View Full Version : overdrive pedal

08-28-2008, 06:12 PM
this is my deal, i started playing acuustic guitar about a year ago, and a month or two ago i started playing electric guitar, so my question is what is a good/cheap distortion or overdrive pedal or whatever its called

08-28-2008, 07:17 PM
Depends on what kind of sound you want and what style you play. Distortion pedals are usually harsher than overdrive pedals. Overdrive pedals are usually smoother and give a more "natural" sound.

I use a Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive and cannot recommend it enough. It has a clean knob that allows you to blend your clean signal with your overdriven signal, allowing you to dial in just the right amount for what you want.

08-28-2008, 08:05 PM
overdrive and distortion are compeltely different things mang

08-28-2008, 08:23 PM
No, they aren't. Overdrive is a type of distortion.

08-28-2008, 08:34 PM
well i guess they're the same thing in the sense that they both distort your sound to a dirtier sound, but typically they're used in different ways dude. Overdrive is often used like, overtop of a distortion to give it a boost, as well as over a clean channel with low drive to boost that.

Overdrive is more of a boost, whereas distortion is like, the whole sound.

08-28-2008, 08:43 PM
I believe that you're getting overdrive confused with gain.

08-28-2008, 08:49 PM
not at all.
quite rarely have i seen, or personally used overdrive for the effect itself rather than to showcase and boost something else

08-28-2008, 10:21 PM
Alright, I'm going to get technical here, so sorry if you get lost.

The reason why they started making overdrive and distortion pedals was to get the sound of a tube amp being pushed to its limits without having to actually turn up the amp all the way. When this happens, the output level can't compete with the input level and distorts the sound. This was known as "overdriving" the amp and created "distortion." The solution was to make devices that clip the signal in the preamp stage instead of having the power tubes take their toll. There are two types of clipping to create this distortion without having to literally overdrive the amp.

What are usually known as "overdrive" pedals use soft clipping. The output is lowered proportional to the input creating the distortion by either using germanium diodes back-to-back in a shunt-to-ground (like an MXR Distortion +, notice how the words "distortion" and "overdrive" are interchangeable? Even in a soft clipping device, MXR uses the word "distortion") or by using back-to-back silicon diodes in the negative feedback path of an operational amplifier (like an Ibanez Tube Screamer or my Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive).

What are usually known as "distortion" pedals use hard clipping, which basically sets a wall for the output no matter what the input is. This gives it a much more harsher distortion than an overdrive pedal does by using silicon diodes in a shunt-to-ground instead of germanium.

They both do the exact same thing. They both clip the signal creating the same sort of sound. The only difference is that most "distortion" pedals do it a lot harsher. However, as you can see with pedals like the MXR Distortion +, the name "distortion" doesn't even necessarily mean it has to be a hard clipping device. Making the whole term pointless.

The end.

08-29-2008, 08:43 AM
And you are right in the sense that they both do the same thing, one being harsher. But we already agreed on that dude. What I'm saying is that if the threadstarter is confusing overdrive and distortion to be the same thingor pretty close to it, then he will probably be pretty let down because there is a huge difference in the sound unless for example you are comparing a distortion pedal at low levels and overdrive at drastically high ones.