1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Stacking distortion pedals?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by davemontalvo, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. davemontalvo

    davemontalvo TDPRI Member

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    16
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2020
    Location:
    PA
    I understand putting an overdrive in front of a distortion pedal but I've seen people with boards having 4 or 5 different distortion pedals lined up.

    Is it normal to stack more than 2 distortion pedals together? At what point to you hit diminishing returns with your signal being altered? How do you know what affect each pedal is having if you've got more than a few stacked?

    Are there rules of thumb people follow (like OD before distortion)?
     
  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    34,028
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    I would say it's more rule of ear, and that is: if it sounds good, it sounds good
     
  3. SomeGuyNamedRob

    SomeGuyNamedRob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    43
    Posts:
    201
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2020
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Not sure if you might find this video helpful:


    It's geared more to the harder end of the distortion spectrum, but I think has some useful info on how to blend and stack distortion/OD/Fuzz sounds
     
    davemontalvo likes this.
  4. arlum

    arlum Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    433
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2018
    Location:
    O'Fallon, MO
    I would think of this setup as a set of options. This one by itself. This one by itself. These two together. Hopefully the owner of this board will find their prime signal chain options and discard the rest.
     
    Obsessed and davemontalvo like this.
  5. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,514
    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Location:
    wisconsin
    If you use one as a boost, it works about the same. A Metal Zone makes a really good EQ shaper and boost actually, and a DS-1 works well as a solo boost into a distortion pedal.

    With the gain at zero on the distortion functioning as the boost, of course.
     
    davemontalvo likes this.
  6. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,657
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    I dont normally own more than 2 distortion pedals at once, but fuzz on fuzz (on fuzz) is a thing. I liked running graphic fuzz last, muff first, experimenting with cheap stuff in middle (dano one was neat. Fuzz on a digitech multi pedal was poo, I've thought about picking up the oddball handmade stuff to recreate this....)

    Basically, I'd set the muff sustainy, set the middle one up kinda wooly, sculpt with graphic fuzz with its dirtiness about middle of the slide, and then play with knobs from there.

    I'd assume it could work similar on distortion, but the unruly sound of fuzz with the ability to sculpt the mids up a tad and highs more balanced worked while maintaining the thumpyness and dinosaur wrestling gain levels.

    For dirt, maybe a Rat and something with more sculptability after it? Using the rat gain sparingly and the next pedals volume sparingly, it could be interesting. You would not have alot of great sounds, but you could dig up good stuff.
    The really heavy stuff that isn't as boring as humanly possible probably wouldn't benefit from a long line of pedals more than like 4 that worked well together. Itd get pretty soupy.
     
  7. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    483
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2018
    Location:
    Ferndale, MI
    No rules in my opinion, but something to remember is that the last pedal in your stack has the most influence.
     
    davemontalvo likes this.
  8. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    4,200
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Location:
    Denmark
    A really good guitarist around here uses two Metal Zones , and I have never thought his tone sucked in any way........Allthough it is probably the most hated pedal on the internet.....LOL
    I have used no more than two , say a Super Overdrive and a Blues Driver
    Sometimes , with certain settings , or different pickups , the tone can be fine , but I feel it messes with the attack , or dynamic of picking in some way........It gets too "distant" from me as a player , hard to describe...
     
  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    12,617
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    I dont know that it's too "normal" to stack them, (both on at once) but I do it occasionally and others do too.

    -People often have multi OD's on the board just to have options playing live, not necessarily to have more than one on at once. For instance, I have a Gain Changer set to use as a clean pedal with a hint of grit. With one push I can go from that to a more sustained fuller OD for a lead or another part of a song.

    -One thing I have discovered, and should use more, is actual stacking of OD's, ie: both on at once. What I have discovered is it is not louder (necessarily) but adds more drive for those situations where the soloing seems sterile and not good like another venue. With both on, takes the treble edge off, and it sounds better ..... surprisingly, easier to control volume, not harder. Go figure.
     
    davemontalvo likes this.
  10. tele-nova

    tele-nova TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    96
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have three "distortion" pedals on my board. A dod 250 that I use as a boost with a little dirt, an ocd that I use as a medium gain, and a classic fuzz that I use for really heavy, well, fuzz sounds.

    Sometimes I just use one of them. Sometimes I stack them. Usually I stack either the fuzz or the ocd with the dod. This is my most common stacking method.

    On the rare occasion I stack all three. It is super gritty and produces some cool feedback, especially with my semi hollow body. It reminds me of some of jack whites tones. However, I use it sparingly and only if a song calls for that much drive.
     
    davemontalvo likes this.
  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    25,149
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    As mentioned above, this is typically a way to have different options available and I doubt anyone would typically use more than two at the same time. One could be set for "boost" at anytime.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.