Best Distortion Pedals

Best Distortion Pedals On The Market (November 2020)

Updated - November 17, 2020

Distortion pedals are probably the most used pedals in the hard rock and heavy metal genres. A distortion pedal can change an ordinary riff into something the rock gods would be proud of. distortion is the sound of thunder racing through your amplifier leaving all other instruments in its wake. It’s safe to say that the rock and roll classics wouldn’t exist without the distortion effect. Or it would sound very different at least. While we can’t give a definitive answer to the question which distortion pedal is the best. We can give you an idea of the choices out there for each significant price range. As well as previous customer reviews and our personal recommendations.

Clean Gain

Distortion pedals can provide a clean gain into an amplifier. Mimicking an overdrive pedal. Or turn the gain right up and feel the clipped signal roar. Run your distortion effects pedal near the front of your chain for the best sound. Or experiment with different placements throughout your chain. Some even put a distortion pedal in the effects loop.

If you’re in the rock or metal genres then getting your distortion pedal right is paramount. It’s probably your most important pedal (after your tuner) on your pedalboard. Whether you’re using it for live shows or studio recordings, a distortion pedal can make or break your tone. Having the right options when you need them is the name of the game. You might find that more than one distortion pedal is needed. Depending on the situation and circumstance.

Distortion Options

The great thing about distortion pedals currently is that there are loads to choose from. The big brands have fantastic options available to those with the budget. However if you’re looking to spend a more modest sum of money there are still plenty of options. All of these distortions will turn your clean amplifier into an earth trembling monster. It’s worth noting that distortion pedals generally perform far better when the gain is turned up. When they reach a saturation level they start to come into their own.

Mini Distortion

As with most pedals these days. Miniature models are available. These often have far less configurable settings involved however that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Smaller pedals are easier to transport, weigh less and take up less room on your pedalboard. They can also be far less expensive than the larger alternatives. If distortion isn’t a priority then perhaps a small sized distortion pedal would be a strategic purchase. Saving cash and space for other, more important effects.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for the best distortion pedal for metal and rock. Or you’re simply looking for a useful pedal that can give both colored and clean gain. We’ve got something for everyone in this detailed review of the top distortion stomp boxes on the market place.


  1. The Best Distortion Pedals Under $50

  2. The Best Distortion Pedals Under $100

  3. The Best Distortion Pedals Over $100

  4. The Best Mini Distortion Pedals On The Market

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The Best Distortion Pedals Under $50

  1. JOYO R-03 UZI Distortion Pedal - The JOYO R-03 UZI distortion guitar effects pedal is Specially designed for heavy metal, it’s characterized by High Gain.
  2. Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal - The Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion guitar effects pedal is designed to cover a variety of song styles with two guitar effects in one pedal.
  3. GOKKO SonicFire Distortion Pedal - The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion guitar effects pedal's distortion is great. There is a large variety of tones and everything works as expected
  4. Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal Distortion Pedal - The Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal distortion guitar effects pedal gives you the most extreme, sought-after hard rock and heavy metal sounds with super-thick, tube-like distortion.
  5. JOYO JF-03 Crunch Distortion Pedal - The JOYO JF-03 Crunch distortion guitar effects pedal has great response and sustain, and the controls make precision fine-tuning a breeze.
JOYO R-03 UZI Distortion Pedal

JOYO R-03 UZI Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Features Gain, Volume, Low, Mid, High & Bias Control Knobs
  • ✔ Bias Switches Between 'American' & 'British' Distortion Modes
  • ✔ Tough Metal Chassis Keeps Your Pedal's Guts Safe
The JOYO R-03 UZI distortion guitar effects pedal is Specially designed for heavy metal, it’s characterized by High Gain.
  • Heavy Distortion
  • Versatile classic distortion from crunch to fat & intense lead sounds
  • Volume, Gain, Low, Mid, High, and Bias sliders
  • On / Off switch with LED display
  • Ambient LED lighting with 3 modes
  • Input and output socket: 6.3 mm jack
  • Power supply via 9 V DC power adapter with negative pole inside
  • Current consumption: 20 mA
  • Dimensions including potentiometers: 109 x 67 x 48 mm
  • Weight: 248 g

R-03 Uzi Distortion takes it to the next level. The UZI is versatile machine introducing some classic British overdriven amp tones. Why do we call it the UZI, it can unleash a powerful distortion that is enough to shatter a bus shelter. A killer drive distortion pedal !

The distortion effect pedal takes your guitar tone from a smooth overdriven break up to that intense edge of a sustained classic metal distortion. From subtle crunch to fat and saturated lead sound, the Uzi is a distortion pedal with great sonic flexibility and will represent a classic overdriven amp through to a very responsive aggressive grungey distortion with ease. The ability to adjust the EQ on the pedal arms you with a small but powerful sonic weapon. Similar to the sounds of a JCM800 and 900 this pedal sounds hot ! Don’t stand too close, when you hear this pedal shoot into action, your ears will get totally, fried man..

At your fingertips you can control Volume and Gain whilst tweaking the EQ with Low, Mid, High & Bias.

The R Series, or Revolution series from JOYO are the 4th generation of guitar effects and all feature some very cool ambient LED lighting. The lights can be toggled from a switch on the rear of the pedal..3 modes of lighting are available to adjust when they come on.

‘Sync’ to the footswitch – The LED ambient lighting on the front and rear of the pedal with shine bright when the footswitch is pressed, also illuminating the LED effect indicator on the top of the pedal.
‘Always’ – The lights are always on, but the pedal is only activated when you press the footswitch and the LED effect indicator comes on.
‘Off’ – Okay, so Tron may not be your favourite and you want to stick to something a little less futuristic. The lights are off, the LED effect indicator comes on when you stomp on it and activate the pedal.

Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal

Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ High Quality Components Used To Achieve Awesome Sounds
  • ✔ Designed To Compete With The Big Boys
  • ✔ Durable Metal Chassis To Help Ensure A Long Life
  • ✔ Designed In Germany
The Behringer OD300 Overdrive/Distortion guitar effects pedal is designed to cover a variety of song styles with two guitar effects in one pedal.
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  • Take off with overdrive, distortion or a combination of both effects in one powerful pedal
  • This Behringer product has been designed to compete head to head with leading products on the market
  • Dedicated Level, Tone, Drive and Mode controls for awesome sound shaping
  • Status LED for effect on/off and battery check
  • Runs on 9 V battery or the Behringer PSU-SB DC power supply (not included)
  • First-class electronic On/Off switch for highest signal integrity in bypass mode
  • 3-Year Warranty Program
  • Designed and engineered in Germany

Some songs call for an edgy modern-crunch; others call for the classic sound of hot and bothered tubes – still others need a little of both. The OVERDRIVE/DISTORTION OD300 has all your bases covered, allowing you to expertly sculpt your tone with the Level, Tone, Drive and Mode controls.

Thanks to the OD300’s Overdrive/Distortion blend dial, you can turn all the way to the left for pure overdrive, or all the way to the right for straight-ahead distortion. In between, you get an infinite amount of options for creating the perfect overdrive/distortion cocktail. And with the dedicated Tone, Level and Drive dials, everything you need to create a signature sound is right at your fingertips.

The LED tells you when the OD300 is working its magic, and the top-quality on/off switch maintains excellent signal integrity in bypass mode. You can power the OD300 with either a 9 V battery or our PSU-SB DC power supply (not included).

Why settle for just overdrive or distortion when you can have both? Set your tone on fi re with distortion, overdrive, or a potent blend of both – with the OVERDRIVE/DISTORTION OD300.

GOKKO SonicFire Distortion Pedal

GOKKO SonicFire Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Large Controllable Range
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Sturdy Aluminum Chassis
The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion guitar effects pedal's distortion is great. There is a large variety of tones and everything works as expected
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  • The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion is as the name might indicate an unusual high gain three step rocket of a distortion pedal.
  • The SonicFire offers nice distortion, from crunch to the high gain volume.
  • Built in regulated (+-12V) power supply, to secure the necessary headroom that gives you the great tone.
  • It simulates the Marshall amplifier’s distinctive tone.
  • With a solid metal housing with a true bypass foots witch.

The GOKKO SonicFire Distortion is as the name might indicate an unusual high gain three step rocket of an overdrive. The SonicFire offers nice overdrive, from crunch to the high gain volume. The crunch goes from subtle overdrive to hard rock gain stage, the high gain goes from rock gain stages to absolutely meltdown, with loads of gain and low end, and all in a tone that brings the memory back to the early 80’s high gain guitar hero’s.

The SonicFire has as most Gokko pedals a built in regulated (+-12V) power supply, to secure the necessary headroom that gives you the great tone.

The GK-25 distortion guitar effects pedal is a three-stage rocket pushing your gain levels past the stratosphere. Dial-in some tight and crunchy classic ‘80s dirt or crank everything up to the max for a complete bottom-heavy sonic meltdown. That’s not to say the SonicFire is all noise and fury, though; it also gives you plenty of headroom. Hold back on the Gain knob and this versatile stompbox can dish out a warm, subtle overdrive.

Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal Distortion Pedal

Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ High Quality Components - Built To Compete With The Big Boys
  • ✔ Great for Heavy Rock & Metal Distortion
  • ✔ Features Distortion, High, Mid, Level, Low & Mid Frequency Control Knobs
  • ✔ Electronic On/Off Switch For High Signal Integrity In Bypass Mode
The Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal distortion guitar effects pedal gives you the most extreme, sought-after hard rock and heavy metal sounds with super-thick, tube-like distortion.
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  • Take off with the most extreme and sought-after hard rock or heavy metal distortion
  • Multi-gain circuitry to give you super-thick, tube-like distortion plus endless sustain
  • Dedicated Distortion, 3-band EQ and Level controls for awesome sound shaping
  • Status LED for effect on/off and battery check
  • Runs on 9 V battery or the BEHRINGER PSU-SB DC power supply (not included)
  • First-class electronic On/Off switch for highest signal integrity in bypass mode

In the churning, smoldering world of heavy metal, it’s the middle frequencies that make all the difference between mush and muscle. With the UM300 Ultra Metal, you not only get control over the Mids – you can micromanage them!

The UM300 effects pedal gives you the most extreme, sought-after hard rock and heavy metal sounds, with super-thick, tube-like distortion – plus virtually endless sustain.

Like most distortion boxes, the UM300 comes with Distortion and Level controls, and the High and Low controls let you dial in the amount of top-end and bottom you desire – but the similarity to other stomps ends right there. Much like our world-class mixing consoles, we’ve given the UM300 a Mid Frequency control, allowing you to select a midrange frequency (from 200 Hz – 5 kHz) and boost/cut it by up to 15 dB. What this means in terms of tone, is thick, tube-like distortion with endless sustain for everything from aggressive, traditional metal assaults – to the ultimate in modern crunch! A brilliant status LED tells you when the UM300 is active, while a top-quality on/off switch maintains highest signal integrity in bypass mode. You can power the UM300 with our PSU-SB DC power supply (not included), or pop in a 9 V battery.

Is there a hole in the middle of your tone? You’ll be surprised how affordably and efficiently the Ultra Metal UM300 can fill it! Take off with the most extreme and sought-after hard rock or heavy metal distortion. Get hold of the Behringer UM300 Ultra Metal distortion guitar effects pedal today!

