Mods for Guitar Effect Pedals – Gain and Clipping in Overdrive, Distortion & Fuzz

Isn’t it all the same thing? Nope, it all depends on the type of tone/sound you want and that determines how it is achieved as far as the electronic circuit is concerned.

When we use the term “Gain”, it refers to overall volume. Typically, more gain = louder volume = loss of clarity, or distortion. In simple terms, when you turn up the volume on a Tube Amp you are increasing the electricity/sound going through the tubes. As more electricity/sound is forced through the tubes, you get distortion, sometimes referred to as “Breakup” as the tube is getting pushed closer to its limit.

In the electronics tech world, we call this breakup “Clipping”. There are two kinds of Clipping, Asymmetrical and Symmetrical.

The clipping you get in a Tube Amp is Asymmetrical. By the way, we refer to these circuits as “Analog”.

Solid State Amps use Integrated Circuits (ICs) and/or Transistors instead of tubes. When you increase the Volume (more gain), it just gets louder. Too much volume/gain and the sound gets screechy as the circuit gets overloaded. This kind of “Digital Distortion” is not pretty.

The clipping you get in a solid state circuit is Symmetrical. By the way, we refer to these circuits as “Digital”.

Asymmetrical Clipping is more responsive and dynamic. If you want more of the detail in your playing technique to be heard, this is the way to go.

“Overdrive”, in its simplest terms, is pushing the gain up. “Distortion” pushes the overdrive to distort your sound. “Fuzz” pushes the distortion even further until it becomes, well, fuzzy.

 

The good news is that we can build a distortion, overdrive or fuzz circuit to generate pleasing, and adjustable tone. This circuit can be built into the amp (onboard), or an Effect Pedal that can be plugged into any amp or PA.

There’s even better news. If you don’t like the way your circuit sounds, it can be changed. These changes are called “Mods”, or modifications. That’s where I come in.

Here are a few things I can do for you.

– Increase the gain/volume

– Change the tone of your existing circuit

– Change the clipping from Symmetrical to Asymmetrical

– Make the clipping smoother

– Mellow out the high end (treble) of the distortion

– Reduce the “brittleness” of your sound

– Allow more highs, or lows, to be heard

I can currently mod over 75 different Guitar Effect Pedals, and the list is constantly growing. Whether your pedal is Distortion, Fuzz, Overdrive, Chorus, Tremolo, Echo, Delay, EQ, Wah or more…..

Manufactured by ArionTM, BossTM, DanelectroTM, DunlopTM, DODTM, Electro HarmonixTM, FulltoneTM, H&KTM, IbanezTM, JacquesTM, MarshallTM, MaxonTM, MorelyTM, MXRTM, NoblesTM, Pro-CoTM, RadialTM, Visual SoundTM, Voodoo LabsTM….

I can mod your tone. Contact me for a complete description of what I can do for your pedals.

Check out my Facebook Page, under VintageToneUSA. While you’re there, take a look at POPA, my Plain Old Power Attenuator, and how it can help your Tube Amp Sound!

ArionTM, BossTM, DanelectroTM, DunlopTM, DODTM, Electro HarmonixTM, FulltoneTM, H&KTM, IbanezTM, JacquesTM, MarshallTM, MaxonTM, MorelyTM, MXRTM, NoblesTM, Pro-CoTM, RadialTM, Visual SoundTM, Voodoo LabsTM, FenderTM, GibsonTM, BognerTM, Mesa BoogieTM and any other company mentioned here are used respective of their trademark.


Visit my Guitar Lesson Studio Web Site

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Steve started playing guitar in ‘69, and has been performing regularly since ’90. His involvement with recording and sound engineering began in the early ‘70’s.

Steve, and his bands, have always given back to the community, supporting Special Needs Families, Christian Outreach, Food Pantries, Homeless Shelters and Medical Research.

As a songwriter and registered artist with BMI, Steve’s songwriting and gig sets span the Blues, Rock, Folk, Country and Christian genres.

2009 was the start of a busy solo performing schedule as well as sharing his love of music by teaching both Guitar and Live Performance Techniques. Steve teaches his guitar students to play the music THEY want to play, right from the start, without getting bogged down with music theory. With Live Performance Techniques lessons, students learn how to move from the living room to a live stage.

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