ProGuitarShop

Saturation, Demystified!

August 28, 2013

Who knew dirt was so difficult?!

One of the toughest customer queries we face here at PGS is helping people find the perfect pedal for dirt. Everyone has a unique rig, unique abilities, unique ears, etc. There are so many options in the land of dirt (boost, overdrive, distortion, fuzz) to say nothing of the sheer quantity of pedals available. It’s not just trying to help someone find a needle in a haystack, it’s trying to help them find one specific needle out of the hundred of them hiding in the haystack!

Overdrive. Distortion. Fuzz. To get to the bottom of what each of those tones are, we’ve got to start with actual sound waves. When pedals or amps are pushing out audio signals and the level reaches the point where the output level cannot be increased without changing the input signal—clipping occurs. A clean audio signal viewed by a scope will be a line of smoothly rounded waves. When clipping occurs, the peaks and valleys of that signal are no longer smooth and rounded but instead flatten out at angles. This creates: distortion! Voila! Pedals and amps are therefore designed to manipulate that waveform at varying levels—boosts and overdrive pedals push the waveform peaks and valleys just a bit, while distortions and fuzz pedals crush the signal curves.

Amp saturation is typically thought of as the holy grail of dirty tones—a good tube amp being pushed into saturation is unbeatable. In the days of yore, this meant cranking up your Twin or AC30 to levels that were only appropriate for the stage of Madison Square Garden! Impractical! And dangerous to your hearing! Thankfully, the amp market has seen resurgence in small, low-wattage tube amps which let you crank the amp and push the tubes to get that magical tube saturation at lower volumes. Running one of these smaller “lunchbox amps” along with additional signal-crushing pedals can yield wonderful results.

 

A boost pedal can be just the thing you need to push your amp just over the edge into breaking up. Boost pedals are designed to increase the output of your instrument without adding any other color or changing your instruments tone and are fabulous tools for reaching the sweet spot of your amp’s own saturation. Some companies add boost functionality into other pedals—the Mojo Hand Rook Royale is a pedal that pairs an overdrive and a modified Echoplex preamp boost, allowing for ultimate tonal flexibility for you and your tube amp. Xotic makes a very size-conscious boost pedal, the EP Booster, that effortless fits on any pedalboard and that has more juice than you or your amp could ever need to find that sweet spot. 

 

 

Many players use overdrive pedals AS boost pedals; Zakk Wylde famously used a Boss Super Overdrive in front of his Marshalls as a lead boost. Overdrive pedals go one step further than boosts, though, as they’re capable of producing added overdrive from within the pedal—which usually layers nicely with an already-overdriven amp OR colors a clean amp. Overdrives typically allow you to clean up the signal by rolling back your guitar’s volume knob and can be extremely flexible tools in your arsenal. Almost everyone has at one point owned a version of the classic Ibanez Tubescreamer—a pedal so famous that nearly every pedal maker has done a clone of the circuit. It’s symmetrical, soft clipping is arguably a benchmark for overdrive pedals.

 

 

 

Where overdrive pedals clip the signal just enough, distortion pedals clip the signal like mad. The sound wave is crushed into hard edges and angles, creating a gnarly wall of sound. On the whole (but not as a rule, necessarily), distortion pedals are often used with cleaner amps; because they’re so over the top, distortion pedals don’t typically add much to an already dirty amp, so players frequently use them in their signal chain for either/or dirt (either totally clean or totally dirty). The Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret MKIII was designed to be left on at all times in front of a clean amp to turn it into a loud, distorted Marshall-style amp.

 

Fuzz is on the bleeding, not cutting, edge of distortion/clipping and radically alters the sound wave. Fuzz is typically divided up into two main “types” of fuzz—one based on circuits using germanium transistors and the other based on circuits using silicon transistors. The Fuzz Face (originally by Dallas Arbiter) and Big Muff (Electro Harmonix) are two distinct examples of these different fuzz circuits. Silicon fuzzes are known for being better suited for playing single note lines that are fat, have a ton of sustain, and extra gain over germanium fuzzes. However, this is not to say that there are only two types of fuzz in this world—PGS alone carries over 140 different fuzz pedals that land all over the map in terms of tone, gain, and distortion. A few fuzz-favoring pedal companies are even making pedals with multiple fuzz circuits inside them—the Blackout Effectors Twosome Dual Fuzz is a dual pedal featuring the circuits of two of Blackout’s most popular fuzzes.

 

The world of saturation and gain is a giant one—there’s a nearly endless supply of tones available to you. I always advise customers to make the best educated guess they can on what pedal is going to be The One, but to not get discouraged if it isn’t—you usually have to try a few before you get to one that you like. When possible, get a few pedals at once to compare to one another—just like with wine or coffee tasting, it’s amazing how much easier it is to identify “flavors” and “tones” when you’re hearing them directly next to one another. And even though we at PGS can’t always find the right needle on the first try, we’re always here to help you look for it—give us a call any time to talk shop!

 

What’s your favorite dirt pedal/amp combo and how’d you lock in on it?! Inquiring minds want to know… Thanks as always for reading! See you next time…  -PGS Fitz

 

 

Comments

  1. john silveira says:

    fulltone OCD. sound as good as an overpriced klon and better.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm
  2. Mathew Coyte says:

    A Keely modded TS808 into a Marshall JMP 50 Watt and a Marshall TV Quad is the holy grail. It breaks up at the sweet spot and allows for dynamic control. smash the strings and you get brutal growl, touch them and you get a sweet, almost bell-like clean tone.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm
  3. Michael Poenar says:

    I use 3 ODs. One transparent, ( fulltone fulldrive 2 mosfet ), something with a mid hump to beef up my single coils (ts9) and then my amps OD for something organic. I find it to cover all the OD areas I want and need.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm
  4. Jorge van der Linden says:

    DOD 250 preamp is just “sweet”.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm
  5. Allan Valdez says:

    Fulltone OCD and Paul C Tim into any amp sounds incredible. I’ve even used it on a powered monitor when we played at a church without guitar amps.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm
  6. Steven Gagnon says:

    nice article! I would like to know what kind of overdrive/distortion pedal would be the closest to the original Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal! I’m trying to get as close as possible to John Mayer’s dirt tone! I already have the Fulldrive 2 Mosfet and a TS9, but I feel like there’s still something I can’t get to with these pedals and I know his main distortion is the original Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal! thank you very much!

    PS : No Boss/MXR/tone sucking pedal!

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm
  7. Mike says:

    A Custom Guitar Tone(local modder) modded TS9, into any good quality tube amp, just on the edge of breaking up and a Devi Ever Soda Meiser when I want crazy fuzz. My current amps being a Peavey Classic 50 212 and Classic 20 both with 12AY7 pre-amp tubes in the V2(Classic 50) and V1 position(Classic 20)  Once I put those lower drive pre-amp tubes, I found my holy grail, at least with these amps.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm
  8. Atomic says:

    I have used the Fulltone OCD for a few years and always liked it, but I’ve been running my guitar through the Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive for awhile now and really love what it has done for my sound.  Smooth and dynamic.  I was never a big fuzz fan, that is until I bought the Wampler Velvet Fuzz from you guys.  Diggin’ it!  My guitar grew three sizes that day.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm
  9. Timmy Spillane says:

    I’ve got a many layered approach toward getting dirty…my 1998 Fender Hot Rod Deville 410 has its two stage drive channel, alongside it’s clean channel that still gives a slight amount of dirt when cranked past 40%...on top of that, I have an Akai Overdrive3 pedal that gives me a creamy, slightly saturated overdrive that pushes the dirt channel into near mayhem…if I want to go totally ballistic, I stomp on my reissue Big Muff pi and let the gods of fuzz melt my face off!

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:01 pm
  10. george samuel says:

    Coudnt live without a MI Tube Zone at the end of the dirt chain before my SS amp. Before that is a Blackstar HT Dual. Mix and match things before that. Often a BC109 fuzz to use on by itself but a compressor before the fuzz often helps it along a bit.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm
  11. Daniel Thompson says:

    I have two dirt chains, A and B. The A has my clean boost, an MXR MicroAmp, then OD is the MXR GT-OD, for distortion, it’s the Wampler Plextortion, and for fuzz I use either my own germanium tonebender clone, or a fuzz factory clone by GimpFX.  And I’ll typically only use one or two effects at a time in that chain. The B chain is just simply a Visual Sound Chainsaw, which I find very responsive, cleans up nicely, and seems to add harmonic overtones in just the right way. Of course everything gets switched around more often than I care to admit.  It’s a journey, not a destination.

