2.
 
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