best guitar distortion pedal


Hey guys, welcome to our comprehensive guide on the 7 best guitar distortion pedals that will elevate your rock tones to new heights! Whether you’re a seasoned guitarist or a beginner looking to explore the world of distortion, these pedals are sure to deliver the power and punch you seek. In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each pedal, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. So let’s dive in and find the perfect distortion pedal for your needs!

1. Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal 🎸

The Boss DS-1 is a classic distortion pedal that has been a staple on countless pedalboards for decades. Its iconic tone and affordability make it a top choice for many guitarists. With its simple yet effective controls, the DS-1 allows you to dial in everything from mild overdrive to heavy distortion, making it highly versatile. However, some users find that the DS-1 can sound a bit muddy at higher gain settings. Overall, it remains a reliable and popular option in the world of distortion pedals.

2. Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer 🎸

The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is another legendary pedal that has stood the test of time. Known for its warm and smooth overdrive, the TS9 is perfect for blues and classic rock tones. Its mid-range boost also makes it great for cutting through the mix in a band setting. On the downside, the TS9 can sometimes lack the aggression and heaviness desired for more intense genres. Nonetheless, its rich and creamy tone has won the hearts of many guitarists.

3. ProCo RAT2 Distortion Pedal 🎸

The ProCo RAT2 is a distortion pedal that packs a serious punch. Loved by many hard rock and metal guitarists, the RAT2 delivers thick and aggressive tones with plenty of sustain. Its versatile filter control allows you to shape the tone to your liking, making it a great choice for those seeking sonic flexibility. However, some users find the RAT2 to be a bit noisy, especially at higher gain settings. If you can overlook this minor drawback, the RAT2 can be a beast on your pedalboard.

4. Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi 🎸

The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi is an iconic fuzz pedal that has been a favorite among guitarists for decades. It is known for its thick and creamy distortion, perfect for creating those soaring and sustained lead tones. The Big Muff Pi’s simple yet effective controls make it easy to dial in your desired sound. However, the pedal’s significant level of gain may not be suitable for all styles of music. For those who crave a thick and rich fuzz, the Big Muff Pi is a true classic.

5. Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive 🎸

The Fulltone OCD is a versatile overdrive/distortion pedal that offers a wide range of tones. From transparent overdrive to aggressive distortion, the OCD can do it all. Its dynamic response and touch sensitivity make it a favorite among many professional guitarists. However, the OCD can be quite expensive compared to other options on this list. If budget is not a concern, the Fulltone OCD is a fantastic pedal that will surely satisfy your tonal cravings.

6. MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion 🎸

The MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion lives up to its name by delivering a wide range of powerful and aggressive tones. With its versatile EQ controls, this pedal allows you to shape your sound with precision. It excels in heavy rock and metal genres, providing ample gain and sustain. However, some players find that the pedal can be a bit noisy at higher gain settings. If you’re in search of a versatile and hard-hitting distortion pedal, the MXR M75 is worth considering.

7. Wampler Sovereign Distortion Pedal 🎸

The Wampler Sovereign Distortion Pedal is a high-gain beast that is capable of producing intense and tight distortion tones. Its three-band EQ provides ample control over your sound, making it easy to dial in the perfect tone for any genre. Some users find that the Sovereign can be a bit heavy-handed, lacking subtlety in the lower gain range. However, if you’re looking for a pedal that can deliver crushing distortion, the Wampler Sovereign is a force to be reckoned with.

Comparison Table: 7 Best Guitar Distortion Pedals

Pedal Tone Versatility Noise Price
Boss DS-1 Iconic and versatile Medium Some users find it muddy Affordable
Ibanez TS9 Smooth and warm Medium Slightly lacks aggression Affordable
ProCo RAT2 Thick and aggressive High Slightly noisy Affordable
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Thick and creamy Low Not suitable for all genres Affordable
Fulltone OCD Versatile and dynamic High Expensive Pricey
MXR M75 Super Badass Powerful and aggressive Medium Slightly noisy Affordable
Wampler Sovereign Intense and tight High Can be heavy-handed Pricey

Frequently Asked Questions About Guitar Distortion Pedals

1. Are distortion pedals only for heavy metal genres?

No, distortion pedals can be used in various genres such as rock, blues, and even country. They add richness and character to your guitar tone, regardless of the music style.

