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Do distortion pedals work well with tube amps? Or should I use a tube screamer?

Kinda new to the pedal stuff. I have an Orange Crush Pix series 35 watt combo tube amp, an Epiphone Special 2 GT and a Boss Super OverDrive. I was wondering if it's better to use a disto pedal on the clean channel or just keep the OD and modify it? And if I use the OD how would I change between that and a clean signal? The OD is pretty gritty which was one of two distos I want. The other I want is more cleaned up around the edges, something to play real chords on or possibly something to play punk with? Any suggestions of pedals would be greatly appreciated.

marked as duplicate by Jduv, Doktor Mayhem, luser droog, Andrew, Jason W Jan 21 '13 at 14:22

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  • See this: music.stackexchange.com/questions/3099/… – Jduv Sep 28 '12 at 18:25
  • Just realized you asked this exact question as an answer on the question I just linked you to :). So basically, your answer is in that article if you read it. If you have any trouble understanding it, feel free to let me know and I can clarify. – Jduv Sep 28 '12 at 18:34

There are no solid rules. Try all the combinations, and use the sound you want.

Having said that, feeding a distortion pedal into an overdriven amp is going to cause a very noisy mush. Some people want that, some don't. It depends on your tastes and the style of music you're playing.

If you want the ability to switch between (pedal + clean) and (no pedal + amp distortion), consider getting an A/B pedal.


Another approach, which I use, is to use a completely clean amp (I use a keyboard combo) and to do all the "character" in pedals. There are pedals that model everything from valve distortion to cabinet characteristics; even mic placement. Purists say nothing compares to the real thing, but the simulations are good enough for me.

  • I use the clean amp and pedal SIM combo as well, it makes gigging really easy: all I need a venue to give me its a clean PA – Doktor Mayhem Sep 28 '12 at 20:12
  • 1
    Unless I'm missing someting, in order to make the A/B pedal thing work you need at least a two channel amplifier or two amplifiers. Normally, a two channel amp will come with a channel switcher in the first place, removing the need for an A/B box. All applications of the A/B I've worked with involve two amplifiers. – Jduv Sep 29 '12 at 2:33
  • @JDuv that's a good point; it happens that my 2 channel amp doesn't have a switch; both inputs are always active. – slim Oct 1 '12 at 14:34

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