JOYO JF-03 Crunch Distortion Pedal

JOYO JF-03 Crunch Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Classic British Rock Tone
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Features Gain, Volume & Tone Control Knobs
  • ✔ Strong Aluminum Alloy Casing
The JOYO JF-03 Crunch distortion guitar effects pedal has great response and sustain, and the controls make precision fine-tuning a breeze.
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  • Features true bypass wiring, quality components
  • A tone monster / arena rock pedal, designed to
  • Replicate sound of the Marshall crunch gain stage
  • Simple design and pedal interface, comes with 9V
  • Tone, Gain and Volume, what more could you need?
  • Color: Red

The Crunch Distortion features true bypass wiring & quality components. Truly it is a tone monster/arena rock pedal. Designed to replicate the sound of a Marshall cranked way up, the pedal delivers in spades. With plenty of gain and volume on tap as well as being massively touch responsive this pedal truly is a hidden secret within the JOYO ranks. Never judge a pedal by its cover..

This pedal has made big (sound) waves in all the online communities; and anyone who’s ever heard hair-band metal and early 80s rock knows that this thing is the real deal. It does what the Marshall heads of yesteryear could accomplish but only when turned up so loud the neighbors called the cops because they couldn’t watch Cheers, Newhart or the Growing Pains!The JF-03 pedal has been heard all over the world now, and more and more people are catching on to the fact that you don’t need a digital modeling amp and complex computer audio for live performances where you want to cover different styles of music.

Lower gain settings produce some brilliant ACDC style tones, mid gain settings and you’re in Guns N’ Roses territory and maxing the gain knob you’re happily hitting classic Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden and Metallica levels of Gain.

Simple design and pedal interface, comes with 9V battery. Tone, gain and volume controls. Anything from a brilliant clean boost to the sound of a Full Stack cranked up and everything in between, it’s all at your fingertips with the Crunch Distortion!

Just grab one of these and you’ll be head-banging and thrashing in spandex with the best of them! The Crunch Distortion pedal is a bargain and a true dream to work with as a lead guitarist or a rhythm player who requires a second level of gain, particularly for songs featuring sections with multiple distortion sounds. Use your amp’s normal Drive channel for tone A and then when you need that little extra push for the final creshendo or the verse and chorus of your power ballad from Poison, click on the JF-03 — this thing will get you there!

The Best Distortion Pedals Under $100

  1. MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion Pedal - The MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion guitar effects pedal puts decades of 100% analog distortion at your feet. With its highly responsive Distortion control, the Super Badass covers a full spectrum
  2. Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal - The MT-2 Metal Zone distortion effects pedal is one of BOSS' most popular pedals. This stompbox provides some of the most insane distortion tones with huge mids and lows and an ultra-saturated sound.
  3. BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal - The BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion guitar effects pedal takes the bottom-heavy distortion sounds heard in today's new-school metal and pushes it to the extreme.
  4. MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Pedal - The MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion guitar effects pedal is the result of MXR taking a classic distortion circuit and hot-rodded it to deliver over-the-top, soaring leads and rich, saturated rhythms.
  5. Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal - The Pro Co RAT2 distortion guitar effects pedal will be your go-to distortion pedal for every gig, whether it’s rock, blues, punk, or jazz.
  6. BOSS DS-1 Distortion Pedal - The BOSS DS-1 Distortion pedal is a true icon in the world of guitar effects. Introduced in 1978, BOSS’s first distortion pedal delivered hard-edged attack and smooth sustain that’s been a staple for decades.
MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion Pedal

MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ 100% Analog
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Features Output, Distortion, Bass, Mid & Treble Control Knobs
  • ✔ Beautiful Silver Metal Finish
The MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion guitar effects pedal puts decades of 100% analog distortion at your feet. With its highly responsive Distortion control, the Super Badass covers a full spectrum
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  • Highly responsive full spectrum distortion
  • Bass, Mid & Treble controls
  • 100% Analog
  • Status LED
  • True bypass
  • Sturdy metal housing

After guitarists play MXR’s new Super Badass Distortion, they’ll find it hard to think of any other words to describe this phenomenal pedal. It may be the best distortion pedal ever in the company’s long and illustrious history.

The Super Badass Distortion puts decades of 100% analog distortion at your feet. With its highly responsive Distortion control, the Super Badass covers a full spectrum, from early ’70s low gain overdrive to modern “scooped” metal distortion and every shade of dirt in between. Once you’ve dialed in your desired amount of crunch, you can use the Bass, Mid, and Treble controls to finely sculpt your sound. The Super Badass Distortion features true bypass switching and comes ready for the road with the sturdy housing and durable components that MXR is known for.

With its versatile EQ section and responsive, dynamic gain circuit, the MXR Super Badass is possibly the best distortion pedal that MXR has ever offered.

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal

Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Solid, Strong Build Quality
  • ✔ Amazing Metal Distortion Sound
  • ✔ Hugely Popular Pedal
  • ✔ True Bypass
The MT-2 Metal Zone distortion effects pedal is one of BOSS' most popular pedals. This stompbox provides some of the most insane distortion tones with huge mids and lows and an ultra-saturated sound.
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  • The pedal for a proper metal sound
  • Sustainer/EQ/Overdrive pedal in pedal form
  • Level, EQ low/high and distortion adjustable
  • Compact, highly robust construction
  • Battery and mains operation possible
  • Incredible-sounding distortion pedal with unique dual-gain circuitry
  • Provides super-long sustain and heavy mids and lows like a stack of overdriven amps
  • Three-band EQ with semi-parametric Mid control offers a wide range of extreme distortion textures
  • A must-have pedal for any hard rock or metal guitarist
  • BOSS 5-year warranty

One of the most popular pedals in Boss’s arsenal the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Pedal is a must-have for any serious metal or hard rock player. With distortion resembling the guttural growl of Cerberus this pedal offers roaring distortion with massive mids and lows and ultra- saturated sound.

Metal Zone Foot Pedal The BOSS Metal Zone is another distortion pedal for guitarists who need the sound of a stack turned up to max volume. 2 Gain levels guarantee sufficient distortion and sustain until the last day; its rich bass and powerful mids can make noise like a 4×12 and the 3-band tone control, including quasi-parametric mid control, ensures plenty of flexibility. What more could the disciples of heavy metal need?

