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I'm a beginner and have been getting some trouble with my mini amp. It's the borne strike g30 (brazilian brand) and its settings are: a drive switch (which honestly just seems to be making the volume louder) gain, bass, treble and volume. I've been messing around with them but can't seem to get a nice distorted sound (especially without a mid knob). Can I alter something on my amp instead of buying pedals? Thanks! enter image description here

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  • Hi Marcela V, welcome to the site. You have two interesting questions here, but please open them separately. One of the site conventions is to have only one question per post.
    – Aaron
    Dec 4, 2021 at 3:36
  • Perfect. One other suggestion: consider removing your age from the other post. It's enough just to say you don't know how to deal with electrical wiring issues. There's no rule in that regard, just a safety precaution, since your age doesn't affect the problem or the solutions.
    – Aaron
    Dec 4, 2021 at 4:27
  • Hello Marcela, for troubleshooting it would be preferable to use chat, but SE does not allow one to talk in chat under 20 reputation. So this has to somehow do. The bass/treble control probable go two way (boost and shelf), so the neutral position is probably at 5. Try to work from that position.
    – Lazy
    Dec 4, 2021 at 9:11
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    Distortion usually relies on nonlinear amplification (so if we double the level of the input the output is less than doubled). This then distorts the waveform. Usually that behaves in such a way that the behaviour is less linear the higher your input level is. So to get high distortion you need a high input level. This is then what the gain control is for. Basically there is another amplifier at the beginning that allows you to effectively increase the input level.
    – Lazy
    Dec 4, 2021 at 9:16
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    Thus you should probably start by activating drive and turning the gain control all the way up. If this does not give you a satisfying amount of distortion then probably something is broken (as this is the most that is possible). If this does give you a decent amount of distortion continue by lowering the gain control until you get the amount if distortion you want.
    – Lazy
    Dec 4, 2021 at 9:19

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Well, I wouldn't expect too much from a basic small amplifier... but the steps should be the following:

  • make sure you set volume and tone knobs on the guitar to the maximum setting
  • press the drive button on the amplifier
  • turn up the gain knob on the amp. Don't be afraid to go to maximum
  • adjust the volume with volume knob on the amplifier
  • adjust the tone with bass/treble knobs on the amplifier

In the amp there is some component that operates linearly in some range, which results in clean tone, and non-linearly for larger signals, resulting in overdriven sound. This is why you need large input signaln for overdrive. The gain knob adjusts volume of the signal coming into the amp. Overdrive won't occur if the input signal is too low.

Most amplifiers and overdrive/distortion pedals have quite large range of gain adjustments. This video shows a blues tone with just 1/4 of the gain knob setting in the amp:

I guess you can get more rock-style overdrive with higher settings.

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