Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rediscovery of Distortion Pedals

If you've read my posts from late last year you'd know that I was working on converting my old tin shed into a studio & workshop.

Now I wasn't exactly flush with cash for this project and had to make do with what I had available to me. My studio is divided into two parts. 

A gear room and a recording booth.

The booth works fairly well. Nobody can hear my dodgy acoustic guitar playing or my lousy singing outside of the shed.

Even playing electric guitar I can get a decent tone to "tape" for clean sounds. But the problem I have is that if I want distortion from the output tubes (my favourite kind) I can only really do that during the day, even with my 5 watt amps.

I know for a fact that it can't be heard in my own home, which is just about the same distance as my closest neighbours to the recording room. So in theory I could play as loud as I want inside with the gear that I have, but I just don't feel comfortable with it.

The obvious thing to do of course, was use distortion pedals and turn the volume down. Sure, its obvious now, but I didn't even consider it until now.

I have several distortions and fuzzes, but I think maybe that I was a little prejudiced toward achieving my favourite tone.

So last night I had a hankering for a wee bit of grit and decided to fire up my pedal board.

I stuck to overdrive types for this session.

The ones that I had on hand are as follows:
  • Digitech Bad Monkey
  • Tech 21 Sansamp GT2
  • Boss Combo Drive
The Bad Monkey has been in my collection from way back.
Its a nice simple pedal that is kind of a Tube Screamer clone.
The results were pleasant and ranged between a little grit to nice full overdrive, which is great for chunking out the power chords.

The Sansamp is one that I had never used with a guitar amp(only direct). I know, ridiculous right?
It was excellent.
Each setting was really usable and not at all fizzy.
Lots of versatility and had a great gentle overdrive, but was not quite the death metal machine that I thought it would be on the high gain settings. Not that it really matters. I haven't played that sort of stuff since 1996.

The Combo Drive is really quite effective at generating Vox-like tones and as I've stated in an earlier article, goes from clean to seriously metal. Its a great little pedal for those looking for a tone change, without the massive investment. They're quite cheap at the moment too.

I felt like a kid in a toy store. Rediscovering distortion was something that I needed to do. Hopefully I'll actually be proactive with making music.

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