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Playing Power Chords on Guitar through Overdrive and Distortion Pedals

November 15, 2019

[MUSIC]. So whenever you’re talking about power chords, you’re talking about overdrive and distortion. Overdrive units have a lot of the same characteristics and qualities and the way they’re set up is often confusing to guitars. These three knobs represent the signal flow and the tone. There’s level, drive, and tone. The tone involves a very thin sound, or is it a more cloudy dark sound? The drive, and this is the part that gets confusing, the drive is a preamp that sends it into what the volume will be. So if I were designing this pedal, I would have it in reversed order. But the idea is the drive is how much distortion, how much fuzz will there be, and then the volume is how much overall volume there will be. I look at it like a pipe that’s an outlet into a lake from a city. If it’s a great big pipe, that would be like the level being very wide open. So there could be a big rainstorm in the city and it wouldn’t matter. It would just go flowing out there just nice and clear. Now imagine if in the city the pipe is very small and there’s a big storm, that would be the preamp, that would be the drive going up very high, that sends a lot of water into a very narrow opening causing there to be a lot of interference and problems. So this type of distortion, these kind of problems are what we’re looking for as guitarists with overdrive. If I want to have very clean sound, I’d take it so that the master is very high and the drive is very low. If I’m looking for a very distorted sound, I make it so that the master, this level on this side is very low and the drive is very high. So this would be a setting for a very fuzzy sound. This is a setting for a relatively clean sound. Also as an added thing, when you put this in their signal path, I tried to make it so that when you hit the button here, that it doesn’t make it incredibly louder. I adjust the volume to make it so that it’s roughly the same volume as it is without distortion to make it so that the overall sound that I’m playing, that I’m not blowing the band away as soon as I hit this box. I don’t want to scare everybody. I want to sound great using a distorted tone. Again this is the standard setup of these kind of units where there’s a level. Sometimes it’ll be called the gain. This is the drive. Sometimes this is called the pre-gain. If the pre-gain is very high, if the drive is very high and the gain or the level is very low, you’ll get a lot of distortion. So working with these controls is really the foundation of getting this kind of sound together. The tone again is self-explanatory. If the tone is very high, you get a thinner more treble sound. If it’s low, you get a darker more bassy sound. [MUSIC]

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