I know that I’ve written this sentence before, but it really bares repeating: a good guitarist needs a good distortion pedal. There are no exceptions to this-well, OK, maybe if you play acoustic or if you’re a soft jazz guy or if you just hate rock and roll entirely. But if you want to rock, you need to spend some serious time thinking about which distortion pedal to use.
This is where many young guitarists make a big mistake. Rather than taking the time to look through a few of the hundreds of distortion pedals available, novice guitarists often just grab one off of the shelf. Some don’t even take the time to plug in a pedal before they buy it.
Guitarists, we’ve got to put an end to this practice. Here’s a few tips for guitarists looking for a dependable and great-sounding distortion pedal.
For The Love Of All That Is Holy, Try The Distortion Pedal
I cannot stress this enough: before you buy a guitar distortion pedal, try it out. Don’t buy distortion pedals online if you haven’t tried them in a store, because you couldn’t possibly know how crunchy or tight they sound. For that matter, you probably won’t know what adjectives like “crunchy” and “tight” mean in the world of distortion, so get your butt into a music store.
Try out as many distortion pedals as you can, and bring your own amp into the store or use an amp that’s similar to yours. This is the only way to get an idea of a distortion pedal’s sound. Seriously. Do it.
Remember That Distortion Pedals Have Knobs
I see a lot of young guitarists test out distortion pedals without actually fiddling with the knobs that control the tone and levels of the damn things. Listen, if you’re serious about crafting your own guitar tone, you’re going to have to learn what those knobs do. Try out all of the guitar pedal, not just the factory presets.
Go For The Classics
Famous distortion pedals are usually famous for a reason. A BOSS DS-1 is a cheap, tested, solid punk pedal. Ibanez Tube Screamers are great for guitarists who need a tube-driven sound. The point is, if you don’t know where to start, try a classic distortion pedal that you’ve heard about.
What if you haven’t heard of any famous distortion pedals? Look up what your favorite guitarist uses, or ask a friend who plays guitar. You’re bound to get some good ideas on where to start if you take the time to do a very, very, very small amount of research. Go get some ideas and remember tip #1: try out lots of pedals. Your distortion is probably your most important effect. Think it through.
Do you have any other tips for finding the perfect distortion pedal for your guitar? Post in the comments section below.