Do you need BOTH overdrive and distortion?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by RevMike, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. RevMike

    RevMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not a big pedal guy. I've had'em sold'em etc. My only constant has been a ProCo Rat. I love it. Lately been toying around with the ideal of pedals again. So many videos out there, everyone says something different.

    I have a great distortion. Now I'm wondering do I need an overdrive too?
     
  2. JLC78TELE

    JLC78TELE Tele-Meister

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    I would only say yes if you are running a single channel amp and want multiple gain stages at the push of a button, instead of manipulating a volume knob.
     
  3. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Personally, I need overdrive plus a fuzz to make wacky infinite sustaining sounds. But I'd like to add a distortion pedal maybe just for fun.
     
  4. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    If playing a dirty amp like a tweed deluxe, I can get by with no OD pedals, although I still like a slightly hairy baseline clean tone, which I get more easily with a mild OD, always on. If playing my Twin, I do the same thing (but turning up the gain a bit, to about noon), and also stack a Keeley Blues Driver into it for bigger crunch and solos.
     
  5. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    Need? No. But it sure is nice.
    I actually use 2 different overdrive pedals, one set with a little crunch, the other with a whole bunch of crunch, like a distortion pedal.
    Works for me!
     
  6. FenderBender10

    FenderBender10 Tele-Holic

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    I like fuzz or stacking 2 ODs or an OD and a boost if I want higher gain. I do own a Soothsayer and a Wampler Sovereign. Both are "distortions" but I use them for lower gain applications and they sound great doing so!
    I also really like fuzzy ODs like lumpys class A germanium, bearfoot EGDM and Pink Purple fuzz, red Llama, Greer hammer, Catalinbread SFT, formula #5, karma suture, katzenkonig, black cat OD-1, and EQD Acapulco Gold.
     
  7. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    You only need more pedals if you want more pedals. Realistically, you can cover whatever ground you need with a RAT. If you want more of an overdrive and less of a distortion sound, then just turn the gain down a bit and turn the level up to push the front end of your amp a bit harder. The RAT is a really versatile pedal you could realistically cover all your gain needs with that one box.

    Now there are going to be some that say, "No, no, no, you need a clean booster, an EP style booster, a transparent overdrive like a blues driver, a midrange heavy overdrive like a tube screamer, then a distrotion, then a fuzz, then an octave fuzz...."

    But between the RAT and the volume knob on your guitar you have quite a wide range of gain on tap. If you want all that stuff, the by all means, but you don't need it.
     
  8. RevMike

    RevMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    This has always been my way thus far. I use a really clean amp most of the time. And I just wanted a little more edge to the clean stuff.
     
  9. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Absolutely yes but probably not both at once. Or why not?
     
  10. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^^^ True. :cool:
    I use more than one pedal so that I don't have to bend down and turn knobs. But a Rat is a great all in one pedal, IMO.
     
  11. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The OD-3 is a great fat overdrive that stacks well with the Rat.
     
  12. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Revisited my old OD-3 the other day. It's one great pedal! I have it 1st in line so some stacking experimentation is definitely in order. In order...:D...did you see what I did there!
     
  13. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another fan of the Boss OD pedals
     
  14. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I usually would put the Rat first but I bet it works well either way.
     
  15. thecornman

    thecornman Tele-Meister

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    I play a single channel Excelsior Pro amp at gigs so yes I need both an overdrive and a Distortion pedal!
     
  16. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree with waparker-- go distortion into OD, such as RAT into OD-3. Then you have 3 good dirty sounds-- OD alone, distortion alone, and both on stacked. Plus adjusting with guitar volume and tone to taste. You can try it the other way, of course, YMMV and all that.

    Some guys really like fuzz into O/D instead of distortion into O/D. The right fuzz can really be quite amazing and really clean up as you drop your guitar volume, especially if you are using classic single coils. There's the Fuzz Face family, the Big Muff Family, with other variants of course. The Katzenkonig is an interesting hybrid of a fuzz box with a RAT EQ filter, sounds pretty great. I have an on again/off again feeling about fuzz-- and usually end up kicking it off the board. Of course certain styles of music totally call for serious fuzz.

    If you are able to turn up your amp enough to get a nice break-up without using an OD pedal at all, then there's not as much need for it. I like having an O/D because in many cases I can't turn the amp up to that point. Goosing with light O/D such as an OD-3 gets me to the sweet spot at lower total volume.

    If you like a really singing, sustainy lead tone it's pretty amazing what you can get by stacking a couple of dirt pedals, each set relatively light. That often produces a much sweeter, "bloomier" lead tone in my experience than getting up to the same level of gain via a single pedal. 11 Gauge has given several seminars on this topic, and he certainly convinced me to give it a try.

    Some amps don't need a thing if you can crank em up a bit. My Marshall JCM800 50W combo amp has gain out the wahzoo and sounds glorious plugged straight in. Even so, just a little goosing with some kind of gain pedal set to light gain can really take it into a whole 'nother level...especially if I'm using a light single coil guitar. Hotter pickups give enough push on their own.
     
  17. Jimmy Dean

    Jimmy Dean Tele-Afflicted

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    Rat works well with OD. I used mine with several different OD's & it worked great with all of them. At the time I was running the OD into the Rat. I don't have a Rat right now. My current setup is a CB Karma Suture into a CB SFT. I have never been able to get anything musical out of any fuzz that I have tried, must be a character defect that I have. I recommend having 2 different gain pedals.
     
  18. davguitar

    davguitar Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I have the RAT, the OD-3, Electro-Harmonix Glove, Bondi SickAs, and some others. I agree that the RAT is a great distortion pedal but IMHO it's useable as an overdrive pedal. The overdrive-like tonal qualities are there when the gain is on the low side. But, I'd probably be thinking along the same lines you are and I'd want to try another flavor of pedal to ensure I was getting into some new tonal territory. I'd recommend the Electro-Harmonix Soul Food. Very versatile pedal. Another pedal I really like and it has a permanent home on my pedalboard is the Caline Orange Burst. If you have some good headphones listen to the YouTube demos of the Caline Orange Burst. The build quality is quite good, too.
     
  19. foundjoe

    foundjoe Tele-Holic

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    I have too many overdrives and a Rat. I put the ODs in front of the Rat and kick them on for various shades of stacked distortion -- or if I feel like bending over, I can turn up the gain on the Rat. And then I can always kick off the Rat and just use one of the ODs for various shades of overdrive. More pedals = more options and less bending over to tweak the knobs.
     
  20. davguitar

    davguitar Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I stacked my MXR Distortion III (more like an overdrive pedal) with my Electro-Harmonix Drive last night and got a pretty good Fuzz emulation without the buzzy and noisy side effects of many fuzz pedals. I have the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Nano (small form factor pedal) but it presents problems in real world use because it is so noisy. I'd use a noise gate/loop pedal along with it if I were using it all the time.
     
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