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Overdrive Vs Distortion 2021: Top Full Review, Guide

Overdrive Vs Distortion

There’s still much confusion regarding the gap between overdrive, Distortion, and, by extension, fuzz. Each one has features that are also found on another, for example, different sorts of clipping.

To make the distinction clearer and more straightforward, we chose to recognize every type based on variables such as tonality, componentry, clipping form, musical, and controls context. Fidlar will show you the difference between Overdrive Vs Distortion. 

What is Distortion?

For the sake of debate, we specify the Distortion as any pedal which employs a stern cutting action to create its cutting. This generally leads to a significantly longer square-wave and saturated distortion audio.

Hard clipping is really were typically after the significant amplification stages and until any output diodes are utilized to pass the signal to earth. Like with soft clipping, this may be done symmetrically or asymmetrically, based on the arrangement of diodes used.

Because of this, distortion pedals tend to have a dramatic impact upon your tone and therefore are much more of a blunt instrument than an overdrive.

An overdrive will probably respond differently to various amps, so a distortion pedal’s style is one which you ought to be sure that you’re pleased with the timbre of since that is what you have to use.

The use of Distortion

The use of Distortion:

Distortion adds a massive amount of sustain to your notes in the price of a definition to more complicated chords. Power chords seem precise about what they are called for. Octave chords seem expansive.

Though with increasing quantities of swelling and cutting, also, you attract the noise floor upward. For exact metallic tones, you might require a solid gate.

Distortion pedals are often designed to operate nicely on their own, unlike overdrive pedals. Boosting an already large gain pedal will only bring more sound in your sign and make muting unintentional notes harder.

Most distortion pedals operate better with sterile amps, which is almost the reverse of overdrive pedals. A slightly more gritty tone is necessary for the overdrive pedal to work its magic. A distortion pedal provides you with a high-profit style at any volume.

Distortion pedals to test:


The first Distortion, and lots of guitarists’ very first pedal. It is not the best about and mostly will suck quantity. Still, all the major components are a tricky clip, heavy saturation, and the capability to frighten your parents downstairs.


The ProCo RAT defeats the DS-1 Concerning age and Concerning tone. There are many fantastic things about the RAT. It seems genius at a low advantage as a filthy drive; it’s a cool filter controller to get a tone pile; it could also push a tube plug into additional saturation.

Modern reissues lack one critical characteristic, nevertheless the inexpensive LM308 op-amp of this first. Although this pedal exerts diodes to get a problematic clipping action, a lot of the clipping at first was a virtually triangle-wave clip brought on by the low slew rate of this op-amp.

Amptweaker Tight Rock Jr

Among the very best contemporary distortion pedals on the market. Developed by James Brown – no, not that one, the one that made the legendary Peavey 5150 – it is a streamlined, low-noise driveway with loads of range, plus an entire kitchen sink of choices, such as a right sound gate.

Should you want more chug, you can select the metal brother, then the Tight Metal Jr. Should you like its overall tone but need something which may do slightly more classic and receptive seems, then perhaps try the Hamstead Odyssey instead.

MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion

The Super Badass’s basic expressing is crispy and tight with everything set to noon – firmly from the British stimulation camp. There is a massive array of output on offer. Also, unity quantity lies at approximately 10 o’clock. The gain range is likewise striking: three-quarters about the knob yields a thick, chunky growl that can satisfy most players’ genres.

Fender Pugilist Distortion

As it is known as the Pugilist, you may expect it to provide brutal Distortion, although it may do that there is a subtler side for this pedal. This pedal offers double profit engines (B and A ) connected to a mix knob so that you may have 100 percent B or A or a mixture of both.

This is a brilliant feature since there’s a wide variety of tones accessible from mixing the two channels, particularly as each has its flexible manner and gain.

What’s overdrive?

Our definition of overdrive is straightforward. It is a pedal with gentle clipping of the sign it stinks.

But many others specify an overdrive pedal as just any pedal that strives to mimic the sound of a tube amplifier being pushed to saturation. Much like a tube amp, this is usually achieved by making the input past a threshold where cutting will happen.

Unlike the tube amps, nevertheless, as overdrives tend to be established around ultra-clean op-amps, the threshold needs to be added and is generally in the kind of diodes in the feedback loop of their op-amp. This creates a soft, cutting edge, usually considered the very amp-like of how you can clip a guitar sign.

Paradoxically, the archetypal overdrive is that the Ibanez Tube Screamer, a bicycle that cranked, does not seem all that much like a tube amp. Instead, its traditional tone is generally found with the advantage of the pedal wrapped back and the amount pushed upward in front of the tube amps.

What is happening is that the pedal is incorporating its EQ, a pronounced mid bulge, while fostering the tube amp. Usually, amp saturation is much richer and more pleasing.

Therefore, some praise of the humble Tube Screamer might be a bit misplaced. If your amp is also exceptional, there is a fantastic possibility that any increase with sufficient gain will seem equally as excellent if it is kicking your amp.

There’s a final important thing to notice that as overdrives tend to be soft trimming, you may use them as a boost pedal using the advantage down, a characteristic significantly less potential with distortions that use hard fringe, as we’ll see.

