Do you need BOTH overdrive and distortion?

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

  1. RevMike

    RevMike Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    52
    Posts:
    5,180
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC

    I had an older one. It was great. I traded it because I really wanted something else. I missed though and got a Rat 2. I find it exactly the same only in a smaller housing which suits me fine. To me it's more a matter of of using the pedal and knowing its sweet spots. The Rat has been a part of my rig for so long that I feel like I know every point on the dials just as I do my old beater Tele. In my humble opinion, it's a very versatile unit. I wouldn't be without it.

    P.S. I read the reviews on Sweetwater. It gets quite a few raves.
     
  2. Chritty

    Chritty Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,227
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Location:
    Newcastle, Australia

    Thanks Rev.

    There were positive reviews but a lot of them did seem to be coming from people who have owned them for a long time, which makes me think they may have the old ones.

    Glad to hear the Rat 2 is worth buying. Thank you
     
  3. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    9,492
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Lawndale CA
    I didn't read the whole thread so this may be redundant.

    Overdrive and Distortion are two completely different effects.

    Overdrives are mean to push hard-running tube amp into saturation. Some introduce distortion with certain control settings. technically a clean boost, when used with an amp running right on the edge, is technically being used as an overdrive.

    Distortion pedals are NOT used as overdrives - they are strictly used to take a smooth signal and turn it into a combination of square and sawtooth waveforms - distortion.

    Fuzz is another thing altogether, and since it wasn't mentioned in the original post I'll ignore it.

    So - if you want to push an amp over the edge and get AMP distortion, use an overdrive.

    If you want to run your amp at a lower level and use a pedal for distortion, use a distortion.

    Personally, I use both, as I always use the smallest amp I can that works where I'm playing. A smaller amp cranked up blows away a big amp on "3" tonally, and can be pushed into power tube distortion with an overdrive (and in many cases just with your guitar controls.).

    But I also use a distortion pedal for slightly more radical buzzsaw sounds, or an extension of the saturated amp's singing violin-type sustain.

    So you may or may not need both, but don't mistake one for the other. They often work that way, but not very well.
     
  4. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,103
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    Silverface,

    I respectfully disagree. You are right, in theory. But in practice I find that so called "over drives" actually clip the signal, and many distortion pedals can be set with the gain low and the volume high so that they act much like an overdrive or even a so called "clean boost". If you drew a Venn diagram with "boost", "overdrive", and "distortion" pedals represented as three circles I suspect there would be more overlap than you see in the John Bonham symbol.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,056
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Back in South of England !!
    ^^^ is that a pic of his drums, from above?
     
  6. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,431
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    Fullerton CA
    It's ALL clipping. Just depends on how much you want.
    Less = Boost (Yes, even "Clean" Boosts)
    More = Overdrive
    Lots More = Distortion
    OMG Make It Stop = Fuzzzz
     
  7. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    1,158
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    The distinctions between "overdrive" and "distortion" are completely arbitrary. Overdrive is, literally, distortion. Distortion can be any number of things, as it simply means distorting the wave form via some mechanism.

    By fairly recent convention, people refer to overdrive as the more classic distorted sounds that an amp can produce when cranked, and possibly boosted. Distortion has become a term that means very heavy, saturated sound with a lot of gain. These are just arbitrary, subjective terms that have no literal relevance to what's happening within the amp or the effect.
     
  8. HotDan!

    HotDan! Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,237
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Belleview, Florida
    Not exactly. We tend to refer to overdrive, distortion and fuzz as roughly similar and they are but how they are achieved is not.

    Distortion, in general, is when the sound gets too loud for the equipment and the peaks and valleys of the waveform get clipped off.

    The effect that we call 'overdrive' simulates this, only clipping off waves that are louder than some threshold parameter. So you can play quietly and the sound isn't affected, or you can go louder and trigger it.

    The effect that we call 'distortion' applies, more or less, synthetically, the same amount of clipping to all waves, so the effect is roughly the same at all volumes.
     
  9. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    1,158
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    I think you missed my literal, undeniable point: any overdrive IS distortion. The type of distortion is debatable, but OD and fuzz are both, literally, distortion.

    Overdrive, as a term, refers to driving some component in the amp beyond its proper level. In doing, the component is driven over its limit, thus overdrive. This introduces distortion to the waveform which we perceive.

