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Help With Pedals

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:41 am
by Rupert
Recently bought a Orange Tiny Terror 15W valve amp, and so far am digging the sound. But as you may know, the TT is very simple, only a gain, volume and Tone Control, no channel switching and no eq/fx loop.

I have managed to get a decent clean out of it, and if I set it up right I can make it turn chrunchy just by turning my guitar up, without much of an increase in actual sound coming from the amp. Getting to my questions soon :)

What is the difference between overdrive/Boost/distortion pedals? What I think I want is a pedal that just adds a gain stage before the amp, so I can use it like a channel switcher. Also I think I need a better eq control than just one knob, so does anyone know a good quality 6+ band eq pedal?

I'm about preserving tone quality more than anything, so is true bypass what I want in a pedal?

Thanks for helping out a pedal newbie


Re: Help With Pedals

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:30 am
by TheDude
Looks like you'd need an overdrive or distortion rather than a booster.

A booster (clean boost) just "boosts" your sound by fattening it up and making it louder. It doesn't really add any gain. An overdrive pretty much does the same, but it also adds gain.

A distortion pedal in my opinion is best used with a clean channel. It adds plenty of gain.

How much gain are you looking for? Do you want it to stay "bluesy" or are you hoping to push it into hardrock territory?

One pedal I can recommend is the Fulltone Fulldrive II. It's an overdrive + boost so it's like adding two channels to your amp. It can go from slightly overdriven country with a Tele all the way to Gary Moore-ish leads with a Les Paul.

Re: Help With Pedals

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:38 pm
by jaybee
if you have your amp on the verge of breakup, with a clean boost you can give it the "push" needed to get it to overdrive naturally - this can (will) be accompanied by an increase in volume

if you want to get overdrive, but without the increased volume, you can use any overdrive pedal, set it to the amount of drive you want and balance the volume with the pedal on or off

a distortion pedal will give you more gain, but can be used just like the overdrive

you can find any of these pedals in any price range, so the choice is up to you whether you want to spend a couple of dozen or a couple of 100 dollars, my advice would be to either borrow pedals from friends to see how you like them, or to give it a try with a cheapo pedal, just to make sure this is the kind you want before going for the "big buck boutique"-pedal

chances are you will find you can do what you want with the "cheapo" just as well... I have had a BOSS SD-1 for over 25 years now, in the meantime I bought and sold dozens (literally) of high-end pedals, only to find out "I can do thAt with my BOSS too"... so out went T-Rex Alberta, T-Rex DrSwamp, RAT, etc etc...

to find out if I could use a clean boost, I decided to try a Behringer PB100 before spending more, never felt the need: that €23 pedal does all it should do...

some other good "cheap" overdrives: Digitech Bad Monkey, Ibanez OD-808 reissue, GLX OD-100, Danelectro...

as for EQ... all these brands have eq pedals as well, although I never use one and my main amp is a Dan Torres Tweed Deluxe (one "Tone" knob), my second is a Valve Junior Head (NO tone knob, just 1 volume) - I usually get by with that and the "Tone" knob on my guitar(s) (Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster Thinline '72RI, Reverend Jetstream, Hagstrom Select Ultra Swede and - another "cheapo" - Stagg Tele with "Bigsby")

happy "test driving" ;-)

Re: Help With Pedals

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:14 pm
by CashWiley
I'll second the Fulldrive 2. I've got the newest version with MOSFET boost. It's a two-stage pedal, so you can get three tones with one pedal: unprocessed, regular overdrive and boost. I dial the regular overdrive down to almost a straight clean tone, just sparkle it up a little. Then I use the boost channel to add some sustain and drive to the signal. It also has true bypass, so I can just use my straight amp tone.

Re: Help With Pedals

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:07 pm
by grady
You can't go wrong with Fulltone products.
I like my Barber LTD OverDrive better than any Overdrive pedal I've ever owned or tried out in a store.

Re: Help With Pedals

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 6:49 am
by brain21
A boost pedal is designed to push your tubes harder. The point is to force your amp to produce more distortion, sooner, by slamming it with more input levels than it is designed to get or used to getting. This causes the tubes to break up sooner, thereby giveing you more gain - at higher volume, but not proportionately higher volume. IOW, normally in order to get more gain you turn up the volume because the tubes get higher voltage to the plates, etc. (assuming I've got that right). You turn up the gain knob for more pre-amp distortion, and turn up the main volume, or Master volume if your amp has it to get more power amp distortion (where the REAL tone is). Its easier to get more gain quicker by overdriving the pre-amp tubes (cause you have to turn up the amp REAL loud to get power amp distortion), but its not as smooth, etc. as power amp distortion.

So, lets say you start with the gain set at 1 (on a scale of 0 to 10 with zero being no gain at all). This gives you a distortion "value" (I'm kinda making this up to illustrate the point) of say 1 as well. Now if you crank up the pre-amp gain to 5, this turns your volume to 5. However if you use a booster, then to get to a gain level equivalent to 5, you get only a volume of 3. Another way to look at it is if you use a booster, in order to get the amps volume to 5 (w/ booster on) you only need to turn the gain up to 3.

I hope that makes sense.

Distortion is a different type of clipping than overdrive. Overdrive sounds more natural and has more of your guitars natural tone than distortion.

So it depends on what you play. If you were playing metal, I would go with the distortion pedal for adding gain. It gives you more gain and is more along the lines of the music in terms of tone.

Rock could be either distortion or overdrive (and in some cases clean boost).

Blues is more boost or overdrive.

Those are WIDE generalizations, however.

like someone else said, try all 3 out on an amp and see which you like. BUT, make sure you try them out on a tube amp, because adding those pedals to a solid state amp sounds a bit different, and the Tiny Terror is a tube amp. Try to compare apples to apples as much as you can.