To keep up with the most severe metal playing the Boss Metal Zone MT-2 Pedal has been built to last with an aluminium die cast body and sturdy control knobs; backed by a 5-year warranty (when you register the pedal with Boss). The pedals compact design and light weight make it the perfect pedal for carrying between gigs.

BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal

BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Dual-Stage Distortion Circuit
  • ✔ Ideal For That Metal Sound
  • ✔ Strong Metal Casing
  • ✔ BOSS 5 Year Warranty
The BOSS MD-2 Mega Distortion guitar effects pedal takes the bottom-heavy distortion sounds heard in today's new-school metal and pushes it to the extreme.
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  • Produces extreme, low-end distortion for modern metal and hard rock
  • Gain Boost circuit creates huge distortion and sustain regardless of level
  • New Bottom control for bottom-heavy distortion matched to 7-string guitars
  • Tone control adjusts balance between high and low frequencies
  • BOSS 5-year warrant

The MD-2 Mega distortion takes the bottom-heavy distortion sounds heard in today’s new-school metal and pushes it to the extreme. The secret is a special dual-stage distortion circuit with an added gain boost-plus new Bottom and Tone controls–for crushing distortion with massive low end. Take your distortion into the future with the MD-2.

The Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion Pedal takes the principles of usual distortion by clipping the inputs signal and adding inharmonic overtones to create the classic warm grit that you would expect. Building on this the Boss MD2 Mega Distortion Pedal offers a dual-stage distortion circuit; adding a Gain Boost control knob to give you extra crushing distortion and incredible sustain, similar to the way distortion was first achieved by over-driving a tube amp. The inclusion of Bottom and Tone controls make it easy to put extra emphasis on the low-end and adjust the balance between high and low frequencies. The sound that the Boss MD-2 is capable of offering makes it the perfect piece of kit for modern metal and hard rock.

This pedal is great for rock and metal and has plenty of good tones. Take a look for yourself.

MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Pedal

MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Analog Distortion Pedal
  • ✔ Sturdy Metal Chassis
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Made In The USA
The MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion guitar effects pedal is the result of MXR taking a classic distortion circuit and hot-rodded it to deliver over-the-top, soaring leads and rich, saturated rhythms.
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  • Analog distortion pedal for electric guitar
  • Controls for output, tone and distortion
  • Selector switch for crunch mode
  • 2 Status LED
  • Robust metal housing
  • Operation with 9V battery or Dunlop ECB-003 AC adapter (optional)
  • Made in the USA

The MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion is a factory-modded pedal that roars with huge amp stack tones and old school tube amp-like distortion.

MXR took a classic distortion circuit and hot-rodded it to the next level for over-the-top soaring leads and rich, saturated rhythms. With only three knobs, dialing in Badass tone is a cinch. The CRUNCH button allows you to choose between two different modes of diode and LED clipping, boosting the harmonic content of the distortion.

The ’78 Distortion’s wide open amp-like sound sounds great whether it’s in front of a clean amp, a slightly dirty amp, or a full on overdriven amp. Under the hood, this high performance machine features top notch circuitry and hardware meant for a lifetime of use.

If you’ve got an ear for incredible distortion tones, then the MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion pedal is for you!

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal

Pro Co RAT2 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Features Distortion, Filter & Volume Controls
  • ✔ Military-Spec Glass-Epoxy Circuit Board
  • ✔ Five Year Limited Warranty
  • ✔ Glow In The Dark Graphics
The Pro Co RAT2 distortion guitar effects pedal will be your go-to distortion pedal for every gig, whether it’s rock, blues, punk, or jazz.
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  • Legendary distortion pedal
  • Used on thousands of recordings in the last three decades
  • Very versatile as a distortion for arena-rock rhythm tones and soaring leads, as a crunch channel for loud amps, or as a boost for solos, and you can still maintain your amplifier’s sound at the same time
  • Controls: distortion – filter – volume
  • LED: effect on

The RAT2 will be your go-to distortion pedal for every gig, whether it’s rock, blues, punk, or jazz.  This is the standard that all other distortion devices are measured against.  Heard on thousands of recordings, it has helped define the sound of the past three decade’s most influential bands.

The beauty of the RAT2 lies in its versatility.  Used as a primary distortion, it excels at arena rock rhythm tones and soaring leads.  Do you have a powerful amp with too much headroom for the gig?  Let the RAT2 be your dirty channel.  Maybe you already love your amp’s distortion.  Use the RAT2 as a boost for solos and get the extra kick you need.

The RAT2 features the legendary RAT filter control.  Turn it to the right to roll off brittle high-end frequencies.  Having trouble cutting through the mix?  Turn it to the left and allow the natural brightness of your instrument to shine through.

Distortion dials in the perfect amount of gain – from mild overdrive to full out fuzzy assault, and the volume control lets you dial it in just perfectly against your bypassed clean tone.

BOSS DS-1 Distortion Pedal

BOSS DS-1 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Been Around For Over 40 Years
  • ✔ Features Tone, Level & Distortion Control Knobs
  • ✔ Go To Pedal For Anyone Looking For A Classic Tone
  • ✔ Made To Last Strong Metal Chassis
The BOSS DS-1 Distortion pedal is a true icon in the world of guitar effects. Introduced in 1978, BOSS’s first distortion pedal delivered hard-edged attack and smooth sustain that’s been a staple for decades.
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  • Legendary distortion used by guitarists everywhere since 1978
  • Classic tones for all types of music
  • Hard-edged attack remains clear even at maximum distortion settings, ideal for heavy rhythms and cutting solos
  • Works great as a booster at low distortion settings
  • Unique tone control offers a wide range of sound shaping
  • Doesn’t mask the unique sound characteristics of different guitars, pickups, and styles
  • Turning down the guitar’s volume cleans up the tone without introducing muddiness
  • BOSS five-year warranty

For 40 years, the Boss DS-1 has appeared on pedal boards, in studios and on records drenching songs in lush distortion. It is instantly recognisable pedal used by everyone from beginners to absolute professionals. The Boss DS-1 is still to this day relied upon by guitarists in need of a versatile pedal that can provide smooth, creamy crunch, hard edge distortion and everything in between, all with low noise. This has fuelled the signature sounds of guitar legends all over the world and is still an extremely popular pedal in the music world.

