Distortion Pedals

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Distortion Pedals – Frequently Asked Questions:

Can distortion pedals damage my amp or guitar?

  • Using a distortion pedal should not damage your amp or guitar, as long as you use it correctly and don’t push the volume too high.
  • However, it’s always a good idea to read the manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best results and to prevent damage.

Where should it go in the signal chain?

  • Always a topic of much debate and forum threads, however, the below is a good starting point!
  • In a typical guitar signal chain, a distortion pedal is usually placed after the guitar and before any time-based effects like delay or reverb.
  • The signal chain order would look something like this:
    Guitar –> Tuner –> Wah Pedal –> Compressor –> Distortion –> Modulation Effects (e.g. chorus, phaser, flanger) –> EQ –> Amplifier
  • The distortion pedal is before modulation as the complex nature of a delayed / pitch-shifted signal can make things sound messy if then distorted. The EQ pedal is usually placed after the distortion pedal to shape the overall sound.

How do I set up my distortion pedal?

  • Setting up a distortion pedal involves adjusting the gain and tone controls to achieve the desired sound.
  • Start with low gain and adjust gradually until you find the right balance of distortion and clarity.
  • Many people forget that their guitar volume control is an integral part of this set up too. Backing off the guitar volume can give access to even more sounds. Low guitar volume and higher pedal volume can sound different from high guitar volume and low pedal volume