    I’ve learned to keep the tone and gain set low, around 9:00, or alternatively scooped mids if that’s an option.  Except for the fuzz boxes.  I mostly leave them wide open when I use them.  I mean, why try to make a fuzz sound like anything than a fuzz?

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm
  12. ChopItUpBuryIt says:

    A very wise man once said: “Turn down the gain and play guitar, not amp.”  (or in this case OD pedal)

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm
  13. Dave Davis says:

    I like the Keeley Java Boost in the clean channel of my Egnater Tweaker 40 for not-too-heavy distortion that responds well to rolling off the volume on my Broadcaster.  For greater distortion, I use a Way Huge Pork Loin…very nice for classic rock.  Of course, the other channel of the Tweaker can be set for any amount of distortion. I use that when I want something heavier than the Pork Loin.  For over-the-top distortion: all three.  Variety is the name of the game, although I have yet to nail the violin smoothness of Eric Johnson…perhaps I’m using the wrong batteries?

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm
  14. Jake says:

    CMATmods Super Signa Drive works for me with my ‘61 Fender Showman. I’m not into the melt your face fuzz anymore. Being more into cleaner tones. I find the SSD is far beyond adequate. I can’t for the life of me understand why there isn’t more chatter about this pedal. It still allows you to hear the characteristics of your guitar’s wood with low to medium output single coil pickups. Awesome string attack is retained. Great build quality and Chad Matthews is a stand up guy. What’s not to like? And, no I’m not endorsed just satisfied with the product. Credit should given when it’s deserved.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm
  15. Surferbell says:

    I almost sold my Fulltone OCD in favor of other dirt pedals. I’m really glad I didn’t. After spending a lot of time with different dirt pedals I’ve realized that the OCD ‘s flat Eq let’s your amp and guitar sound like your amp and guitar boosted.  I use the OCD with Marshall amps. In the LP switch position I can run the volume up on the amp much higher to involve the power tubes. I’ve found that using an inefficient speaker like a greenback 96 to 97 db helps too. For me power tube distortion is the best saturation. Hotter pickups is another option to get your amp saturated. If volume is an issue attenuate.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm
  16. Joe says:

    I have a few choices here. An EWS Lil Brute Drive, great for classic rock crunch,then a Catalinbread RAH for the Zep tones, a Fulltone Plimsoul for mild to wild then my favorite the EP Booster. In that order to the front end of either my Jack Daniels Classic 30 (Peavey) or my recently handwired Reissue JTM45 (thanks to Nik at Abraxus and the KT66’s). Usage depending on the LP’s or Tele’s…..  Fun fun fun….

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm
  17. CBJ says:

    I think too much attention is given to this brand or that brand as being the best or as being the one that Joe super stud plays. It’s so misleading.
    Yes, there are many fine devices out there and they are ALL capable of producing GREAT sound and some are even capable of creating absolutely horrible lo-fi sonic wonder if such is your wish.
    Look at some of the Zvex products or the trick of running low voltage into the pedal.
    It’s ALL useable . . .
    The key is CONTEXT.
    That and the fact that the knobs also turn counter clockwise.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm
  18. Joe says:

    Well I’m pretty sure the question asked was with regard to what pedal/amp combination you used.
    So I guess that is asking for specifics like brand and product names…
    And voltages, I like to run batteries. Changing them can be a pain but they last quite a while and allow for that sag at about 1/2 to 3/4 of their life span….also I find them to be more user friendly than some power supply units are with higher gain settings…
    No digs here, just positive vibes!

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm
  19. Theron Kaye says:

    Love my Wampler ‘57, my Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret MKIII & Galileo - all distinctively different and all dirty sweet.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm
  20. Alexa says:

    I’ll use a Hyperion by Devi Ever into a 20-watt Jet City, it plays beautifully with the amp cranked, actually. Either that or this big Roland keyboard amp, it sounds really good for guitar, too.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm
  21. ACG says:

