Are you dreaming of becoming the next Jimi Hendrix? If your answer is yes, then learning how to use your guitar pedals should be part of your path to fame. You might have already Googled the different types of guitar pedals and you may even already have tried a few. One of the most basic guitar pedals there is is the distortion pedal.
Distortion Pedal Guide: How to Find the Right Pedal for Yourself?
Distortion pedals help you tune the pitch, tone, and sound of your electric guitar. With the right distortion pedal, you can achieve the guitar effects that you desire. You can amplify sounds and at the same time simulate the level of music that you would want to get across to the audience.
Whatever type of musical genre you are into, the guitar signal should always be present between an amplifier and a music instrument because the distortion pedal is responsible for altering the signal from the musical instrument.
Now, most electric guitars are passive and do not need a power supply. The strings generate a signal that is then picked up by the amplifier. However, somewhere in between, the sound or the signal may get lost. This is the reason why you need effect pedals.
Distortion pedals help with the transfer of that unamplified signal from the guitar to the amplifier. Distortion pedals are a good investment because they boost the guitar signals so that the sound heard is still the convergence of the guitar and the pedal.
So let’s say that you have now bought your very own distortion pedals. How do we go about using them? Well, there are several approaches or methods in doing so. Here’s a simple distortion pedal guide to help you.
The first approach is that you can choose to keep two distortion pedals on your pedal board. The scheme may be that for the first distortion pedal will have: GAIN: 3, TONE: 4, LVL: 7. The second distortion pedal will have: GAIN: 8, TONE: 5, LVL: 5. One of those pedals should handle high gain sounds while the other handles low sounds.
Amplifier Channels is the most common approach used by electric guitarists. If you own only one distortion pedal or if you use your distortion pedals as amps, then this is a good approach for you. This will help you have the option of achieving different sounds with the amplifier.
If you are using amplifier channels for the purpose of changing distortion sounds, the amp should be the source of distortion. With this method, you can have two channels and two kinds of distortion as well – one that handles high gain sounds and another for subtle sounds.
A Volume Knob or volume pedal is one of the most versatile pedals today. This helps you adjust the distortion’s tone through the volume knob or volume pedal. However, there are a few setbacks for using this approach:
- By way of cutting the volume, you change not only the distortion but also the aspect of your tone.
- The use of volume knobs or volume pedals is difficult to manipulate.
- You don’t get to control the tone by using two pedals or amp.
Chorus and Verse are very important parts of the song. It should be turned ON for Chorus and OFF for the verse. Generally speaking, use the distortion pedals for high-intensity music and avoid it during low-intensity music. This is a rule of thumb but not necessarily required as there are a lot of musicians who chose not to follow this.
In modern times, most choruses are intense while verses are much quieter. This is noticeable especially in the world of rock. Remember, distortion is for the purpose of raising the intensity of the song but do this in moderation. Too much distortion will make your music sound like noise.
Distortion may sound a bit heavy especially if you are still starting out. It provides an effect that can help you sustain your sound and give it a bit of crunch. However, as explained, moderation is key. Too much distortion can hide the actual sound that your guitar is producing.
Music has evolved in so many ways since the 80s and 90s. Distortion is more limited today because guitar players would need a more varied range of tones and more skills to achieve a clean sound. It is better to have dynamic and versatile distortion pedal settings so that you can properly utilize the use of distortion pedals. Here’s hoping that you found this distortion pedal guide helpful.
For more, check out our list of the best overdrive pedals for blues!