2. Can I use a distortion pedal with a clean channel on my amp?

Absolutely! One of the main purposes of a distortion pedal is to provide a distorted tone even when your amp is set to a clean or low-gain setting. It allows you to achieve heavier tones without cranking up the amp’s gain.

3. Are there any distortion pedals that work well with both single-coil and humbucker pickups?

Yes, many distortion pedals are designed to be compatible with both types of pickups. It’s essential to choose a pedal that offers sufficient tonal flexibility to accommodate your specific pickup configuration.

4. How can I ensure that my distortion pedal doesn’t introduce excessive noise into my signal chain?

To minimize noise, it’s crucial to power your pedal with an isolated power supply or a high-quality battery. Additionally, using quality cables and placing your pedals on a sturdy pedalboard can help reduce unwanted noise.

5. Can I stack multiple distortion pedals together?

Yes, stacking multiple distortion pedals can produce unique and complex tones. Experimenting with different pedal combinations can help you discover your signature sound.

6. What should I consider when choosing a distortion pedal?

When choosing a distortion pedal, factors like tonal preference, versatility, noise level, and price should be considered. It’s crucial to find a pedal that aligns with your musical style and meets your specific needs.

7. Can I achieve distortion without using a pedal?

Yes, many amplifiers have built-in distortion channels or overdrive features that can deliver great tones. However, dedicated distortion pedals often provide more tonal control and versatility.

8. How do I set up a distortion pedal?

Setting up a distortion pedal involves adjusting the gain, tone, and volume controls to achieve your desired sound. It’s a matter of personal preference, so take the time to experiment and find settings that suit your style.

9. Are there any budget-friendly distortion pedals worth considering?

Absolutely! The Boss DS-1 and Ibanez TS9 mentioned in this article are excellent affordable options that deliver impressive tones without breaking the bank.

10. Can I use a distortion pedal with other effects like delay or reverb?

Yes, combining a distortion pedal with other effects can create unique and atmospheric sounds. However, it’s essential to experiment and find the right order of effects to achieve your desired outcome.

11. Do distortion pedals alter the original tone of my guitar?

Distortion pedals do change the original tone of your guitar to some extent. They add gain and harmonic content, resulting in a more aggressive and saturated sound. However, the extent of alteration depends on the specific pedal and settings used.

12. Are there any vintage distortion pedals worth considering?

Yes, vintage distortion pedals like the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi mentioned in this article have a unique character and appeal. They may require some maintenance and can be harder to find, but they can offer a distinct vintage tone.

13. Should I buy a distortion pedal online or try it out in a store first?

It is generally recommended to try out a distortion pedal in person if possible, as its sound and feel can vary depending on your setup and playing style. However, if that’s not possible, reading reviews and watching demos online can also provide valuable insights.


In conclusion, choosing the best guitar distortion pedal depends on your personal preferences and the specific tone you’re aiming to achieve. Each of the seven pedals mentioned in this article offers unique advantages and disadvantages. Whether you opt for the classic tones of the Boss DS-1, the rich fuzz of the Big Muff Pi, or the versatility of the Fulltone OCD, you can’t go wrong. Remember to consider factors such as tone, versatility, noise level, and price when making your decision. So go ahead, explore the world of distortion, and find the perfect pedal to unleash your rock n’ roll spirit!

Closing Statement

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. As with any musical gear, it’s important to try out different options and consult with experts before making a purchase. The world of guitar distortion pedals is vast, and what works for one guitarist may not necessarily work for another. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and helped you in your journey to finding the best guitar distortion pedal. Rock on!

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