    I have been relying on my tube amp (Mesa Boogie & 65 Amps Ventura) for all the saturated tube sound.  I have been rebuilding a pedal board since I got these amps and I am finding out that many pedals do not react well with an already saturated tube or that certain pedals do not work well with different tube amps. I listen to these demos, which are a clean amp with a pedal added on top, but when I try them with my amps, they sound like crap,  I wonder if I should drop the amp distortion and just rely on pedals for the sound I want or go through the painful process of finding just the right pedals that my amps like. So far I like a Timmy with the gain down on top of a highly saturated amp.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm
  22. albinoSQUIRREL says:

    Like was said in the article, SO much depends on whether you are running into a clean channel, a dirty channel, or a full on distorted channel. A BIG thing is what amp you are using, and guitar! I don’t believe that one brand is better than another and all that hype. Do everything you can to try different pedals with YOUR RIG. Then make your decision. I do have a couple of pedals with modded circuits, but ONLY because they sound good with my rig.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm
  23. anth says:

    tc electronic mojomojo in to a vox ac5c1 spot on ;o)

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm
  24. Adrian says:

    It’s amazing all of the people here touting their “Holy Grail"s. Every person has a personal flavour in the sound they are searching for - they look for specific tones and responses and they don’t always line up with one another.

    The funny thing, however, is that most guitar tones end up sounding like most other guitar tones in the genre in the mix - irrespective of the variation and tone shaping added by the artist.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm
  25. Gerhard Strydom says:

    I run a Crowther Hotcake into a Fulltone Fat Boost 3, set for mild volume & treble boost, into a non top boost ‘63 AC30. Its a pretty sound!

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm
  26. Petr Lacina says:

    T-rex - Alberta, MI Audio - Crunch box and Suhr - Riot into any amp sounds incredible, believe me.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm
  27. Tom Veldhuizen says:

    I use a few, my main is the Damage controll Womanizer pre-amp, but I also use the famous lil’green Ibanez monster in front of it. Then end of the line I have a class A Radial PB1 booster. If needed I can bring hell to your doorstep ;-)

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm
  28. Lance says:

    Dirt pedals make the most sense to me when you’re using a clean amp - some of my favourites have included the Tech 21 XXL, the Ibanez TS9 and the excellent Retroman Lola (Mk II tonebender clone).

    These days I’m getting my dirt from a Matamp Kingstreet head, low power at around 22 watts - pushing a couple of G12M Heritage speakers, which contibute a very special kind of dirt by themselves - and a Ceriatone C-later tube effects loop, which adds another layer of touch sensitive tube drive. There’s enough dynamics between these pieces of equipment to get almost any dirt I might need, but I still love pushing the whole thing into meltdown using an octave fuzz - like a tycobrahe or roger mayer Octavia, or the Ampeg Scramber clone I’m currently using.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 6:57 pm
  29. Robert says:

    I use a Marshall 18 watt clone to the point of breakup, just a small edge, when the volume of the guitar is on max. For OD & distortion I use the Fulltone GT500. I use de OD & distortion independent and sometimes to push it al little bit more I punch in the Trebletool from Paul Lenders in front of everything. In the fuzz sector comes the Fulltone Ultimate Octave. That covers all the different kinds of dirt, in combination with the guitars volume knob, I need.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm
  30. Elia says:

    My signal chain for dirt: LPB-1 boost, Fulltone OCD, Fulltone RTO, custom made silicon fuzz face, EHX american big muff. my main guitar is a Tele Thinline ‘72 plugged into a Fender supersonic blonde Head. The tonal options this pedals give me are incredible, fulltone overdrives are awesome for their clear dynamic tone… they can be very aggressive but they never loose their warmth.
    sometimes a t-rex comp nova compressor before my lpb-1 (engaged at 12 o’clock) does all i need….. add just a little bit of spring reverb and a dynamic and sustained pure tube overdrive is served!

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm
  31. Kevin Maxfield says:

    I’ve been slowly (but very happily) amassing something of a collection of pedals, partly just for the fun of collecting them, and partly because I’ve always liked trying different things.  If there’s one thing I’ve found, it’s that different pedals work with different rigs.  There is no one ultimate brand or box.  What sounds brilliant with a Telecaster going into a Vox amp set just on the edge of breakup may very well sound like crap if used with an Epiphone Dot going into a clean Fender, or vice versa.  I think the experimenting is half the fun, but there’s not much point in being a brand snob.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm
  32. Reggie says:

    I bought an Ethos Overdrive. I waited 15 months for it to arrive. I NEVER bonded with it. The Ethos was just “too busy of a Overdrive Pedal. I “dumped: The Ethos Overdrive for a Hermida Zendrive.
    The Zendrive is just a KILLER straight forward Overdrive pedal. I run it ininto the front of a Fender 100 watt Twin amp. The sound…..GLORIOUS !