Programs of Overdrive

Programs of Overdrive:

Bill Finnegan, the designer of this now-famous Klon Centaur circuit, initially designed the pedal to provide him the sound of a cranked Fender Deluxe reverb with no ear-splitting volume.

To acquire the thick, gritty tone, he enjoyed at a lower quantity. He had to design an overdrive pedal that could provide him the same features as a pushed Deluxe. Here is a prime illustration of an overdrive pedal’s uses: to replicate the sound of a cranked tube amp.

The Ibanez Tubescreamer, another commonly referred-to pedal that was created on the same principle. By controlling the quantity of grit you receive to start a new sign, you can reach cranked classic china tones at lower, more manageable amounts.

This usually means that overdrives are fantastic for genres of songs that do not need an extreme quantity of modification or palm-mute amount distortion. But we will get to this later.

Another use for an overdrive pedal would be to function as another advantage stage before your amp, basically like adding another tubing into an amp circuit. Many overdrive pedals possess high output headroom: This allows you to push on the front end of your amp harder than you’d with only the pickups in your guitar.

Pedals such as the above Tube Screamer are widely employed for this. Due to this Tube Screamer’s low-frequency roll away, it’s an extra side effect of tightening up the noise of thick looking amplifiers such as the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.

To distinguish, you would not typically use a distortion pedal to push the front of an already high-gain amp (unless it is a stylistic choice that you pull off nicely ). Overdrive pedals allow you to slam that tube with more output and pushing it to saturate earlier.

This cascades down to the other boxes at the line, being struck with an already bloated sign. This provides you more profit complete. That is having been said. It is an excellent idea to lessen your amp’s gain too.

You might also make this approach to push a different overdrive pedal to more problematic Distortion. Though less commonly used nowadays, cascading two overdrives. Generally, a Boss SD-1 driven by a Tubescreamer was a common practice throughout the 90s.

Overdrive pedals to test:

Ibanez Tube Screamer

The traditional versions would be the TS808 and also the TS9, each of which is reissued and broadly modded and cloned through recent years. Now you can also purchase clones that pack both circuits into one box.

Paul Cochrane Timmy

The selection of the pack concerning overdrives. Firmly, from the Tube Screamer family tree, but using more excellent EQ controls, a compressed sound, fantastic driveway tone by itself, and the ability to flip any tube amp into a stone monster. These can be expensive, but mercifully MXR has just teamed up with Paul Cochrane to make the streamlined MXR Timmy miniature pedal.

Hermida Audio Zendrive Overdrive Pedal

Legendary overdrive uses 2N7000 transistors in its feedback loop instead of diodes to acquire its cutting. Because of this, it still has a rather distinctive musical cutting sound, which will seem similar irrespective of which amplifier you are playing right into something somewhat less real of another pedal.

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

This can be Electro Harmonix’s take on the transparent overdrive of this expensive Klon Centaur and goes well with a valve plug. This pedal provides touch-sensitive, translucent overdrive and boost, which keep your heart sound undamaged.

Fulltone OCD V2

The OCD’s rich harmonics and reactive controls make it an excellent overdrive for shooting that hallowed classic-rock noise of an amp pushed into 11. At the same time, its HP/LP switch affords it considerable flexibility. The next-generation version also features an output signal.

Read More: 

Best Fuzz Pedal 2021: Top Full Review, Guide


1. Can you use an overdrive pedal vs a distortion pedal?

The term stacking refers to connecting more than one overdrive, distortion, or fuzz pedal and using them simultaneously. To get these stacked pedals to sound and work properly, you’ll need to use overdrive and distortion a little differently than you would if they were running alone.

2. What goes first overdrive vs fuzz?

Overdrive after fuzz a louder fuzz tone, with additional distortion if the overdrive gain is turned up. This is a cleaner way to use the two together because the overdrive can be used to boost if the OD gain is low. Typically it’s overdrive first.

3. What is the difference between boost and overdrive?

A general distinction is that overdrive devices typically have circuits designed for soft clipping, while distortions have courses that clip the signal more severely. Boost pedals generally don’t have clipping circuits, and therefore add no overdrive of their own to the call.

4. Is it a tube screamer vs overdrive?

The Tube Screamer (TS9/TS808) is a guitar overdrive pedal made by Ibanez. Countless guitarists have used the legendary Tube Screamer to create their signature sound. It is one of the most successful, widely copied, and modded overdrive pedals in electric guitar history.

5. Choosing the best fuzz pedal for you

There are some things to look for, and choosing between silicon and germanium transistors is the most crucial decision you’ll have to make here. Most pedals in the Fuzz Face family tree use germanium transistors, for example, the Fuzz Face and Fuzz Factory.


If you want jangle, chime, grit, something that will make your clean tone sparkle, or something to push your high gain monster, an overdrive will do the trick. Do you use a clean amp and need something for higher gain from a standalone pedal? A distortion pedal is your bet. Fidlar hopes that our guide can help you know more about Distortion vs Overdrive. 

VIDEO: Overdrive And Distortion Pedals

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