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Geetar Pedals - What are the best distortion pedals?
Old 9th March 2003
Lives for gear
cashewcupcake's Avatar

Geetar Pedals - What are the best distortion pedals?

I want to pick up a whole messload of pedals for my studio.

At this point I only need distortion pedals.

So what's the best stuff out there?
Old 9th March 2003
I really like my Mesa V-Twin. I've also had really good luck with the Boss Metal Zone (the black one)....that one really suprised me. Both are run through the clean section of my all tube Sovtek with 5881's and it's been modded with orange drops and a few other goodies. It's not the same through lesser amps. Both those pedals are "heavy" but they are polar opposites in tone. It's a great sound when the player is good, and helps a ****ty player out a little.
Old 9th March 2003
Gear Addict
mdbeh's Avatar

Zfex pedals are very cool. I've got one called a Super Hard On, that's supposedly a clean boost.

While it works great for that, to smack an amp's pre silly, it also gives everything that passes through it a tone that makes things really stand out in the mix. It almost reminds me of the sound you get cranking the gain on an 1176 or something similar.

SHO+ Little Labs PCP can be a livesaver in mixing, when a part just won't stand out the way it should.
Old 9th March 2003
Lives for gear
Meriphew's Avatar

The Menatone line is very good - Dirty Blonde, Top Boost in a Can.
ZVEX is great for extreme/unusual sounds.
Crowthers Hotcake works well with Vox style amps.
The MJM Blue Devil is prolly the best tube screamer type pedal in existance.
Old 9th March 2003
Lives for gear
cashewcupcake's Avatar

I saw that mesa boogie v pedal but the asthetic yelled AUDIOPHILE GARBAGE to me. I'm wary of anything that shows off the wondermous tubes inside! I know geetar gear is different and that axefondlers like to see their toobs, but I'm still very afraid.

I've heard the amp simulators but they just sound like crap to me. I want to have a huge pedalboard sitting on the floor.
Old 9th March 2003
Gear Addict

My favorite is the Centaur made by Klon. Not many of them around. I wanted a very specific thing: a pedal that could give me the sound of my amp driven a bit harder. Mostly, I wanted a lead boost that would push things just a bit into overdrive. "Just a bit" is the tricky part. Plenty of pedals have a great distorto sound, but i wanted to ride the edge when it'd break up a bit on a loud note and still be fairly clean on a softer note. Centaur was the only one i found that could do that. And it still sounds like whatever amp you're playing, only overdriven a bit. You can set the dials so that it isn't affecting the sound at all and then gradually dial it up from there. I guess it's kind of a purist pedal.

I also really like the Rat, which is another pedal where you can dial in "just a bit" of the overdrive, but of course the overdrive sound of the Rat is much edgier and nastier than straight amp overdrive.
Old 9th March 2003
Gear Nut
plexi's Avatar

Boss DS-1 the 70`s standard with Marshals
Boss SD-1. Sounds good with a JCM 800 for 80`s rock
Ibanez TS-808: the famous Tube Screamer, SRV fav.
Chandler Tube Driver, Great natural tube drive.
DOD "Gonkulator" Distortion and ring modulator, crazy sounding!
Fulltone 70`, great for spitty fuzz tones
t.c.electronic distortion, really good , expensive.
Boss Heavy Metal:, sounds smooth and rich....

There are plenty of others I have used that don`t suck, when it comes to
distortion pedals, it`s a jungle of options.....

Old 9th March 2003
Gear Addict
CrazyBeast's Avatar

mxr. the old ones.
Old 9th March 2003
Gear Nut

I have one of the original Marshall Guv'nors and they are very good.

The thing that I'm loving at the moment is a Matchless Hotbox which I got off ebay. Meant to be the front end of a Matchless amp, looks great (all retro chrome) and sounds simply wonderful, clean or dirty.

And with the Marshall in front of it - absolutely screams!

Old 9th March 2003
Gear Maniac
Mats Olsson's Avatar

How much is a used TC Boost/Dist pedal in good shape going for ?

Old 9th March 2003
Hot cake

I need more!

Interesting thread!
Old 9th March 2003
Lives for gear

I can't really add much else to Kent's list besides saying that my Zachary Vex Super-Two-In-One or whatever it's called is an absolutely amazing device for overdrive. Really unique sounding. I don't tend to like the Matchless pedals, but that's just me I think. Also, you owe it to yourself to check out Barber Electronics. Their Direct Drive, Tone Pump, and Burn Unit pedals are to die for. Also I'm going to say that I thought the Marshall Jackhammer was really cool for a super heavy grunge tone. Not 'pretty' or 'boutique' by any stretch of the imagination, but cool none the less. And of course, the Guv'nor is amazing.
Old 9th March 2003
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar

i like the drive on the moog pedals.... i use that most of the time with whatever pedals effect bypassed [or not]
Old 9th March 2003
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar

I prefer TS808s, Ibanez TubeKings (TK999), and other 'mild-mannered' fuzz boxes...a little distortion goes an awful long way, I think.
Old 9th March 2003
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Steve Smith's Avatar

A guitarist that is in here alot has a Reverend Overdrive pedal that sounds very cool. I am not a guitarist, but it works great in his rig!
Old 9th March 2003
Lives for gear
vodka gimli's Avatar

Pedals I Have Known

These are the pedals I have the most experience with:

Fulltone Fulldrive II: A broader Tube Screamer tone with defeatable comp switch. Two channels for "more and more-er" options.

