gerald guerrero said:
Whats the difference between all these? I am become confused. I guess I am looking for a clean overdrive to boost the front end of my Sound City 120 tube head, which is pretty clean. I dont want heavey distrortion. I would like a clean sound, but with more overdrive than what its got at lower volume.
Lines can be a bit blurred when it comes to distinguishing one from the other but the main difference would be how much clipping and/or distortion does the pedal has on it's own, and what type of sound it produces.
1) Boost: clean (transparent) boost is designed to do just that ... boost your original guitar signal with as little coloration as possible, if turned up high, it can drive your amp into it's natural overdrive (saturation) without drastically altering or coloring your original sound. However, the amount of overdrive in this case depends solely on your amps own sound and circuitry ... pushing a cascaded gain JCM800 will yeild much different gain levels then pushing a clean Sound City that may stay pretty clean even when pushed very hard at the input.
2) Overdrive: transparent or not, it's primary use is to push your amp into clipping (overdrive) much like a clean boost but most if not all OD pedals have some sort of a clipping/distortion or gain stage of their own and they will add some "dirt" to the sound ... some are more transparent then others and may have different EQ controls. The amount of "dirt" produced by the pedal itself may be sufficient for one's needs without pushing the amp into overdrive (saturation), however, most amp/pedal combos sound the best when the amp is driven hard and the pedal adds to the sound as opposed to relying solely on the pedal's own overdrive sound.
3) Distortion: similar to Overdrive but the amount of gain aka "dirt" available is generaly higher then with the Overdrive pedals. Their primary use is to provide most of the dirt while possibly pushing your amp into saturation if there is enough output level boost available. These pedals are generaly the least "transparent" and have a sound on their own so you have to find the one that serves your purpose the best.
Before you get any pedal you have to consider the application and your setup.
- what guitar will you use it with? High output humbucker or low output single coil?
- what amp and how much gain (pre-amp distortion) does the amp produce on it's own?
- what type of music? ... quite a bit of difference in getting a pedal for blues or metal.
It seems like you're looking for a med-higher gain overdrive with boost capability. Something like these may fit the bill:
SubDecay Liquid Sunshine or Stupid Box
Diamond Pedals J-Drive
Xotic BB Preamp or AC Booster
MI Audio Blues Pro or Blue Boy
HBE Power Screamer