I'm new. I've been trying to play the song 'I Stand Alone'. I can read tabs and I can get my guitar in drop C, I am just not getting the heavy distortion noise. I'm wondering how I should adjust my amp to achieve that? I have a Dean Markley K-20X. Is my amp is even capable of sounding like that?

  • No my amp just makes it louder don't actually affect the distortion much
    – Alex
    Jan 6, 2014 at 23:26
  • 1
    if that is the song by Godsmack, then "no" you will not be getting that distortion effect from the amp by itself.
    – horatio
    Jan 7, 2014 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


The K20-X manual has a pretty thorough explanation of how to get overdriven sounds. http://www.deanmarkley.com/Info/LegacyAmps/Manuals/D1015.pdf

In brief, an amp like this has two stages of amplification: the first stage "preamp" feeds into the main amplification stage. If you turn up the level of preamp, then there will be some distortion in the preamp itself, and also you'll be putting a powerful signal into the main amp causing further distortion there.

Turn knobs marked "gain" or "overdrive" all the way up. Turn other volume knobs down to get the loudness you want. Once you've proved you can get heavy distortion, dial things back to find the tone you want.

Some amps won't distort at low volumes. If yours is like this, either just play loud, or consider getting a pedal to provide distortion.

Sometimes, in order to distort well an amp needs a stronger signal than your instrument can provide. In this case, consider getting a boost pedal, or since you're buying a pedal anyway, a distortion pedal.


I looked around for info about this amp and I found this picture of the amp:

enter image description here

Based on this picture it looks like the drive switch will give you some distortion, although I doubt it will be the amount you want.

This amp does not have the traditional gain knob so customizing the distortion would be hard. I would advise getting a better amp that can handle distortion better or getting a distortion pedal if you want more distortion.

EDIT: As suggested by Ulf Åkerstedt, try flipping the drive switch and adjusting the volume knob. It may up the distortion.

  • 4
    Isn't the "Volume" knob the gain of this amp; so you can crank that up high to get distorsion, and adjust the output volume with the "Master" knob? Jan 6, 2014 at 23:57
  • 1
    This isn't a k20-x.
    – slim
    Jan 7, 2014 at 9:54

Get a more traditional amp like a fender rumble and then turn up your gain and overdrive for more distortion. The way people usually turn up distortion in the middle of a song is by turning up the bridge pickup.

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