The DS-1 Distortion is a true icon in the world of guitar effects. Introduced in 1978, BOSS’s first distortion pedal defined a bold new sound, delivering hard-edged attack and smooth sustain that’s been a staple of players for generations. The DS-1 is the top-selling BOSS compact pedal ever, and its original, unchanged design continues to inspire the creation of great music everywhere. The classic DS-1 tone is behind the signature sounds of numerous rock legends, and is ready to fuel your own signature sound today.

Before the DS-1, most distortion pedals produced harsh, buzzy tones and muddy sound at high gain settings. In 1978, BOSS engineers changed all that by developing a unique distortion circuit for the DS-1 that produces tight, hard-edged gain with rich harmonics while retaining the unique characteristics of different guitars and playing techniques. Hard rock, metal, and punk styles began to flourish in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and the DS-1’s tone had a defining influence on these genres. That trend has endured through multiple generations, and players around the world continue to seek out the classic DS-1 sound.

Unlike typical tone controls that only cut highs, the DS-1’s tone circuit features an innovative design that offers far more range. Turning the knob clockwise increases highs and decreases lows, while going counter-clockwise has the opposite effect. This lets you dial in everything from tight, cutting rhythm sounds to smooth, fat lead voices. The tone control is particularly effective for maintaining low-end definition when using the DS-1 as a booster with vintage-style amps, which often sound muddy when driven with other distortion pedals.

From its modest three-knob interface, many different sound colors can be coaxed from the DS-1. Its pioneering two-stage circuit incorporates both transistor and op-amp gain stages. This approach is critical to the DS-1’s characteristic low-frequency fullness, which is loved by guitarists that play heavy music genres. The distortion knob offers an extremely wide range, from a mild boost for driving amps and pedals to full-throttle gain for monster rock riffs.

The Best Distortion Pedals Over $100

  1. JHS Sweet Tea V3 Overdrive & Distortion Pedal - The JHS Sweet Tea V3 overdrive & distortion pedal is a versatile overdrive/distortion pedal that covers everything from light breakup, blues, rock, heavy grind to more.
  2. Revv Amplification G3 Overdrive & Distortion Pedal - The Revv Amplification G3 overdrive & distortion pedal sounds great whether you use it in front of an amp, in its effects loop, with a modeler, or direct into a cab simulator.
  3. Seymour Duncan Diamondhead Multistage Distortion & Boost Pedal - The Seymour Duncan Diamondhead multistage distortion and boost guitar effects pedal is a multi-stage distortion stompbox serves up the quintessential ’80s hard rock tone.
  4. BOSS Limited Edition 40th Anniversary DS-1 Distortion Pedal - The BOSS limited edition 40th anniversary DS-1 Distortion guitar effects pedal was released In celebration of BOSS' 40th anniversary. Only a limited number of units were made.
  5. BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion Pedal - The BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion guitar effects pedal sports an all-new design providing a superior playing experience that’s unattainable with analog distortion pedals.
  6. EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 Distortion Pedal - The EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 distortion guitar effects pedal is modeled after a cranked vintage Model T amplifier to bring the openness, clarity, and crunch a dimed tube amp can provide.
  7. Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal - Fiery sounding and flexible, The Fender Pugilist Distortion guitar effects pedal is ready to add some heavyweight gain to your rig.
  8. TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal - The TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion guitar effects pedal is the kind of pedal that you wanna go play for half an hour and end up spending half a day with.
JHS Sweet Tea V3 Overdrive & Distortion Pedal

JHS Sweet Tea V3 Overdrive & Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Two Pedals In One
  • ✔ Choose Which Direction The Circuit Flows
  • ✔ A Versatile Overdrive & Distortion Pedal
  • ✔ Made In The USA
The JHS Sweet Tea V3 overdrive & distortion pedal is a versatile overdrive/distortion pedal that covers everything from light breakup, blues, rock, heavy grind to more.
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  • 2 Overdrive circuits from the Moonshine V2 and Angry Charlie V3
  • Both circuits can be used separately or together
  • Sequence switchable in signal chain
  • True bypass
  • JHS Moonshine Section Controls for Volume, Drive Tone and Clean
  • Angry Charlie Section Controls for Volume, Drive, Bass, Mid and Treble
  • Toggle switch to select the order of overdrive circuits in the signal chain
  • 2-Way toggle switch to select between 2 levels of drive saturation
  • Status LEDs
  • Metal housing
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 110 x 125 x 50 mm
  • Weight: 360 g
  • Made in USA

The Sweet Tea V3 is our ‘Everything Medium-to-High gain 2-in-1’ and it covers all the bases from light breakup, blues, rock, heavy grind and more. The Sweet Tea V3 is for anyone who wants a versatile overdrive/distortion that covers all the bases you need plus more. You’ll find medium-to-high gain tones and the ability to stack for the perfect way to melt faces.

The Sweet Tea V3 features our classic order switching toggle so that you can choose which circuit is first in the chain for the perfect stacking tones you’ve been searching for. With these tones combined or used separately, the Sweet Tea V3 is a gallon-and-a-half of overdrive that goes down easy on a summer night.

On the left side is our newest version of the Angry Charlie which is the Angry Charlie V3, one of our most popular pedals of the last few years. High gain JCM 800 type ‘Brown’ sound tone that we believe is the most accurate Marshall tone ever put in a stomp box. It has volume, drive, and the full bass, mid, treble tone stack like you’d find on the amp. With the full tone stack and the amazingly accurate amp tones in this circuit you’ll be begging for more.

