Korn is my favorite band, but trying to replicate their effects drives me up the wall... Does anyone know what effects could be used to produce the kind of distortion heard in the song "Pretty" around 2:48 and 2:54? To me it sounds like someone is ripping paper into a microphone and heavily distorting it, but I know that Korn generally uses their instruments or voices to make their creepy effects, so I'm trying to figure out how they make this one. Is this just crazy distortion with some wacky reverb? Is this just a ton bass overdrive underneath some other heavy distortion? I guess the effect could be from the bass, but then I'd like to know what that effect is too :) Any thoughts, anyone?

  • Can't find the song or I'd try and replicate it. Do you have other examples?
    – Jduv
    Apr 20, 2011 at 0:23
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    here's a link: youtube.com/watch?v=4hRC51w7ee8 Also, Korn's sound isn't replicated by too many people :)
    – Anonymous
    Apr 20, 2011 at 1:53
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    It's all gadgets and post production. If you have the right stuff and the playing chops, you can replicate anyone. Luckily for me (and no insult to the band) Korn's music isn't technically complex, so it becomes: do I have the right stuff XD.
    – Jduv
    Apr 20, 2011 at 2:19
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    I don't have a strict answer, but the ripping sound is surely an interaction of heavy distortion or gain interacting with aggressive noise cancellation or compression and crazy decay/attack settings . Hard to find an example, but perhaps ( see: youtube.com/watch?v=o4wX0Z1f5Gk @ approximately 5:40 mark )
    – horatio
    Apr 20, 2011 at 14:03
  • Typically those ripping sounds you refer to are easily achieved with a fuzz pedal that's starved of voltage, but I think what we have in these examples is simply low octaves and standard distortion. Also something that I forgot to mention: with lower tunings less distortion is needed in some cases or the whole thing sounds like a bloody mess.
    – Jduv
    Apr 20, 2011 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


I hate to disappoint you, but the entire song doesn't have anything special going on as far as the effects they are using. The entire song is played with a wah, a very, very detuned guitar, and probably a dimed out or nearly dimed out Mesa Triple Rectifier. The hollow effect that you hear is either from an envelope filter or the combination of the wah riff along with a phase effect, and likely a small stone chorus as well. Munki was known to use lots of choruses (chori?) so my bet's on that. The modulating effect could be a univibe as well; Korn is really into modulation :D.

I was able to get a similar sound using my Analogman Bi-Chorus, Vox Wah, a deeply detuned Les Paul, and my amplifier dimed as far as it can go. I could also add the subtle warble you hear during the times you mentioned with my Jetter-vibe, but I liked the chorus sound better. My amplifiers stock distortion wasn't really enough to saturate the tone, so I had to boost it with my RockBox Boiling Point, which was really the only overdrive I own capable of heavy overdrive settings. I imagine if I had something more than a medium gain Orange I likely wouldn't need the overdrive in the chain at all. Note that in some cases with really low tunings, it's necessary to dial back very high gain amplifiers else the whole mix sounds like a bloody mess.

And there you have it.

  • +1 I use slightly different kit, and a univibe, but basically the same principles for each stage in the chain.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Apr 20, 2011 at 10:41
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    It's unlikely that they are playing detuned guitars. Korn paved the way for 7 strings in metal, so what you're probably hearing is a low B string. Of course, any normal axe needs some serious detuning.
    – yossarian
    Apr 20, 2011 at 14:08
  • @yossarian yeah I should have mentioned that. Since I'm on a standard LP it required a bit of detuning though :D.
    – Jduv
    Apr 20, 2011 at 14:45
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    what does "dimed" mean? I've been playing a long time and have never heard that term before. Is it when all the levels are jacked up to 11? Apr 24, 2011 at 6:27
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    @InternalConspiracy yup =). dimed = everything at 10.
    – Jduv
    Apr 25, 2011 at 2:45

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