What are Gain, Overdrive and Distortion?
Gain is usually defined as an overall boost in your signal without any added tonal coloration. It is usually expressed in decibels such as "Gimme a 3dB boost on that bass." Adding more gain is basically just amplifying the signal so it cuts through the mix or can be heard over a loud drummer.
Overdrive, as it has come to be known as, is a smooth, warm, slightly distorted sound, generally associated with the sound made by cranking up a tube amp. It is fat and dynamic, allowing you to vary your tone just by the way you play. Overdrive pedals can come close to giving you that tube-overdrive sound, probably the most popular being the Tube Screamer.
Distortion can be defined as anything from a fuzz tone to a full-on, notched-out midrange, death metal wall of noise. It is a hard-edged sound with as many variations as there are players. Digital distortion has a more metallic, raspy sound which works well for heavy metal, grunge, or reliving your 80's hair band days. Analog tube distortion gives a good, all-around rock tone, such as the sound of a Marshall stack cranked to 10.
The key to all this is to listen and experiment and let your ears be the final judge. Knowing the differences and how to use them will go a long way to helping you define your own signature tone.
Guitar Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pick a guitar?
How do I warm up for practice?
How do I start learning chord transitions?
how do I get the pick out of my guitar?
How can I motivate myself to practice?
How much should I practice?
Can my attitude prevent me from learning?
Can my attitude cause me from learning?
How often should I change my strings?
How do I increase my playability?
how do I keep my strings clean?
How is rock and roll played on guitar?
How do I play rhythm guitar?
How perfect do my "licks" have to be?
What is a transposition table?
What do I take for gigs?
What is a driving force?
What defines rhythm and blues?
What is Dynamics?
How can I get different tones from my guitar?
How do I preserve guitar leads?
In what temperature do I keep my guitar?
What is a capo or capo d´astro?
What is a guitar crutch?
How can I learn by teaching?
How to Learn Guitar.
How do I remove moisture from my guitar?
How do guitar necks differ?
How does the neck wood affect the tone of a guitar?
What should I use to clean my guitar?
What not to use for the guitar & what to use for the guitar?
Is there a particular way to change my strings?
What is a Ball End String?
Basses are tuned in perfect fourths, E A D G from low to high.
How do I tune my bass?
What is a Stainless Steel Wound String?
Buying a guitar amp.
Is it important to have an amplifier when I start out playing guitar?
Is an acoustic or electric guitar better?
How do I play and eigth note?
Is it important to be well-rounded?
What is apoyando?
What are the differences between Gain, Overdrive and Distortion?
What are Gain, Overdrive and Distortion?
Can temperature effect my guitar?
What is vibrato when playing guitar?
It really comes down to personal taste, and which types of effects sou
What is a Phosphor Bronze String?
What is a tempo?
How Do I Maintain My Strings?
Is it better to stick with one type of strings?
Why do my strings wear out so fast?
How can I make my guitar strings last longer?
What does Allegro mean?
What is a Flat Wound String?
What is a Nickel Wound String?
What´s the difference between bass strings?
What is arpeggio?
What are flat wound and round wound strings?
What are flatwound and roundwound strings?
What are the best pedals for my guitar?
What is a Rectified Nylon String?
What is a Round Wound String?
What is a Monofilament Nylon String?
What does prestissimo mean?
What does a capo mean?
What is a Capo?
What is tirando?
What is ponticello?
What is vibrato?
What does ritardando mean?
What is a harmonic?
what is harmonic?
What does presto mean?
What does the term Piano mean?
what is Da Capo?
What is Dal Segno?
what is a fermata?
What is andante?
what is grazioso?
What is segue?
What is tacet?
What is a whole note?
What is a quarter note?
What does sforzando mean?
What is segno?
what is an opus?
what is glissando?
What is Forte?
what is fortissimo?
what is moderato?
What do you mean by Hammer?
What is cantabile?
What is da capo?
What is tenuto?
What is a pull-off?
What is an eighth note?
What does rubato mean?
what is a half note?
what is Largo?
what is legato?
what is poco a poco ?
What is simile?
what is fine`?
What does tremolo mean?
What should I look for when buying a guitar?
What are the pros and cons of heavy and light string gauges?
How often should I practise?
What can I do to learn guitar more easily?
What does it take to become a good guitarist?
What are the differant types of guitars?
How can I get a "harmonic" sound on the guitar at places other than the 5th, 7th, and 12th fret?
What is the difference between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar