BOSS Distortion – The Orange Ones
A distortion pedal usually goes beyond the amount of gain and harmonic crunching typical of an overdrive. They tend to get more distorted, are usually (but not always) louder than typical overdrives, and often have multiple gain stages for abnormal amounts of sustain. The BOSS MT-2, probably the best selling distortion pedal ever, is a good example of a distortion pedal with those features. Since distortion pedals tend to be louder and have more inherent distortion than overdrives, it is a little trickier to use them in conjunction with the amp’s own distortion sound. It might be what you want, especially if you’re after a nu-metal, super heavy, or very grungy sound. If you use your pedal this way, you are distorting distortion. This can get pretty ugly, but sometimes it’s just the thing. Set your pedal similarly to using an overdrive to use it this way: For example, set the BOSS DS-1 level up, the distortion somewhat down, and the tone for neutral.
Distortions tend to be more effective when you use your amp set for a clean sound and let the pedal’s own tone sing through. Good distortion pedals, such as the BOSS Metal Zone, are quite sophisticated. Under the hood is some powerful circuitry that can create multi-stage distortion just like a high-end boutique tube amp. The MT-2 even has studio quality EQ: a 3-band tone section with parametric sweepable mids for duplicating pretty much any distortion tone you might want. For blazing metal tones, try this setting with a Metal Zone and your amp set for a clean and neutral sound.
Adaptive distortion does what?…
Another cool distortion pedal is the BOSS DA-2 Adaptive Distortion. Powered by Multi-Dimensional Processing technology (MDP), the DA-2 Adaptive Distortion delivers ideal distortion tones wherever you play on the guitar neck. Diverse guitarists like John 5 (Marilyn Manson / Rob Zombie) use the DA-2 to achieve amazing tones. Check out this video of John 5 and the DA-2 in action.
To wrap up: These are not rules. They are concepts. Regardless of this post’s title, “Get Great Tone With BOSS Distortion” 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. Do you have a favorite BOSS distortion pedal? Did you find this article useful? Leave your comments below.