Distortion Mega-Thread! User submitted Distortion reviews

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Freaky Fender, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. Alrighty. This thread is for research purposes about distortion pedal. If you have a pedal review from the list below, or a pedal not listed, feel free to add it to the thread! :)
  2. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I used to own a MultiDrive and sold it. it's a good pedal.

    I have a TubeWorks Blue Tube coming in from MF. I'll be glad to post a review after I've played it a bit.
  3. I have an ODB-3 and then the Boss Metalzone..and when it comes to the fuzz, I prefer the Metalzone, cuz it's all growly and aggressive, plus I can tweak the mids, which is a + for me :D

    freakyfender......my bad....well here's the fix!
  4. I don't think this is gonna successfully turn into a megathread..........but goodluck!
  5. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Here's a sample of a Tubeworks Blue Tube 903 pedal. They come with a 12ax7, but after reading some of the other threads on tube pedals, I decided to put a 12au7 into this one. This pedal is probably NOT for metal, I use it for jamming with my blues and classic rock friends. I usually only have a little drive dialed in for warmth and grit, not the full overdrive sound.

    This sample has the drive at 3 o'clock, so it's breaking up quite a bit. Ignore the clip's name that says 4 o'clock.

    Pedal is well built and the nobs "feel" like they're of good quality and have these little clicks as you turn them. You can get anything from a little warm gritty drive to the full overdrive that you hear in this sample. The pedal also has an "interactive" three band eq which is modeled after the Fender blackface preamps. Tubeworks says that each eq nob interacts with the other eq nobs as you turn them. controls are output/level, drive, low, mid, and hi. I really like this pedal. It's small and compact for a pedal that actually has a tube in it.

    Can you name that tune (hint early 1970s rock)?
  6. gfab333...that is a really cool sounding od!
  7. Melf


    Mar 20, 2003
    Starkville, MS
    You have PM.
  8. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I never much cared for distortion/overdrive pedals. To me they always sounded fuzzy, thin and,...well,....like pedals.:(

    Then I bought an original version (used/not the "II" version) Fulltone Bassdrive.

    This pedal is great. Nice grind (without the fuzz) to full out bomb-bast. Makes my amp sound like that classic SVT grind. The boost switch with pre-setable knob/level is cool too. Two different levels at the touch of a foot.
  9. My boss ODB-3 pedal is pretty cool, too.. To me, it isn't all that great for its fuzz, but sometimes I'll use it like another preamp to boost the low end and level...which is pretty cool. I love how it sounds when I add a tad of flanger to it, and that's the only time I actually use the overdrive fuzz...
  10. I use a ProCo RAT for most of my distortion needs. It's gives me a low mid-rangey type of distortion, and it still keeps most of the low end.
  11. Prahainspring


    Oct 22, 2002
    New Jersey
    -I edited this to give some more insight to the pedal.-
    First and foremost, this is a guitar pedal and the big problem with that is that most, if not all, the lows are almost gone. To counter act this you have to crank the bass up a bit or boost the bass with another pedal etc. The distortion on this ranges from mild fuzzy-grit to over the top Lemmy-like distortion. I've found that you will be able to get the classic distorted marshall bass tones with it, for example; When you put the gain at 11:00, you'll be in the Jack Bruce territory where if you push it a little farther, you get some nice tube-like grit. About 12-3:00 is a more present grit that is similiar to Tim C. of RATM and Audioslave. Anything above 3:00 is where you get to full on over the top distortion that would make lemmy proud. The pedals also has a great deal of mids that really help you cut through without robbing a lot of the guitar frequencies but, if you want to, it is possible to be in the guitar range. If your in a power trio this pedal should be high on your list for distortion pedals because when the guitarist begins to solo, you kick this on so everything doesn't seem empty. If I had to give this a score, it would be an 8 out of 10. The distortion is very good for classic tones but because of less than steller lows, I'll take some points off.
  12. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    This shouldn't become a mega thread, so much as a locked thread, to be used as a data base for the reviews. If someone has a question about the review, he/she can send the question via PM to the author of the review.
  13. HAO Rust Ride OD - got it and couldn't figure it out. Maybe it's intended only for use in an effects loop? It has one knob which is for output level, plus a switch for three different flavors, bright, normal, and mellow. No knob for mix. No knob for degree of effect. And it lost too much bottom for me, so I sent it back.

    DOD Grunge 69B OD - lots of grunge with not much adjustment (I can't get it down into the barely-overdriven-tube-amp zone with my bass volume turned up). Zero subtlety. Properly adjusted, it maintains the bottom nicely. Crummy plastic battery door. Available dirt cheap on eBay. Good if you need lots'o'OD just for a tune or two and you're not picky about it.

