As a budding guitarist, choosing the right distortion pedal is vital, since the effects from the pedal provide invaluable embellishment to your playing. This write-up from Melodyful provides a distortion pedal buying guide that will be helpful in buying the best option for you.
Did You Know?
The first distortion devices were rudimentary valve amplifiers. Later, due to the lack of dedicated machinery to produce distortion, many artists deliberately sabotaged their own machinery in order to produce warm, ‘dirty’ notes!
A distortion pedal can make or break a performance. It provides crucial effects to the guitarist, without which the performance, however expertly played, would fall a bit flat. The very digital nature of electric guitars that made them so popular also means that their sound seems a bit incomplete without the requisite effects. Thus, a good distortion pedal, whether you are playing rock, metal, or just plain bass, is something every electric guitar needs.
Buying a distortion pedal can be confusing and overwhelming if you are in the market for the first time. There is technical stuff you don’t understand, brands you have never heard of, and the Shakespearean dilemma of ‘to spend or not to spend’. In this situation, it is easy to just pick one of the more expensive models off the shelf, plug it into your machine, and feel good about yourself. However, different pedals and different guitars have different characteristics, and picking a pedal that complements your guitar is important.
Here’s some advice and tips on making the right choice.
Distortion Pedal Buying Guide
Set a Budget
There are several good distortion pedals that can be bought for less than USD 50. As outlined by Guitar World magazine, some of these are the Boss DS-1, Modtone MT-DS Speedbox, and Jet City Amplification Shockwave. The Boss DS-1, in particular, is very famous across various genres, and can count artists such as Kurt Cobain and Joe Satriani among its past and present users. It would be the recommended pedal for beginners, irrespective of genre.
As you can see, excellent choices are available for less dough if you just do your research well. However, as with guitars, pedals come in numerous shapes and sizes, and multifunction pedals are available in a wide price range. As listed by Guitar Player magazine, pedals such as the EBS MultiDrive, Fuchs Plush Drive, and HardWire SC-2 Valve are available for less than or around USD 200. Do your research and check your virtual wallets before buying.
Try Out the Pedal
Buy the Right Pedal
However, this title goes beyond just buying the pedal that ‘feels’ right. While ‘feeling’ right is often the most important criterion with musical instruments, you need to ensure that you buy the pedal most suited to the style of music you are going to play. Some pedals are suited to the dark, heavy notes of metal, some are perfect for the loud, clear notes of rock, while some are perfect for the warmth of jazz. Decide on what genre you are going to concentrate on, and find out which pedal is ideal for that one. Ask the shop assistants about this―helping you is literally what they get paid for―and take the help of any professional/experienced guitarists you may know.
Help Me, I am Confused!
A distortion pedal is a vital accessory for a guitarist. If you rely on electricity to make noise, you need to rely on a pedal to make the noise better. Don’t skimp, even if you are an absolute novice. Go for the best one in your budget, and make the most of it!