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm
  33. Ryan says:

    Great article. I run three drives on my board. I have a JHS mini foot fuzz pre compression and then I have my two OD layered after the compressor. My first stage is a JHS Morning Glory which then runs into a Paul C. Timmy. I absolutely love the tones I get with my Gretsch with filtertrons. My compressor is a CMAT MODS deluxe signa comp. I am looking at adding one more dirt pedal as a third stage. I am looking at the Nobels ODR-1 or the Lovepedal Amp Eleven. I run everything into a RC Boost which is last in my chain and stays on all the time and then into my VOX AC15HW1.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm
  34. CBJ says:

    @Joe
    “Well I’m pretty sure the question asked was with regard to what pedal/amp combination you used.”

    My point is that the pedal/amp combination is near meaningless without a given context.
    What may work in a ‘Sonic Youth’ situation may not work in a ‘Perfect Circle’ context and neither will work trying to sound like Stevie Ray.
    Without a communication of ‘desired sound’ an ‘equipment list’ is as useful as a list of ingredients without a recipe.
    Stating that “I have xyz pedal going into 123 amp and it sounds great” means exactly what? Other than you like it?
    Sometimes I like my original Boss SD1. Sometimes my Rat R2DU. Sometimes they sound better being fed by my Naga Viper and sometimes by my Kalamazoo Gold and sometimes I’ll toss in my homemade one but stating that without any context of what I’m trying to achieve is simply flexing my ‘pedal muscles’. I have this and this and this and I RAWK!
    (On a side note to further complicate things . . . they all sound different depending on what guitar I use and if I’m using compression)

    Keep in mind I am actually saying that “it’s all good” but that without giving a context . . . not very useful.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm
  35. Gabe says:

    I currently run 4 dirt boxes. My main guitar is a Strat into a Fulltone OCD- Lovepedal Kanji 9- Fulltone Distortion Pro- Way Huge Swollen Pickle - into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe with a Celestian.

    I’m probably about to change out the Distortion pro for a Wampler pinnacle and the Swollen Pickle eventually for a Sun Face . I think I’m going to add an EP also as a stay on all the time.

    That all may change when I change amps in the near future too. HAHA

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm
  36. pall_5 says:

    I like to keep it simple.  Guitar, Big Muff (discontinued Russian), Tweed Deluxe set with a bit of “hair” on it.  Roll back the volume on the guitar for cleans, kick on the Muff for saturation.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm
  37. Joe says:

    @CBJ, all well and good. A good guitar/amp combination as foundation is key. I’d like to say that a tube amp is a must, but all of these things including your point of context, are relative to the individual player. Eg., what I think is a terrible amp (solid state…) I have heard some players sound amazing on… A lot of these parameters, are in the hands of the players.
    I tend to play clean a lot, whether I turn the guitar’s volume down or just push my clean channel it works great, but there are times for dirt and saturation, and options are a good thing!

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm
  38. Dilson Benevides says:

    Fulltone OCD does the trick and It’s not so expensive.

    posted on August 28, 2013 at 10:55 pm
  39. Craig says:

    My primary setup includes a Les Paul Junior with a 1964 Fender Bandmaster (a pretty clean amp unless you crank it to 8 or 10). In between I’m using a Lovepedal Eternity Fuse or a Kanji 9 (depending on whether I want a little or a lot of gain), and I fatten them up for leads with a Boss OD-3. People love to hate on Boss pedals, but I’ve never found anything better to boost another overdrive than this one; it thickens the leads and adds just the right amount of compression and sustain. Might swap the Kanji 9 for a Lovepedal E6 though ...