    Fulltone Bass Drive - has two channels but I can't keep an even level between the two with comp-cut because there's only one volume knob. With comp-cut (compression off) it's very touch-sensitive. Nice and tubey. Can put out tasty mild overdrive. Maxed out with compression it gives a sweet creamy forever sustain if you go for that. If you play with compression on, it will do you right as a two-channel effect.
  14. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Well - last night I tried out a few they had at Action Music. Personally, I found that I don't much care for fuzzy bass regardless of the flavor, although I can be objective and throw out a couple reviews, possibly even for pedals not mentioned in the original list. These will be brief reviews so if they suck, I apologize.

    What I tried:
    EH Big Muff (big flat silver edition)
    ProCo Rat
    ZVex Woolly Mammoth
    D-A Fuzz Face
    Guyatone FZ2 The Fuzz

    Big Muff is covered, so I'll only say that it does a good job of retaining bottom end when you have the tone down. Makes your amp sound like it's under a pillow, but beefy.

    The one I most wanted to try was the Mammoth. Vex's effects are never for the conventional or for the faint of heart, but you knew that. The store owner told me to be careful with the knobs as "it can get outta hand, man". So I plugged it in with all the knobs on about 9:00. Okay, so our basic sound is a nasal kind of fuzz that, so long as you're sustaining a note, is nice, smooth and singing.

    The problem, and I say this about all fuzzes on bass, is that all your notes run together if you start playing more and faster. You're never going to recognize Roundabout with fuzz, of course, but my tune of choice for comparing tones with fuzz was the simple but hella-catchy Breed, by Nirvana. The bass doubles the guitar on that tune and i think has a hair of fuzz on it as well in the recording.

    Anyways - so I start Novoselic-ing away (better than Jaco-ing off i guess) and the pedal's smoothness I determine is caused by a noticeable squash. so I take the Pinch knob all the way left (remember, it was at 9:00 already) and it opens up a little. Now there's room for flab in the signal. Actually, with Pinch up a lot, there's like electrical flab, but back down and it's string flab. See? Anyways, we still haven't turned up the Wool on this thing! As I turned, the sound got hairier as expected. I don't remember anything special happening at the end of the scale. Z Vex sometimes gets unexpected stuff at the very left or very right positions on his knobs, i guess it's circuit idiosyncracies.

    I can't remember knob details well though, but I'll tell you this - It's smoother than a Big Muff, while not as HUGE sounding, but maybe that was my knob twiddling's fault. What I'd recommend is to follow a halfway-Pinched mammoth sound with a phaser and an envelope follower to get wicked synth tones on sustained notes. Then again, i'd personally get a Deep Impact for that.

    Gawd, did this actually help any? I just read over the rambling... I'm too pooped to get into the rest of them, but ZVex and EH were the only ones that sounded smooth enough to me to even consider. I don't hate fuzz bass, its just not for me.
  15. I have the Boss ODB-3 bass overdrive, and i guess all I can say is it gets the job done with over drive, it has (as everybody knows) a bass and treble eq, gain and volume. It gives me a few good overdrives to play around with.

  16. Scott Lynch

    Scott Lynch Supporting Member

    I tried this OD at my local music shop a couple of days ago and went back to get it today. Not only a versatile overdrive/EQ unit, it was also light on my wallet. I picked it up "shopworn" for $60 US.

    The unit has three modes: clean, OD, and distortion. The clean channel is simply put: clean. A 2 band eq provides extra tone shaping while a level control adjust the signal level going out of the effect. Turning the level control up can provide more than enough output to make the clean PD-7 a decent solo channel. An attack switch adds harmonic overtones to the effect, particularly in treble frequencies. Turning the attack on increases fret noise. Although I don't like this feature particularly on the clean channel, it provides for some interesting sounds.

    The OD setting adds a mild to heavy overdriven sound. The saturation, or amount, of overdrive can be adjusted with the drive control on the effect. One thing i noticed about adjusting the drive knob was that it had a minimal effect on the overall volume of my sound, contrary to the effect a gain knob would have on my overall sound level. The distortion setting of the effect adds more of a fuzz-type of sound; distortion is heavier sounding than overdrive. Adding the attack effect to the overdrive or distortion modes increases the transparency of the notes. Those favoring a muddier, more vintage sound will benefit from turning the attack mode off. Anyone with any questions feel free to drop me a PM; I hope this is a helpful review.
  17. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
  18. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    To follow up on what ScottyAx800 wrote, I'd agree with much of it.

    Solid construction
    Locking knobs to retain settings
    Good overdrive
    EQ controls help keep low end
    Better at distortion than overdrive
    Not true bypass

    It's great value for money, very good at distortion - not so good at overdrive as other pedals (ebs, fulltone etc) but it's 1/2 or 1/3 of the cost of those other pedals.
  19. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    OK, I didn't have this for long and it was a while ago.

    Built like a frikking tank
    Two tubes in there for real tube overdrive
    Good mild overdrive.

    Large unit
    To my ears, a very midrange bias
    Best at mild settings, not so good at higher settings.