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It's true that distortion, especially heavy distortion causes a lot of compression and evens out most of the dynamics. But a softly picked note is not only quieter, it's also duller, that is, it contains less high frequency, even after distortion. Since we are more sensitive to high frequencies, some dynamics can be achieved just by picking softer or harder. ...


Playing through a wah wah, and gradually increasing the resonant frequence (creating more "open" vowel sounds) can lend a dynamic effect.


Controlled feedback is a useful technique although it's as old as Hendrix. I like to use high gain and distortion and a wah so that I can hit a single note and control its feedback crescendo and decrescendo with careful muting.

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