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 12:03 am
  40. Al K. Hall says:

    I pretty much rely on my amp(s) for overdrive and/or distortion, but I do have an Ibanez TS-707 on both of my pedal boards. I’m not looking for a massive amount of gain, and I have found that the 707 sounds good regardless of which amp channel I’m using. It’s set for a slight volume bump and just on the edge of break-up in the clean channel (the actual settings change with the guitar being used). I’ve tried other OD pedals, but the 707 is the one that sounds “right” to me-subjectively speaking, of course. I do have to admit that I have quit auditioning OD pedals, as that addiction can become OPPRESSIVELY expensive.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 12:36 am
  41. Daniel Thompson says:

    For a clean amp I use a modified Fender Frontman 15R - solid state.  My tube amp is a Fender Blues Jr NOS.  Overdriving or boosting the Frontman doesn’t produce the expected results.  Aside from that it takes pedals well, which is just one of the reasons I love it.  It also has a really nice, but under-appreciated distortion channel.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 12:36 am
  42. Myles Mintzler says:

    I think I got it covered…. Les Paul Classic Custom(maple fretboard) into the dirt chain of Marshall BB2, Boss HM2, Voodoo Lab Superfuzz and finally to an Ibanez TubeScreamer TS808. All that into a Peavey Classic 30 with a Celestion 30 in it and Mullard re-issued EL84’s….

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 1:49 am
  43. SquidTurbo says:

    I love the Fulltone Fulldrive mosfet 2. A nice distortion/OD that can be dialed down from mild to wild. On the other side is a boost that can take me right to Santanaland.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 2:15 am
  44. Ian Pritchard says:

    as far as the gain section of my board goes, i have:

    TS808 (gain pot broke so its stuck on full gain) -> Smallsound/Bigsound Mini -> OCD -> sparkling clean Traynor solid state head.

    From those three pedals I can get all the different ranges of dirt that I’d like, but still keep my cleans (i play in a post rock band, so my cleans are important to me)

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 2:17 am
  45. Steve says:

    I use primarily Mesa and Orange amps - However, I also use the clean channels to hit with my Catalinbread pedals (DLSMkIII, CB30, Formula 5, RAH, Nagaviper, SCP) which give me more flavors in addition to the awesome stock amp tones.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 3:22 am
  46. Cliff says:

    Nice article. I love this chance for everyone to talk about their OD pedals. I notice a few folks who are missing the point - nobody here is saying that their setup is the only best ever setup that everybody should own. It’s just what they use/like. Everyone’s taste is different. That’s part of what makes this fun!
    Currently I’m running my Mesa Mini Rectifier on the 10 watt mode just barely passed clean - getting some sweet el84 overdrive at stage volume! For gain I have a Lovepedal Amp50 always on at the lowest setting for a subtle sweetness. A Fulltone OCD for nice responsive overdrive. And an Amptweaker Tightdrive with a delay pedal in the fx loop for a lead boost.
    Perfect? No, but it’s working nicely for me.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 4:29 am
  47. Robbie Austin says:

    A Fulldrive 2 into a Fender Princeton Reverb ‘65 Reissue. Absolutely gorgeous tone for either my strat or my Les Paul

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 7:58 am
  48. Ken says:

    I saw the You Tube demo on the new Bogner Red Distortion pedal and liked its Marshall like tone. Has anyone tried one?
    I currently use a Pork Loin or Daelectro Cool Cat Distortion pedal ahead of my Genz Benz El Diablo amp. The Pork Loin gives me a Van Halen like tone and the Danelectro does a great Southern Rock tone.but I’m looking for more of a marshal tone without blowing the roof off the house.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 8:51 am
  49. Daniel Thompson says:

    Whoops… trying to get this page to stop flooding my email inbox!  Trying uncheck!

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 9:22 am
  50. CBJ says:

    @Joe
    Point taken.
    However, like many painters may have a ‘blue period’ where most of their work is predominantly well . . .  blue, they always sooner or later expand beyond the confines of such limitations.

    In my meager opinion, if one ever finds their ‘perfect’ sound you may as well unplug and move on because all that is left is . . . repetition. 
    Keep in mind that Zappa recorded some of his tracks with a Pignose amp and many great blues recordings were with Teisco guitars and both Lindley and Cooder get some perfect tones using bizarre equipment choices and pawnshop prizes.
    Heck some of the CBS era Fender Amps that people shunned were actually designed by Rivera.
    I’m just sayin’ that it’s ALL good. . . in the right context (heck even in the wrong context I can envision a hard neo punk version of Blue Velvet).
    Peace