    A "distorted" guitar sound is simply one that has had its signal altered in some way to create a clipped waveform and an addition of certain harmonics that we like. It can be introduced by any number of methods. What we currently call "distortion" as an effect is a reasonably modern and arbitrary use of the term.
     
  10. HotDan!

    HotDan! Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,237
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Belleview, Florida
    I guess we are both saying the same thing...just differently...

    BTW...Eagles grad here and old time Slo Poks car club member...:D
     
  11. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    1,158
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Put another way: ALL overdrive is distortion. All fuzz is distortion. Not all distortion is overdrive. Not all distortion is fuzz.

    You drive an amp until it distorts: That's overdrive.

    You use a pedal or gainstage that distorts the signal before the amp even sees it, leading to a distorted sound at all volumes: that's distortion, too, but not achieved by overdrive.

    You use a fuzzbox to create distortion. That's distortion, again, not achieved by overdrive.

    But they are all, in fact, distortion.
     
  12. HotDan!

    HotDan! Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,237
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2013
    Location:
    Belleview, Florida
    Dang Aric! No...I didn't miss anything you said at all. And I also agree with everything you've said. Did you read everything I said? As I said it seems to be pretty much the same thing...
     
  13. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    1,158
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    No, I didn't think you missed it. That wasn't directed at you it was just another way to state what I meant for anyone else reading. We're good! :)
     
  14. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,474
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Tampa,FL
    Do you need both? I suppose not. Is it nice to have both? I think so.
     
  15. TheDTrain

    TheDTrain Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    700
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Location:
    Jersey
    Ive personally never found an OD pedal with enough drive for me. They all seem to be just boost pedals. I like a lot of gain when I solo, something thick with great sustain. Thats why I use a Rat. I had a OD808 tube screamer, sounded great, loved the tone but not enough drive. Had an OCD, basically a weaker TS. The one pedal that never left my board is the Rat II I've had for years. I hope to get a reissue of the original pedal one day, I like the warmer nature of it. For now, the Rat II is what I need. I only added the Tech 21 for some of the new songs I've written that call for a more modern sound and it was cheaper than getting a Mesa Triple Rect half stack.

    Do you need an OD and DIS is a subjective question. What are you hoping to do musically? For me I basically need a clean...ish rhythm setting, a distorted punk rhythm setting and a solo tone.

    Tech 21 Boost Distortion for punk rhythms with the boost for when I play the solo.

    The amp I use hits the sweet spot, add a bit of compressor and there's my other rhythm sound, Rat II for the solos when I'm using this sound.

    Are you in a cover band? Then yeah, you probably need a lot of options to cover the sound of each band and song. But do what's really right for you and don't fall into the "every guitarist needs this type of pedal" thing. It's wasted cash you can use to upgrade something you already have.

    I also know some guitarists who use compressors for solos to add volume and sustain.
     
  16. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,233
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney

    Using a compressor as a volume boost? If you're me, you're gonna have a bad time. Using a compressor as a compressor? Yes.


    The pedals (distortion and od) digger in that an id simulates an amp driven hard. A distortion simulates an amp which has been damaged to make the sound.

    Maybe that's wrong.
     
  17. TheDTrain

    TheDTrain Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    700
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Location:
    Jersey
    Ive seen guys blast the volume on the comp and just turn the sensitivity to around 11 olcock and that's their boost pedal.
     
  18. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,417
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Location:
    California
    Lots of technical discussion above about the difference (or non-difference) between OD, distortion, and fuzz.

    Let me see if I've got this right: when it comes down to it, they're all really distortion. The different terms (which we maybe apply somewhat arbitrarily?) refer to how much the effect distorts the signal or waveform.

    A little bit of distortion, whether created by an overdriven amp or intended to simulate an overdriven amp = OD.
    More = Distortion.
    Still more = fuzz.

    So the difference between an OD, distortion, and fuzz pedal would be how much, at maximum settings, the pedal is designed to distort the signal?
     
  19. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,103
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    Not just how much they clip: they also vary in how they clip the waveform shape. Fuzzes are more buzz saw sounding, distortion and overdrive vary from make to make but generally the clipping is smoother.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.