Vox Valvetone: Sounds like an AC-15 in a pedal. Handy when you have a studio full of Fender amps. Discontinued, I think.

Ibanez Mostortion: '80's mosfet overdrive that sounds like a Tube Screamer with 3-band EQ. I got mine 'cause Lee Roy Parnell uses one. (I teched for him for a year). Discontinued.

Ibanez TS-10 Tube Screamer:
80's version...different flavor of the classic TS. Discontinued.

Bixonix Expandora: a dip-switch equipped OD/DIST/FUZZ pedal. Always worth a try. I have the original version, there is a new one out.

Barber Burn Unit: Fat Robben Ford-esque OD.

Menatone Dirty Blonde: Best I've heard in front of a Fender - sounds like whatever amp you are using turned all the way up. Pretty amazing.

Boss Blues Driver: Sounds great. Boss's version of the TS with a bit more low end intact.

Klon Centaur: Sounds like your amp turned up with a slight mid-boost...a boutique TS.
Old 9th March 2003
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adam_w's Avatar
Jekyll & Hyde - 2 tube screamer circuits in a box
Old 9th March 2003
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Tim L's Avatar

I have an "81" MXR distortion+ that I've had for 22 years and still have lotsa' love for... Man, I've had that pedal a long time!
Old 9th March 2003
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cashewcupcake's Avatar

es, I'm really looking for heavy distortion meaning extreme FX.

The tube screamer pedals always sound lightweight and half cranked to my ears.

Whoa I'm gonna end up spending like $3000 on pedals. Scary because I'm selling some of my good pres (in the slutz classified if you're interested) for what'll end up being like 10-20 pedals. Trading ultra hi fi for ultra low fi. It seems so wrong!

Old 10th March 2003
Lives for gear
Meriphew's Avatar

If you're specifically looking for extreme, then check out:
ZVEX - Fuzz Factory
ZVEX - Fuzz Probe
Zvex - Machine
ZVEX - Wooly Mammoth
Prescription Electronics - Experience
Death By Audio - Soundsaw
Menatone - King of the Britains
Old 10th March 2003
Lives for gear
infiniteposse's Avatar

I'll 2nd the call for the Visual Sounds "Jekyll & Hyde" pedal. It gives me the nice low key overdrive sounds and then can go all the way to crazed in another stomp. It's also built like a small brick which is also a plus. It's a good match for my Deluxe Reverb reissue.

I also like the Tubescreamer and Guvnor combo on my Blues Junior, but not with my Deluxe for some reason... Go figure.
Old 10th March 2003
Gear Addict

The Zoom Ultrafuzz is supposed to be a poor man's Fuzz Factory. A little more generic sounding in more normal operation, but capable of some serious mayhem. Tragically, none of the local shops seem to carry them.

Old 10th March 2003
Lives for gear
My favorites are the:
Tube screamer
Turbo Rat
Tech21 XXL (great sounding pedal and the warp function is really cool).
Old 10th March 2003
Gear Maniac
Sir Bob's Avatar

You are all wrong!

The classic fuzz is still and will always be the Fuzz Face. Analogman, see www., makes an improved version called a Sun Face. Go check out his web page.

Most of the pedals mentioned are gain pedals. Gain helps a guitarist with poor technique but is not really necessary in a recording environment. Also the more gain, the less tone. See Boogie amps.

Stepping on a Super Hard On, Klon or a Tubescreamer is great in a live situation but these are basically gain. The Tubesceamer sounds like a buzzsaw when you add gain.
Old 10th March 2003
Gear Nut
ojay's Avatar

DI'd into DDA AMR with mic gain full wack!
Old 10th March 2003
Gear Addict
mdbeh's Avatar

Re: You are all wrong!

Originally posted by Sir Bob
Stepping on a Super Hard On, Klon or a Tubescreamer is great in a live situation but these are basically gain
Basically gain, but not quite. I know of a number of guys who'll record lots of guitars, even clean ones, through the Super Hard On just for the sound.
Old 10th March 2003
Here for the gear

A Rockman sustainer will give you a very controlled, fuzzy, 80's style distortion for not to much money. It can also get a smooth, polytone like, clean sound.
Old 10th March 2003
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atticus's Avatar
"Expandora". Nothing else. Buy four. Or five.
Old 10th March 2003
Here for the gear
thedoublelife's Avatar

my vote goes to bixonic expandora II
Old 10th March 2003
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chap's Avatar


As a session player/producer/road dog, I've been required to have most or all of these at various times. Here's the ones I've kept:
Big Muff (the original one I bought in high school)
MXR Distortion plus (script)
Ibenez Tube Screamer
Boss Super overdrive
Mesa Boogie V Twin (awesome!)
Matchless Hotbox (great sound, should have a bypass)
Fulltone Overdrive ( someone say '60's?)
Rockman (gave it away, no gegrets)
Korg mini box (specific but cool '80s)
I have more in the studio but it's early.

the Fulltone has the most distortion of any box I've ever heard.

Richard Thompson gets a great sound with the V Twin

You can always chain these up to get your own
sonic mess.
good luck
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