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 9:24 am
  51. john silveira says:

    like I mentioned earlier, A fulltone ocd is all you need. big bucks for klon centaur, all hype in my opinion. I also have a catalinbread rah which is another great transparent pedal.  I run a 1978 ibanez artist with seymour duncan seth lovers, matched pots and bumblebee caps in 50’s wiring
    into an ocd or rah into a 1973 traynor ygm-3 with groove tubes and celestion speaker. all the headroom needed with transparent crunch. pretty simple rig.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 10:41 am
  52. SCHN says:

    Intersound IVP. can do a lot of stuff.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm
  53. Michael says:

    After years of using a TS9 the Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret MKIII is quite an amazing pedal.
    I put it into the front of a Blackstar 20 loaded with Hellatone 30, and a Line 6 M9 in the effects loop for more boost using the M9 in the eq settings with delay. Endless saturation and every note rings clean.
    Its Stratocaster bliss.

    posted on August 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm
  54. Rick says:

    Boss BD-2 into a Boss SD-1 for boost…Fender/Marshall amps on A/B switch…‘96 American Strat loaded with Lindy Fralin pickups…other FX’s as needed…

    posted on August 30, 2013 at 1:36 am
  55. MoJoToJo says:

    I use three dirt pedals into my Blackstars clean setting with a touch of gain, TS-9 into MI AudioTubeZone into wait for it, I love this elcheapo pedal a Joyo US Dream, I can get most any tone I want by cascading these pedals into each other & making use of the guitars volume control :)

    posted on August 30, 2013 at 8:23 am
  56. Jake says:

    The main thing I’ve learned is that the traditional types will always try to convince you, you only need one, but tweak-ability is extremely valuable, especially when your ears or music taste changes, and I promise at some point, one or the other will.  Get one (or more) of each: Distortion, overdrive, and fuzz, they may all be dirt, but they are not created equal! I used to buy into the one pedal thing, with an extremely versatile distortion, but when I got my Tim, I realized how embarrassingly under-equipped I had been.

    posted on August 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm
  57. Waldir Zoller Filho says:

    I use a BK Butler Tube Driver, with a 1973 Rohren-Siemens 12ax7. And if I need a clean boost, I switch the tube for a 1982 Sylvania USA 12au7a. Nothing more than that. Guitar -> BK -> AMP.

    posted on August 31, 2013 at 11:24 am
  58. Steve says:

    Bad monkey,sd 1,‘78 custom badass,big muff (tone wicker) and lots of others that have come and gone. The one I keep coming back to and is massively underrated is tc dark matter a little noise to put up with, but an excellent plexi tone bass and treb 2voicings and cheap compared to plextortion and dirt litt secret and in my opinion just as good

    posted on September 3, 2013 at 1:07 am
  59. Forrest Provoost says:

    Nocturne dynobrain pre amp is the best (sounds like space echo boost)

    posted on September 4, 2013 at 4:55 am
  60. decy says:

    Chinese manufacturers not only have the high-end craft. but also make their great efforts to reflect those original Replica Handbags, ensuring that their replicas have the same logo, colors, sizes, styles, patterns, sitching & series number as the actual branded bags. Besides to the same high quality design control on appearance, the functions are made to be long lasting &  similar to the authentic original ones. Except for handbag specialists,  fashionable girls & ladies can hard to tell the replicas from the actual ones. You can basically fool people in to believing you are carrying a fashionable actual designer handbag, which will add your confidence & glamour much.In modern society, they can find all kinds of designer Belts online in the handbags market, you can basically pick up your favorable or some from your local department shops or online stores. In case you are a fashionista who keen on collecting faddish replica handbags on the interent, you must have found that there’s huge handbag counterfeits crafted by Chinese manufacturers. When you type “replica handbags” or “designer replica handbags” or something like these in to Google search engine, you will find lots of Chinese replica handbag retail or wholesale stores come out right away.

    posted on September 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm
  61. Bob says:

    I run my Xotic Effects AC Plus into a Jet City JCA20H with JCA24S 212 cab. That thing will certainly give you a clean boost… or a nice dirty kick in the balls from channel A. Super versatile, super underrated IMO.

    posted on September 19, 2013 at 4:31 am
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  63. Alvin says:

    Hardwire CM-2 and BOSS BC-2 into Marshall MG50DFX clean channel - good for Strats, Teles and hollowbodies

    posted on December 18, 2013 at 12:50 am

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