Get Great Tone With BOSS OverDrive
BOSS Overdrive – The Yellow Ones
There are two good ways to get tone from an overdrive. One is to use the overdrive in conjunction with your amp; that is, use the overdrive pedal to augment your amp’s inherent tone. Here’s how this works:
One of the things an overdrive can do is to hit your amp with a bit more level, without adding too much distortion. Sometimes all an amp needs to sing is more input gain than your guitar can put out. It’s like the difference between single coil and humbuckers; hums put out more level, so they tend to create more sustain and distortion from an amp. Stevie Ray Vaughan often used his overdrive pedal in this way. Not much additional distortion, just some additional gain to boost the level of his single coils. To do this, set the amount of overdrive fairly low on your pedal, but set the output volume a bit high. Set your amp for a mild amount of distortion. If your overdrive has a tone control, set it so it doesn’t alter your tone as it is before you turn the pedal on. This mode is also effective for boosting solos.
What’s the difference between Overdrive and Distortion? Find out!
How effective this is depends a lot on the amp. A good tube amp works in this way. Another way to use an overdrive is to set the amp for a clean sound with flat EQ, and let the overdrive’s inherent tone come through. In this case, try setting the overdrive for somewhat more drive (or crunch, or whatever your pedal calls the amount of distortion), and try to match to the output of the pedal so that your volume doesn’t change when you turn it on (unless you want it to, for soloing or just being louder). Remember, there are really no rules! If you like the sound, that’s all that matters. This method is less dependent on the tone of your amp, and players often use their pedals this way. The tone is based on their finger technique and the pedal’s characteristics; the amp is just making it louder.
To wrap up: These are not rules. They are concepts. Regardless of this post’s title, “Get Great Tone With BOSS Overdrive” you can use these principles with any overdrive stompbox. The best way to incorporate them into your playing is to experiment. There are many pedals on the market, each with its own characteristic tone. One may be just the thing to make your tone what you’ve wanted it to be. Try some out, both with your own amp and guitar, and with others. The magic combination is out there.
May 24, 2014 @ 5:09 pm
In addition to the connecting me-70 to me-80 question. I connect directly to a lift box input that is sent to our sound board @ church. And forgot to mention that Roland/Boss products rock! You can’t go wrong with the awesome sounds they create! Thanks again…………….Dan
May 24, 2014 @ 4:55 pm
I’ve owned the ME-50 and then purchased the ME-70, I now have the ME-80 but, can’t quite get the sounds I’m looking for on the ME-80 that I have had for the ME-70? Mainly because I can’t reproduce the same patches or remember where I got them from. My question is can I daisy chain the me-70 with the me-80? If so, how? Advice much appreciated!
Product Support [Roland]
May 27, 2014 @ 12:05 pm
Thanks for contacting us about this. The ME-70 and ME-80 have very different sound engines, so even if the effects and parameters were all the same (they’re not), they would still probably sound somewhat different. If you want to chain them, take the MONO 1/4″ out from one into the INPUT of the other. The first one will not be stereo, but the second one will.
May 28, 2014 @ 7:50 pm
Thank you for your prompt answers I really appreciate them. I did as you said and chained them up but, the effect wasn’t what I expected. The two units seem to conflict together and combined the two patches from each machine. What I was really hoping for was to be able to hear one patch @ a time from the selected machine but, there doesn’t seem to be a way to do that without separating them? I know everyone’s situation is unique I will just find a way to maybe separate them with a/b type switch? I was looking for an easy answer to a problem I created by losing those patches and then changing machines. Thanks for all of your efforts and thoughts.
March 3, 2014 @ 12:24 am
I stopped playing for years and had my tone all dialed in back then, but forgot the science projects I did back then to produce it. My pedalboard is chaos and bought ME-70 and ME-80 thinking they’d be a shortcut back. Tone is improving but still have yet to tame the tone dragon. Use boss pretty much exclusively as it’s always been within my price point and never an issue with their durability. Just like to say I looked online, bought magazines, but nothing had been as short and simple and as useful as the article above. This is terrific would love to see more like this, especially the fact that it is useful information and not a sales pitch (which is good since I’m already a customer, a delighted one at that). Thanks.
October 18, 2013 @ 3:49 pm
I Have SD-1, found it beautiful for empowering solo and rhythm. Just use my guitar volume low for clean but boosted chord rhythm structures and for solo just open volume up. Result is great !
October 3, 2013 @ 9:28 am
Reissue the OD-1! PLEASE! I’m having to mod SD-1’s to those specs (8-pin version) to get that sound.
September 28, 2013 @ 9:08 am
I used to cascade OD’s. I’ve done A/B comparisons with Boss ME 50 and the originals, and ME 50 sounds better. Maybe because of Sustain and EQ on the box, but even though it’s digital, g-d forbid me it sounded better.
April 15, 2013 @ 4:52 pm
Stevie Ray Vaughan!! Vaughan, not Vaughn…goodness!!
OV Valle [Roland US]
April 15, 2013 @ 5:01 pm
Thanks for the heads up Mike, we just updated the post. Good catch!
April 12, 2013 @ 11:14 am
Thanks man, i was worried about it… but can’t quit doing it haha, it sounds awesome!!
That’s it, keep on rocking it up BOSS!
OV Valle [Roland US]
April 12, 2013 @ 11:48 am
You bet, thanks for checking in.
April 12, 2013 @ 7:56 am
I wonder, can i use my GE-7 as a boost for my ST-2, or it can make any harm?
I usually do this for solo, put the frequencies i would like to hilight and put the volume at about 60-75% on the GE-7. Thanks in advance!
OV Valle [Roland US]
April 12, 2013 @ 10:43 am
Per our in house guitar guru, this totally safe to do.