Cook Your Own Distortion

Later in the sixties, the first distortion effect boxes were made to simulate the sound of razored cones and overdriven amps. Now, most amps have a distortion control, but distortion effects are still popular. Now we`re going to discuss the methods of creating distortion with effect boxes. When talking about distortion, you can usually hear the words overdrive, distortion, fuzz and crunch.
Cook Your Own Distortion - schematic

They are words describing the type of distortion an amp or an effect gives out. Overdrive is a natural and smooth sound, while a distortion is more rough. Fuzz is a metallic and very rough type of distortion that turns the sound of a guitar into a fuzzy sound. Crunch is not a specific type of distortion, but mild overdrive or distortion. Crunch has a sound that resembles the sound of breakfast cereals crunching combined to a guitar sound (I don`t mean snap, cracle and pop =). These don`t apply to all effects on the market, for example Craig Anderton calls almost all of his distortions "fuzz", no matter if it`s a distortion, overdrive or fuzz. For example Craig Anderton`s Tube-sound Fuzz is actually an overdrive unit. The ultimate distortion/overdrive comes from tubes which are overdriven so that it creates a smooth singing sound. Nothing can mimic tubes, although there are a million different "tube-sound distortions" available, they just can`t make the real sound of tubes (there are pretty good ones though). Usually distortion effects use solid state circuitry like transistors, opamps and diodes, but there are a few commercial tube overdrive effects available (like the Red Hot Chili`s Tubester or PAiA Stack In a Box Kit). Here are the most common distortion effect types: Just like overdriving tubes, transistors are being overdriven by setting them to run at the top of the amplification range. This creates nasty, distorted...

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