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Interestellar Overdrive: A Guide To The Best Booster, Overdrive, Distortion & Fuzz pedals at Dolphin

Published: Mon August 24, 2009  News Feed

Since back in the day, when rock music was still fresh and new, guitarists felt an urge to push their amps to the limit. But now, there are so many pedals to choose from, how do you pick the right one for you? Here's some suggestions!

Getting louder with distortion pedals...your singer won't be happy!

Get louder with a new distortion pedal! Warning: your band's singer may not be too happy about it!

IF YOU GOT A SOLID STATE AMP:

Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive VT911

£38.95 

Buy Now Buy Now

Boss DN-2

Boss DN-2 Dyna Drive

£79.00

Buy Now Buy Now

Behringer TM300 Tube Amp Modeler

Behringer TM300

£24.95

Buy Now Buy Now

If you don't have a valve amp yet, you'll be missing out on the responsiveness and warmth that only this kind of amp provides. One solution is to get a distortion pedal that has actual tubes in it, to give you a more organic and warm kind of distortion. The Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive VT911 is a great choice! This pedal sounds great - With the Vintage Tube Overdrive VT911 effects pedal, you get distortion with the distinctive tonal quality that only a real tube can deliver, bringing vintage sound back to life!

Another good option is the new Boss DN-2 Dyna Drive, an unique pedal that comes equipped with the acclaimed Dyna Amp technology recently introduced in Roland’s popular CUBE-60 amp, letting you create unique tone transitions based on picking dynamics. In other words - play gently and you'll get a quieter overdrive sound...play harder and you'll get a heavier distortion tone. This is the sort of responsiveness that a valve amp player might be used to, but that can't be found on solid state amps. With the Boss DN-2 Dyna Drive you can experiment this a bit, and improve as a player!

Another good choice might be the Behringer TM300 Tube Amp Modeler. This highly acclaimed pedal features 3 classic guitar amps, 3 gain modes and 3 mic placements for a total of 27 configurations that let you easily achieve the most sought-after tube amp sounds from clean, crunch to super-fat distortion.

IF YOU GOT A VALVE AMP:

Electro-Harmonix Germanium OD

Electro-Harmonix Germanium OD

£56.50

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Z-Vex Super Hard On

Z-Vex Super Hard On

£159.00

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If you got a great valve amp and love your tone already, a good option might be to not mess with it too much, and instead of using a distortion pedal just use something that'll tip your amp over the edge, while maintaining its tonal characteristics.

The Electro-Harmonix Germanium OD is a great choice! Like the old Dallas Rangemaster (used by Eric Clapton on the classic John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers "Beano" album) the Electro-Harmonix Germanium OD uses a warm germanium transistor and if you got an amp that's already hot, this pedal will give the extra quick you need for some great sounding valve distortion sounds!

The Z-Vex Super Hard On is another great choice to help you making the most out of your valve tone. This preamp pedal will simply boost the signal, leading your valve amp into distortion land. It's so transparent no one will be able to tell you're using a pedal. Perfect for making the most of a classic amp and guitar, because it simply makes your guitar bigger and pushes the amp harder, causing natural overload. This sound can be the solution to the 'disappearing guitar' effect you get sometimes on stage when you stomp on your distortion and sound weaker. When cranked, it sounds much louder than a fuzz or distortion under stage conditions.

THE CLASSIC PEDALS:

Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer

Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer

£112.17

Buy Now Buy Now

Z-Vex Fuzz factory

Z-Vex Vexter Fuzz Factory

£119.00

Buy Now Buy Now

Crowther Hotcake

Crowther Hotcake/Bluesberry

£126.26 

Buy Now Buy Now

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff

Electro-Harmonix USA Big Muff USA Pi

£47.00

Buy Now Buy Now

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion

£59.00

Buy Now Buy Now

 

Kurt Cobain and his Boss DS-2

Kurt Cobain and his Boss DS-2

If you're not sure what you're after, you may just go for one of the "classic" FX pedals out there, used by pros worldwide, and found on the pedalboards of some of the greatest bands in the world, from U2 and Oasis to Muse and White Stripes. The best thing is, besides sounding great, most of these pedals are not all that expensive! A few choices:

  • Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer : creamy overdrive pedal, not as radical as a distortion or fuzz. Great for blues, the Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer is forever associated with Stevie Ray Vaughan, but indie bands will also find much to like in its tone. This pedal can also be a great booster for solos, and that's how Noel Gallagher (Oasis) uses his Tubescreamer.
  • Z-Vex Vexter Fuzz Factory : one of the most popular fuzz pedals in the world. From classic fuzz tones to total madness, this is a well-loved fx pedal used by everyone from Muse to The Kooks, from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Weezer, ZZ Top and many more...
  • Crowther Hotcake/Bluesberry : this is a player's well-kept secret. Not widely known, whenever Dolphin has it in stock it'll soon sell. Why? The Hotcake is designed to leave the undistorted component of the guitar sound unchanged, while providing a nice fat distortion sound without resorting to a treble cut circuit which will also affect the guitar tonality. This is one of the best distortion pedals we got, and is used by Noel Gallagher and Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) amongst others.
  • Electro-Harmonix USA Big Muff USA Pi : the world's greatest fuzz? Quite possibly! This is definitely the most popular fuzz pedal there is, as used by everyone from U2 to the White Stripes, and by most unsigned bands playing near you! Simply great!
  • Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion : The sound of Nirvana. For Kurt Cobain fans, this is the pedal to get for meaty, full-on distortion sounds. A great first distortion pedal for anyone who's just learning the guitar, too.

HOT NEW PEDAL FOR METALHEADS:

Digitech TL2 Metal Distortion

£77.07

Buy Now Buy Now

The Digitech TL2 Metal Distortion  is a brand new metal distortion pedal, and is sure to become as popular as the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone. The Digitech TL2 Metal Distortion has some great features, and unleashes some great raw gain tones thanks to two high-gain amp tone circuits at your disposal!

BEST PEDAL TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS:

Buy Now Buy Now

With the Z-Vex Fuzz Probe you can fool your friends into thinking you're the new Matt Bellamy. It's so easy to get some great, radical sounds, that they'll think you're really skilled! This is a really cool fuzz pedal, but not for the faint-hearted!

DOING A GUITAR SOLO? JUST BOOST!

MXR Micro Amp

MXR M-133 Micro Amp Boost

£87.10

Buy Now Buy Now

carl Martin Hydra Boost

Carl Martin Hydra Boost Pedal

£68.51

Buy Now Buy Now

Marshall Bluesbreaker 2 BBII

Marshall BB-2 Bluesbreaker II

£43.96

Buy Now Buy Now

If you want to really stand out when you're playing a solo, the best thing is to get a clean "boost" pedal, even if you're already using distortion. Just so your guitar can sound that little (or a lot!) louder when you play the solo, so it really stands out from the rest of the song.

The MXR M-133 Micro Amp Boost is a great choice, as used by guitarists in bands such as The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and The White Stripes, besides Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith and many more.

A little cheaper but equally good is the Carl Martin Hydra Boost Pedal, another great choice of booster pedal for solos.

Another good option is the Marshall BB-2 Bluesbreaker II, a dual mode pedal with overdrive and boost functions. The overdrive is pretty good - like a crunchy Marshall Bluesbreaker, the amp made famous by Eric Clapton on that legendary John Mayall album already mentioned before. The boost function is clean and excellent especially if you're using a valve amp.

DOUBLE TROUBLE!

Ibanez Jemini Steve Vai Signature twin distortion pedal

Buy Now Buy Now

The Ibanez Jemini, a Steve Vai signature distortion pedal, is two distortion pedals in one! It's great because you can have two different settings to use separately or at the same time for extra distortion, making this pedal extremely versatile, and not just for Steve Vai fans!

CREDIT CRUNCH DISTORTION

Behringer TO-800 Vintage Tube Overdrive

Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive TO800

£31.95

Buy Now Buy Now

Behringer SF300 Super Fuzz

Behringer SF300 Super Fuzz

£24.95

Buy Now Buy Now

If you're not able to afford a more expensive pedal, or just want to try something cheap, you can't go wrong with Behringer, who make quite a few really good, affordable distortion pedals! One of the best options is the Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive TO800, which's inspired by the classic Ibanez Tubescreamer TS-808 and, whisper it, just as good, according to most guitarists who've tried it! This is one of those "best kept secret" type of pedals. Maybe not a lot of people know how good it is, but those who do simply love it!

Another great little gem from Behringer is the SF300 Super Fuzz, with 3 different modes that can go from classic Tonebender to Univox Superfuzz tones and is an excellent choice for guitarists who want something loud, dirty and nasty. Great clean boost, too! This pedal is based on the classic Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz, no longer in production.

RANGE HIGHLIGHT - TC ELECTRONICS

TC Electronic Nova Drive, Programmable Analog Overdrive & Distortion pedal

TC Electronic Nova Drive

£219.00

Programmable Analog Drive & Distortion with digital control, a truly unique and awesome distortion!

TC Electronics make some truly amazing distortion/ overdrive pedals, which are available NOW at Dolphin. Choose from the TC Electronic VPD1 Vintage Pre-drive Pedal , the TC Electronic Vintage Octa Screamer with its cool octave up effect, or the icing on the cake, the TC Electronic Nova Drive:  Analog Overdrive and Distortion Drive Pedal that takes the drive circuit from the Nova System and pairs it with a level of programmability and control never before seen in a stand-alone analog drive pedal!

Booster, Overdrive, Fuzz and Distortion pedals in stock now at Dolphin Music

 
 
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