Distortion pedals

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by Rockhead, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Rockhead

    Rockhead Electromatic

    Mar 3, 2019
    Delaware county, PA
    Just wondering what distortion pedals you guys are using. I recently bought a 5220 BT and have a couple of inexpensive overdrive pedals for my dirt. To me they sound better with my Tele than my Gretsch. I want to add a distortion pedal, maybe a Boss DS1 to my board but am curious if there are some that are better suited to the Gretsch sound. Forgive me, i'm new to Gretsch guitars.

    By the way, my amp is a Fender Frontman 25.
  2. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    What kind of music or sound are you looking for. My favorite OD right now is an ethos overdrive, but it is insanely expensive and I am sure there are good and more affordable options. I've gone through a lot of drive pedals and I have found that I like the ability to pre and post gain EQ to get th me sound I want.
  3. dlew919

    dlew919 Gretschie

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    The boss ds1 works great. That’s why it is their second biggest seller after the tuner.

    Tips though:

    Wind the tone control back. Somewhere between 10:00 and 12:00. Over that you get the fizz that some complain of.

    Wind the gain back - somewhere between 1:00 and 3:00.

    Juicy creamy aggression.

    Some people mod them. There are many on the web. I’ve never bothered. You might find it useful.

    All tips are made with the realisation that YMMV.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Mr Swisher likes this.
  4. Rockhead

    Rockhead Electromatic

    Mar 3, 2019
    Delaware county, PA
    Sorry, I like to play mostly classic rock, blues stuff. I'm thinking about getting a used DS1 with the older style circuit board so I can modify it at some point. I believe the new ones come with a smaller brd that won't accept most mods.
  5. diamoroso

    diamoroso Electromatic

    Feb 4, 2019
    San Diego, CA
    I have tried and owned many types of drive pedals, but the two I use currently I find to be extremely versatile for the price. For distortion it's the RAT. It took some fine tuning, but it really grew on me and I use it for all sorts of styles. I don't turn up the gain too much, usually between 10 and 12. For lighter more natural sounding drive I really like the TC Electronics MojoMojo.
    montereyjack66 likes this.
  6. montereyjack66

    montereyjack66 Country Gent

    Feb 29, 2012
    X2 on the Rat. I don't use distortion pedals a whole lot, covers a lot but your basic FM rock territories. Pretty dang flexible. If your looking for more authentic/organic stuff, go see Tavo.
    nickurso and TV the Wired Turtle like this.
  7. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I have 2 ..MXR Distortion + and Fulltone OCD
  8. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    I only have two distortion pedals. A Rat and a Fulltone Distortion Pro which schematically is based on a Rat, but way more flexible.

    While original Rats command collector prices, the Distortion Pro is the unwanted stepchild of pedals. Admittedly it's complicated with the mini controls and internal dimmers, and it's easy to dial past all the good mid to hi-gain to fuzz sounds that are in the pedal.
    Best part you can pick one up used, for Mooer money(around 50 bucks), all day long.

    Speaking of clones. If you're after a Rat get one of those cheap mini clones with the 3-way switch that will get you 90% there with a good variety of Rat sounds.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  9. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Well almost everything is better than the old Boss distortion pedals these days.
    I would not recommend them to anyone now for any guitar.
    There's literally 100s distortion pedals on the market now that are low noise, true bypass, more versatile and sound more amp like than anything Boss ever made turned both on and off.

    Depends what flavour of dirt you want.
    There's lots of Marshall in a box pedals (like Crunchbox) if you want British flavour and there's many modern sounding US style pedals like the Rat. Or hybrid transparent pedals like the OCD.

    You should go test out many different pedals and see what you like :)
  10. Jet_streamliner

    Jet_streamliner Gretschie

    Nov 21, 2017
    I use a CMATmods “Black Plague” (now called the “Ratified”). It’s a Rat clone with 3 modes, Classic rat, boosted OD, and Turbo Rat. It’s been on my board for at least 10 years. Rat variants are a great distortion pedal. I also sometimes use the Keeley “El rey dorado” which is a Marshall amp tone OD/Distortion box.
  11. markeebee

    markeebee Country Gent

    I have quite a few distortion pedals. I'm not sure how many, but definitely more than 50. Some are 'vintage' items, some are expensive boutique kit, some are just cheap as chips clones. To be perfectly honest, the difference in tone between the most expensive and least expensive is......minimal, at best. I'd echo what Rick says, and look at the real cheapies from companies like Donner, Tomsline, Aroma, Eno. You could pick up two or three different types and when you find one that suits you, you could invest in the 'real' version of it if you so desire.

    As a pointer, I recently bought a Tomsline Plexion for less than 20 pounds (in UK), and it does a really nice range of cranked Marshall tones, ideal for classic rock.
    Ricochet likes this.
  12. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    My favorite distortion pedal has become my Kustom '36 Coupe's on board drive channel....and if I want even more dirt, there is a boost button:cool::cool::cool:

  13. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    I mostly like using the amps distortion on the 2nd channel.
    I can also push my clean channel & get the natural break up. However, If I want added distortion I use the "danelectro Pride of Texas" it's dose it's own thing but is tube screamish.
    It's also very affordable.

    Attached Files:

  14. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    Hi Rockhead,

    I suggest you to look for a new or 2nd hand RAT distortion. It exixts in several box shapes - here's mine :


    Since 1981, it's still one of the best sounding distortin ever made, the very few one able to nail in a "violin tone" à la Santana, but not solely...

    The key part with the circuit in the RAT is the LM308N chip :


    I think that recent ones and new ones haver reverted to the LM308N. Otherwise, you can change it, like I did.

  15. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    I don't use distortion or overdrive pedals, but if you're happy with what your OD does for your Tele - tone and drive level - but it's (those settings) not doing it for the Gretsch, you might find throwing an EQ pedal in front of it, will give the results you're looking for.
    Seven bands of EQ will enable you to shape your tone more accurately, and enable you to bring the output level of the Gretsch up to attain the level of drive you want.
  16. jfassett

    jfassett Gretschie

    Dec 9, 2017
    Try lowering the pickups on your 5220 a bit, I found they get a bit distorted if too high and could affect your tone.
  17. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    I think there is more to it than just the LM308, especially if you arent in a hair band or do play at stage volume and just want to lay something w great breakup and full low end. You arent ever gonna hear much through plinky toy amps like 5w vox amps and pro juniors, as far as the capabilities of a good rat pedal. An amp has got to have the pwr tubes making the speaker move a bit before any distortion pedal is ever gonna be experienced well IMO.
    Waxhead likes this.
  18. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Just a cheap used Behringer vintage tube overdrive TO800,does me for the house ,haven't gigged in years.
  19. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    That's gotta be the biggest distortion pedal I've ever seen :)

    Rats are ok if you want Foo Fighters type modern distortion flavour.
    THIS is my fav - best Marshall clone pedal ever made - cheap, low noise, true bypass and super versatile.

  20. Butch Ammon

    Butch Ammon Gretschie

    Jan 3, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    I have a Gretsch 5122 and a Frontman 65r (....LOUD.... for being 65 watts! :eek: ).

    For distortion, I just simply use the channel switcher on the amp, and use the onboard drive channel to get into some tasty Ted Nugent style tones. No need to buy a pedal for distortion.

    Now for overdrive, that's another topic all to itself... I didn't buy a pedal from the music store - I built my own from a kit from BYOC! :D

    This is their clone of the famous Ibanez Tube Screamer. Solder in all the resistors, capacitors, diodes, etc... finish the wiring of the jacks the 9v power supply connection, and voila! That's all it took!


    somebodyelseuk likes this.
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