I'm hearing that you should have a crunchy distortion for rhythm playing and a creamer distortion for lead. In general, I'm usually more a clean player, but I'm trying to learn. I've been playing with my two main pedals, a Washburn Soloist and DigiTech Bad Monkey, at unity gain into my solid-state Frontman amp, and I'm finding it hard to distinguish between them.

By playing chords, I get harmonic clash and "crunch". By playing single-note licks and being careful to avoid double-stops or sloppy playing, I get sustaining "creamy" notes. I can't get "creamy" chords or intervals and, without a fuzz pedal, I don't seem to have "crunchy" single notes. (I know "Satisfaction" so I know it's possible.)

Are there settings to these? Or is it all how you play, not how you stomp?

  • Why not adjust the sound quality to what you (or your adoring fans :-) ) like? Nov 4, 2014 at 12:55
  • I'm not always tasked to play music I like. Nov 4, 2014 at 22:37
  • 1
    Well yeah - that's why I added the "adoring fans" part... Nov 5, 2014 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


To me it has mainly to do with the amount of gain. One other important factor is midrange. The sound of Satisfaction is comparably low in gain, and has some nice bite in the mids. If you compare to e.g. Santana, who could be considered to have a creamy solo sound, he has quite a lot of gain, and not so much midrange.

Playing on the neck pickup will produce a smoother sound, whereas the bridge will have more bite, or crunch.

I would play with extreme settings. Put quite a low amount of gain and crank the middle on your amp. Use the bridge pickup. Getting crunchier? Max out the gain on your pedal, dial back the midrange, use the neck pickup. Strike a chord. Should be somewhat creamy,

  • Well try that out next time my amp and I can have some meaningful alone time. Nov 5, 2014 at 13:54

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