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Boosting Drive Pedals

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Grandy, Apr 2, 2021.

  1. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Holic

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    I have very little experience in stacking drive pedals or boosting them with clean boosters or eq pedals. I was wondering if there are some basic rules or guidelines about this. What type of drive pedals respond the best? Do overdrives behave different from fuzzes and so on?

    I've never used more than one drive pedal on my board and I'm now considering getting an eq to do the boosting.
     
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  2. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    image.jpg
    I have used this MXR Micro Amp to boost overdrives, fuzzes, distortions and even other boost pedals, and it works every time...I call it the “More of Me” pedal—it just makes the tone bigger and richer without any EQ or coloration.
     
  3. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    There are no set rules. But yes, drive pedals will often react differently from fuzzes, and indeed react differently when considering pedal order, type, and application.

    In front of your main drive pedal, the booster will usually saturate it more. Behind it, it will often work as a clean boost. It just depends if you want more perceived gain out of your sound or if you just want to be louder and bigger.
     
  4. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    A treble booster is the best boost for an OD/distortion or fuzz pedal.
     
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  5. johnnylaw

    johnnylaw Tele-Afflicted

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    Experiment!
    Do your best in music stores, but they always sound different “live”.
    Your curiosity has a price tag; you need to think of this as an investment.
    Be careful not to invest too much into a solution looking for a problem.
    In my world, a great amp smokes a great pedal board any day.
    What’s your planet?
     
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  6. Shango66

    Shango66 Friend of Leo's

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    As fiesta red says a simple boost pedal in front or after would be my first dive into your question.
    You could try a dual od pedal such as a Fulldrive 2 or similar.
     
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  7. no doz

    no doz Tele-Meister

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    i always use a clean boost on my board. i tend to like it after overdrives to give me a little bit of a hotter signal into the front of the amp. really like the way it pairs with a tube screamer style circuit.

    if i'm stacking it with a fuzz pedal i tend to place it before the fuzz, since the fuzz i use has its own output control.

    like the posters above, heavily depends on your signal chain and the sound you're going for. experimentation is the best policy!
     
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  8. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    I won't really know how good this actually sounds until my first electric gig ( just a small R&R/blues trio) in a few weeks.
    But I'm liking the concept ( and it sounds good at home!) - it's a Caline Orange Burst ( Xotic BB clone) paired up with an independent Boost with it's own volume.

    The Boost is pretty clean and the OD side has very good sustain without a ton of distortion.
    20210227_125934.jpg

    * I usually don't like using more than 1 dirt pedal (keep to a small board), so this seemed like a good idea- we will see!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
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  9. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    I love my boost pedal when I have enough room in the plugs for it.
     
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  10. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Spark drive gives you a few boosting options.
    nice overall
     
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  11. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My technique is to keep each pedal at low gain. If you want more gain, you have both. I love my Xotic EP Booster as a clean boost into other drive pedals. But other types of pedals (EQ, compressor, etc) can serve that role as well. Or if you only have 1 pedal, you can keep your guitar volume down. Set the pedal to sound good with guitar at half volume, then when you turn the guitar volume up you get a big boost.
     
  12. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    Cleanish boost in front. Makes most sounds smooth and creamy. Or wild if that's your thing but watch the levels and don't get into harsh.

    Timmy, Klon, etc. Clones be good.
     
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  13. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Afflicted

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    I love stacking boost/OD/distortion pedals, but there really are no guidelines other than what sounds good to you. Here are some of the tricks I've found that work for me, but please feel free to completely disregard all of it.

    -- Turn down the gain on the pedals you'll be stacking. If the gain gets too high everything kind of turns to a fuzzy mush when stacked.

    -- When I'm playing into a clean amp I typically put a clean boost before my OD pedals so I am boosting into the OD and driving it harder to create more gain.

    -- When I'm playing into an amp that is on the edge of break up I put a boost after my OD pedals so that I am boosting the OD tone into the amp to push it into breaking up.

    -- I set the tone controls on stacked ODs so that one OD has a darker tone and one has more top end. This gives me more distinct tones when using the ODs independently and creates a more complex and interesting stacked tone.

    -- Pedal order makes a big difference when stacking ODs so you need to try all the different combinations with your pedals to find out what pedal order you prefer.

    -- I typically stack ODs with different sonic characteristics. For example, stacking a TS style OD with with a hard clipping OD like a Fulltone OCD.

    Have fun and good luck!
     
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  14. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    No rules, lots of possibilities! Couple of things,
    -Boost before = more gain
    -Boost after = more volume
    The last pedal will be most of what you hear in terms of base tone.

    I use a gain changer first at low gain, unity volume for just breaking up tones. I use this by itself most often of anything other than clean/no pedals.
    A tubescreamer mini 2nd, set for low gain and higher than unity volume
    A Wampler Plexi drive mini last, set for good crunch at unity volume.

    The TS gives me more loud for my clean or GC
    The plexi is a nice 2nd channel, which can be boosted by either the TS or GC (or both!)

    There are some great dual drive or drive/boost pedals out there that can save you a power input and many have a choice for direction a into b or b into a.

    It can be a rabbit hole for sure but if you post your rig and what your specific goals are, you will get great advice on here about how to go about it and which pedals of the many choices may sound best.
     
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  15. Wyzsard

    Wyzsard Friend of Leo's

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  16. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Holic

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    Thank you all for ideas and suggestions. I was afraid the answer would be something like "you never know 'til you try." At least that's what my limited experience has been so for. It'a a little discouraging.

    Lately my favourite drive has been the T-rex Mudhoney 2 that already has to different sounds in it. Has anybody tried pushing it into more overdrive?
     
  17. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    You could do a lot of experimenting, purchasing, selling, etc and not come up with anything much better than the Trex you already have. Unless you have a specific tone in mind, i would spend a bunch more time with all of the settings and combos on that pedal rather than getting other stuff. jmo
     
  18. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Grab a couple cheap standards and play with pedal order. I’ve had/have dozens and they’re all different.
     
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  19. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

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    I'm a big fan of putting an EP-3 style boost after a bright drive. Ideally a good o e like the Secret Preamp, but even something as cheap as the Mosky XP. (I use both.) Then for total meltdown, hit the front of your drive pedal with a Donner Boost Killer.
     
  20. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think there are rules. But there are suggestions. There are several good suggestions here already.

    Start with a pedal that you like into your amp. Then find another pedal that's different. Set them both to relatively clean (gain around 9 or 10 o'clock?) but with volume above unity. So with each pedal you're both adding some Overdrive and pushing the amp a little harder.

    When I stack pedals I use a Tubescreamer style and a Rat style. I have a friend who uses a clone and a TS.

    The important thing for me is which pedal comes on first. I'll turn on the TS first if I'm playing through a Fender or vintage Marshall style amp. Or the Rat comes on first through a Vox style. Experiment with which order you have the pedals in your chain. I always put the TS first, then the Rat. I'm not sure why. It could probably work the other way.

    The second pedal comes on only if I want lots of dirt. While I generally set gain around 9 or 10 on both pedals (see above), adjust the gain on the second pedal to come on for the amount of dirt you want.

    I can push any amp to the amount of gain (Santana style overdriven sound, for example) I want with neither pedal up past about 10 o'clock.

    Depending on what you're after, you may be able to get what you want by putting a clean boost or an EQ in front of a drive pedal.

    Experiment.
     
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