Tuesday, July 22, 2008

GearHead's 12 Step Program Part 3: Distortion

Distortion, Overdrive, and Fuzz- This may be my favorite group of effects. The gain boosters are an interesting lot. Guitarists around the globe often credit their signature sounds to members of this family. Let’s start with Distortion. Distortion pedals clip your signal on the front end of the amp causing the loud, heavy tones we all love. A few of my favorite distortion pedals include the BOSS DS-1, the Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde (V2), and the Boss Metal Zone. The DS-1 is pure distortion. It’s the point where distortion starts. It’s a great pedal for you beginners because not does it sound good, but it’s inexpensive too! You can pick up a new DS-1 for about $40 and a used one for closer to $20. The Metal Zone continues the fine BOSS tradition of killer tones by taking distortion over the top. This is as great a pedal for the metalheads as it is for the classic rocker that needs a serious boost in gain. The Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde’s “Hyde” channel is also up there on the list of great boxes. J&H offers not only a smokin’ distortion channel, but also a very smooth, TS 808 inspired overdrive channel, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Hyde can truly pummel the weak with a wall of distortion that absolutely will not quit. Additionally, Hyde houses his own noise suppression circuit which is one reason this guy get the award for versatility. These are a few classics that I’ve owned and I can tell you that they rule. Some other, classic distortions include the ProCo Rat, MXR’s Distortion+ (as used by Randy Rhodes), and the Bionix Expandora. Another pedal recently reviewed here on GearTrap that I feel is well worth mentioning is the RockTron Metal Planet Distortion- very very sick.


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