The right side is our brand new Moonshine V2 which is a highly unique and massively tweaked version of the most famous overdrive ever created housed in a little green enclosure. The Moonshine V2 has the classic mid-heavy tones that you’d expect but with more gain, volume, and tones available than you ever thought possible. The Moonshine V2 has the same core tone as the Moonshine Version 1 but we have added a new ‘Clean’ knob to blend in the perfect amount of clean signal with your overdrive signal.

Revv Amplification G3 Overdrive & Distortion Pedal

Revv Amplification G3 Overdrive & Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Sturdy Metal Chassis
  • ✔ Features Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ Made In Canada
The Revv Amplification G3 overdrive & distortion pedal sounds great whether you use it in front of an amp, in its effects loop, with a modeler, or direct into a cab simulator.
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  • Voicing based on Revv’s signature “Purple Channel” from the Generator 120 & 100P
  • Clear, sustaining, amp-like tone
  • Used by premier metal, rock, prog, blues, fusion, country, punk, & pop artists worldwide
  • 3 band EQ, 3 aggression modes, volume, & gain
  • 9v center negative tip (external power supply only)
  • Easy to dial – get good tone quickly
  • Blue LED for status confirmation
  • Reflective purple, laser-etched, powder coated chassis
  • Optimized for analog, digital, & hybrid rigs
  • Over 16 revisions & 1 year of R&D
  • Top-mounted jacks

The G3 is a powerful distortion pedal made by high-gain amp masters, Revv Amps. This pedal captures their signature aggressive distortion tones in an easy-to-use pedal format and the pedal comes with varying degrees of gain allowing you to go from chunky, thick rhythm tones to searing lead tones that will have you cutting through the mix.

What Revv had to say about the G3 overdrive & distortion pedal

I had been working on a transistor version of the Purple channel in my spare time for quite a while. I mentioned it to the guys one night & they said “What are you doing?! Put it in a pedal!” It sounded great right out of the gate but a lot of additional time went into making the G3  feel right under the fingers with even saturation & nice bloom & attack – not flat & sterile. Testing with different kinds of rigs – making it as versatile as possible. I’m very proud of this because even just in early testing we saw it used in studios, on fly-rig boards with cab modeling direct to front of house, in front of big high gain heads, used with little combos. So much positive feedback from touring artists, producers, & session guys – but we still went through over a 16 revisions to get it just right! So much music is being made around the world on this pedal & I can’t wait to hear even more.

-Dan Trudeau, President & Head Designer

With varying degrees of gain, the pedal allows you to go from thick and chunky rhythm tones, to searing lead tones that will have you cutting through the mix in a heartbeat. However, the aggression toggle switch is where all the magic happens. With blue and red options, this little switch gives you a gain and volume boost to varying levels of intensity.

A strong pedal to add to our list of recommendations. I might be a little pricey but you really do get what you pay for.

Seymour Duncan Diamondhead Multistage Distortion & Boost Pedal

Seymour Duncan Diamondhead Multistage Distortion & Boost Pedal

  • ✔ Independent 15dB Boost Function
  • ✔ Features Bass, Mid, Treble, Boost, Level & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ Sat Switch - Adds A 24dB Pre-Gain Boost
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
The Seymour Duncan Diamondhead multistage distortion and boost guitar effects pedal is a multi-stage distortion stompbox serves up the quintessential ’80s hard rock tone.
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  • Authentic sound of a half stack pushed hard
  • Distortion and boost section can be used separately
  • Active 3-band EQ with +/- 13 dB cut/boost in each band
  • True bypass
  • Controls: Bass, Mid, Treble, Boost, Level, Gain
  • SAT-activated toggle switch adds a 24 dB pre-gain boost
  • Distortion footswitch
  • Boost footswitch
  • Status LEDs
  • Metal housing
  • 6.3 mm Mono input/output jacks
  • Operates via optional 9-18 V DC power supply (not included), 2.1 x 5.5 mm coaxial power connector, negative polarity (-) inside
  • Current consumption: 130 mA @ 9 V / 65 mA @ 18 V
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 119.4 x 88.9 x 40.6 mm
  • Weight: 408 g

Diamondhead captures the power and versatility of that era-defining rig in a package that will find a space on any pedalboard. Whether you’re running it into a clean pedal platform amp or into the frontend of an overdriven tube amp, the Diamondhead provides the flexibility and tonal clarity to authentically capture the sound that defined an era. It all starts with the drive – from breathy and raw medium gain sounds to screaming high-gain harmonics, Diamondhead is deep and three- dimensional, with clarity and touch response. Three powerful active EQ controls maximize the potential of the gain section. A tightly defined bass control boosts and cuts at 80 Hz with surgical precision, making the low end huge, but never muddy. A broader mid-range control set right at 800 Hz allows for massive scooped chunk, hyper aggressive modern attack and everything in between. The Treble control set at 6 kHz adds sizzle, cut, and attack.

Diamondhead can be used in a variety of ways. It works great in front of a clean amp, injecting it with the sound of a cranked amp stack. You can also punish the front end of an overdriven amp, soaking your tone in gorgeous layers of saturation. Many guitarists here at Sweetwater have also achieved seriously brutal tones by running Diamondhead straight into an amp’s effects return, effectively transforming the pedal into a hot-rodded high-gain preamp. Regardless of how you use it, this stompbox delivers an ear-grabbing, aggressive sound with loads of bite, body, and character.

The SAT Switch (based on our 805 Overdrive) adds a 24 dB pre-gain boost that tightens up the low end for more aggressive and defined attack. Subtly rolling off lows and highs it allows the mid-range to cut through creating chewy, harmonic saturation. Independent from the Drive section, the Boost (activated with the left footswitch) offers 0 to 15 dB of gain and can be used as a lead boost or to push an amp on the edge into overdrive. Try using it with a slightly dirty amp as the first gain stage and adding the Drive section for your highest gain sounds.

