Great distortion box for guitar

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by remigiozampa, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. remigiozampa


    Oct 26, 2011
    Hey Justin
    This question is no bass related... but you're a great guitar player as well, and i'm pretty sure that the years wearing the producer hat and touring with very talented guitar players gave you enough experience to answer this.
    I'm looking for a great distortion pedal for touring as a guitar player. In the studio i have good luck with the usual stuff, old Rats, Tubescreamers, Hotcake (love that pedal!) Klon etc... Always using really loud amps.
    In live situation i can't put a 100w head at full power, so volume is an issue... i need to go to the route of a clean amp and use pedals for my distorted rythm tones. It's being really difficult, since most pedals sound weak when you set your amp clean and put a microphone in front of the amplifier
    I tried my loved Hot Cake but not enough gain/bite without using it with a crunchy amp. I tried a Jam Pedals Rattler (Rat Clone) but sounds too compressed. I'm looking for something that sounds big, fat and similar to a crancked tube head. I covered all my fuzz tones and TS overdrive tones, now i need good rythm distortion stuff. I'm using mostly Fender stuff, Jaguars and Jazzmaster, so getting a heavy and full bodied guitar tone can be slightely more difficult than when i use Gibson guitars.

    Could you recommend me something great for touring? In general, what kind of guitar rig do you think works best for live situation regarding, volume/tone /performance?

    As always, thanks for doing this!
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    Tough, this is highly subjective. However, based on my interpretation of your situation prompts me to recommend you try the following. This list is only based on pedals I've used myself with success, so there are certainly way more out there:

    Xotic Effects SL Drive
    Earthquaker Acapulco Gold
    Earthquaker Palisades
    MXR Super Badass
    TC Dark Matter
  3. remigiozampa


    Oct 26, 2011
    Thanks!!! :)
  4. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Have you considered getting a power attenuator? It's a box that goes in between the amp and speaker cab and basically soaks up some of the signal level. Lets you crank the amp all you want while keeping speaker volume low. Seems like just what you need.

    Something like this from Palmer. Note that they've got a bunch of different models there, various impedances, some with built in DI, etc.
  5. remigiozampa


    Oct 26, 2011
    Yeah, i've tried a lot of them, and even the best ones (Rivera Rockrusher or Sequis Motherload) squashed the signal too much for my taste. I play really loud and i don't have problem getting some crunch from the amp, but for hi gain tones i need something else, and for gigs that involve flights and rental amps i think is worthy have a trusty distortion pedal on hand.
  6. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 15, 2021

Share This Page