If you want to dial in your tone with surgical precision, Diamondhead is the right tool for the job, thanks to its flexible 3-band EQ. The Bass knob employs a super-tight curve at 80Hz to add girth to your tone without any mud or flabbiness. The Mid knob utilizes a broad curve at 800Hz to create colossal scooped chunk, hyper-aggressive attack, and all points in between. And the Treble knob, set at 6kHz, adds sizzle, cut, and articulation to your playing. To complement the EQ, Seymour Duncan has included a SAT switch based on their 805 Overdrive. This function adds a 24dB pre-gain boost that subtly rolls off lows and highs, tightening your lows and allowing your mids to cut through. The chewy, harmonic saturation that the SAT switch adds to your tone is downright amazing!

Diamondhead also shines as a pre-amp. By running it into the effects return of your tube amp, or in front of the PowerStage power amps you’ll be rewarded with a hot-rodded high gain amp tone with body, bite and character.

Of course, it doesn’t matter how many cool features Diamondhead has if it doesn’t fulfill its purpose — GAIN! And fulfill that purpose it does, from raw medium-gain crunch to screaming high-gain grind. Palm mutes chug, pinch harmonics squeal, and power chords resonate with glorious harmonic content — all while retaining maximum clarity and touch response. You also get an independent Boost footswitch that kicks in a variable gain boost of up to 15dB. This works great as a lead boost, or you can push an amp on the brink of overdrive into full-on saturation.

If you’ve gone through a pile of overdrives, distortions, and boost pedals searching for that quintessential 80’s metal or hard rock tone and haven’t been satisfied, make Diamondhead the heart of your rig. Versatile enough to handle any covers set, precise enough to surgically dial in your own tone – it captures the rock ‘n’ roll spirit of a high gain head pushed to the edge.

So what’s our vertict? The winning feature of the Seymour Duncan Diamondhead is the boost element. While other pedals have decent boosts, the quality of the Diamondhead’s boost is much more appealing. It not only works independently of the gain feature but also has a more favorable impact on the overall tone of the pedal when engaged. You can definitely achieve heavy chugging tones when you activate the boost switch. Perfect for those heavier metal rhythm chug tones. If you’re looking for a superb boost pedal that comes with some very nice other features. Give the Seymour Duncan Diamondhead pedal a chance.

BOSS Limited Edition 40th Anniversary DS-1 Distortion Pedal

BOSS Limited Edition 40th Anniversary DS-1 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Limited Edition Black Model
  • ✔ Features Tone, Level & Distortion Control Knobs
  • ✔ Go To Pedal For Anyone Looking For A Classic Tone
  • ✔ Made To Last Strong Metal Chassis
The BOSS limited edition 40th anniversary DS-1 Distortion guitar effects pedal was released In celebration of BOSS' 40th anniversary. Only a limited number of units were made.
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  • Legendary distortion used by guitarists everywhere since 1978
  • Classic tones for all types of music
  • Hard-edged attack remains clear even at maximum distortion settings, ideal for heavy rhythms and cutting solos
  • Works great as a booster at low distortion settings
  • Unique tone control offers a wide range of sound shaping
  • Doesn’t mask the unique sound characteristics of different guitars, pickups, and styles
  • Turning down the guitar’s volume cleans up the tone without introducing muddiness
  • BOSS five-year warranty

For 40 years, the Boss DS-1 has appeared on pedal boards, in studios and on records drenching songs in lush distortion. It is instantly recognisable pedal used by everyone from beginners to absolute professionals. The Boss DS-1 is still to this day relied upon by guitarists in need of a versatile pedal that can provide smooth, creamy crunch, hard edge distortion and everything in between, all with low noise. This has fuelled the signature sounds of guitar legends all over the world and is still an extremely popular pedal in the music world.

The DS-1 Distortion is a true icon in the world of guitar effects. Introduced in 1978, BOSS’s first distortion pedal defined a bold new sound, delivering hard-edged attack and smooth sustain that’s been a staple of players for generations. The DS-1 is the top-selling BOSS compact pedal ever, and its original, unchanged design continues to inspire the creation of great music everywhere. The classic DS-1 tone is behind the signature sounds of numerous rock legends, and is ready to fuel your own signature sound today.

Before the DS-1, most distortion pedals produced harsh, buzzy tones and muddy sound at high gain settings. In 1978, BOSS engineers changed all that by developing a unique distortion circuit for the DS-1 that produces tight, hard-edged gain with rich harmonics while retaining the unique characteristics of different guitars and playing techniques. Hard rock, metal, and punk styles began to flourish in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and the DS-1’s tone had a defining influence on these genres. That trend has endured through multiple generations, and players around the world continue to seek out the classic DS-1 sound.

Unlike typical tone controls that only cut highs, the DS-1’s tone circuit features an innovative design that offers far more range. Turning the knob clockwise increases highs and decreases lows, while going counter-clockwise has the opposite effect. This lets you dial in everything from tight, cutting rhythm sounds to smooth, fat lead voices. The tone control is particularly effective for maintaining low-end definition when using the DS-1 as a booster with vintage-style amps, which often sound muddy when driven with other distortion pedals.

From its modest three-knob interface, many different sound colors can be coaxed from the DS-1. Its pioneering two-stage circuit incorporates both transistor and op-amp gain stages. This approach is critical to the DS-1’s characteristic low-frequency fullness, which is loved by guitarists that play heavy music genres. The distortion knob offers an extremely wide range, from a mild boost for driving amps and pedals to full-throttle gain for monster rock riffs.

The 40th anniversary model was released in 2017 and very few are still available on the market. It’s worth a look as you might not get a second chance!

BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion Pedal

BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Special Edition Pedal
  • ✔ Perfect Sound Over The Entire Fretboard
  • ✔ Real Time Processing Adapts To Your Playing Style
  • ✔ Features True Bypass Switching
The BOSS DS-1X Special Edition Distortion guitar effects pedal sports an all-new design providing a superior playing experience that’s unattainable with analog distortion pedals.
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  • Special edition BOSS distortion pedal with next-generation sound, feel, and tonal response
  • All-new design provides a superior playing experience that’s unattainable with analog distortion pedals
  • Powerful real-time processing adapts to your playing to provide ideal distortion tones in every register
  • Enjoy perfect sounds over the entire fretboard, from tight, crisp tones on the low strings to fat, singing tones on the highest notes
  • High-clarity distortion sound that’s never muddy or boomy, even when playing two or more notes at the same time
  • Ultra-responsive to volume changes and picking dynamics
  • Very low noise, even with high-gain settings
  • Drive, High, and Low knobs offer a wide range of sound shaping not found in typical stompbox pedals
  • Striking appearance with exclusive chrome knobs and control plate, plus vintage silver knob for battery compartment access
  • Features BOSS’ innovative Multi-Dimensional Processing (MDP), realized with proprietary technology and custom DSP

The DS-1X launches the famous BOSS distortion into a modern era of expression, delivering an unmatched level of performance for guitarists with an ear for tone. This next-generation stomp combines over 35 years of innovation in pedal design with the most advanced technologies, bringing you a completely new tonal experience that’s only possible with the legendary expertise of BOSS. Prepare to be amazed—the inspiring and ultra-responsive DS-1X will change your thinking about distortion pedals forever.

The DS-1X completely redefines the distortion stomp, kicking it into a new universe of dynamic response and clarity. Powered by BOSS’ MDP technology, this amazing pedal delivers distortion that sounds perfect no matter where you play on the neck, even at the highest gain settings. You’ll enjoy tight response on the low strings and fat, singing tones on the highest notes, plus exceptional definition when playing two or more notes at a time. At every setting, the sound is never muddy or boomy, while the smooth, natural presence ensures that you always cut through without harshness or nasal overtones. With the DS-1X, your distortion tone feels and sounds “dialed in” the instant you turn it on, providing a rich, satisfying playing experience that’s both effortless and inspiring.

We love the DS-1, if you want something a little bit special, get the DS-1X while you can.

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 Distortion Pedal

EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Simple - Can't Get Much Simpler Than Volume & A Foot Switch
  • ✔ Warning - Described As "Very Loud"
  • ✔ Hand Built In Akron, Ohio, USA
  • ✔ Beautiful Design
The EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold V2 distortion guitar effects pedal is modeled after a cranked vintage Model T amplifier to bring the openness, clarity, and crunch a dimed tube amp can provide.
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  • Measures; 4.75″ x 2.50″ x. 2.25″ with knob
  • Current Draw; 18mA
  • Input Impedance; 50K Ohm
  • Output Impedance; <10K Ohm
  • Power; Standard 9V DC Power Supply w/ 2.1mm Negative Center Barrel

The Acapulco Gold is a dirt-simple distortion device modeled after the sound of a cranked vintage Model T amplifier, bringing the openness, clarity, and crunch that only a dimed tube amp can provide, at a fraction of the size, and without expensive maintenance costs! We also decided to keep the controls of the Acapulco Gold as simple as possible. The footswitch turns the pedal on and off, and the giant knob controls the output volume. That’s it. The rest is at your fingertips.

The big knob sets the output level, sometimes known as Volume. With your guitar’s volume all the way up, the Acapulco Gold roars like a wide-open Model T on the verge of explosion. At just-barely-backed-off, the Gold becomes a raunchy overdrive. At minimum guitar volume settings, the Acapulco Gold delivers a hazy, Nashville-sounding spank to your tone.

The Acapulco Gold is a dirt-simple power amp distortion device that’s based on the vibe of a cranked Sunn Model T. You know what’s awesome? Vintage Sunn Amplifiers. You know what else is awesome? Simplicity. One button, one knob. How loud would you like it? Just move the knob. This is the spirit of rock and roll. Quit turning knobs and play that guitar like you mean it.

Don’t let the single big knob fool you—a rainbow of dark and dirty fuzz-like tones with massive bass and singing sustain exist within the Acapulco Gold, and dialing in the sounds you want couldn’t be any easier. Get yours today!

Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal

Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Dual Gain Engines
  • ✔ LED Backlit Knobs
  • ✔ Beautiful Gold Color
  • ✔ Magnetic Battery Door
Fiery sounding and flexible, The Fender Pugilist Distortion guitar effects pedal is ready to add some heavyweight gain to your rig.
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  • Dual gain engines
  • Discrete tone controls per channel
  • LED backlit knobs
  • Fender Amp Jewel LED
  • Magnetically latched hinged 9V battery door
  • Lightweight durable anodized aluminum construction

Fiery sounding and flexible, The pugilist distortion is ready to add some heavyweight gain to your rig. This original design features dual gain engines-with independent tone controls for each-letting you select multiple variations of distortion, ensuring this pedal will play well with any rig. Series/blend switch lets you stack channels for thick, cascading distortion, while the bass boost switch fattens up your tone. The blend control mixes the two channels to get the best of both worlds, crafting a sound just for you.

  1. Dual gain engines-with independent tone controls for each-make it easy for you to dial in your sound. A Series/Blend switch lets you stack engines for brutal tone.
  2. The Pugilist Distortion’s Blend control mixes your dry and effected signals to taste, bringing out your pick attack to create complex, articulate tone with lively transients.
  3. The versatile per-channel tone controls not only let you shape your sound exactly, they also make it easy to use this pedal with any amp-even one with a Bright switch.
  4. LED-illuminated knobs show your control settings at a glance-even on dark stages.
  5. The exclusive, ‘patent applied for’, magnetically latched 9V battery door makes it quick and easy to swap batteries.
  6. Every Fender effects pedal is crafted from lightweight, durable anodized aluminum-they’ll easily withstand the rigors of touring.

Beyond its wide-ranging overdrive and distortion, every aspect of the Fender Pugilist Distortion pedal is tailored for live performers. LED-backlit knobs show you your settings at a glance, even on a dark stage. Battery changes are fast and easy thanks to the innovative battery compartment design.

So what’s the verdict? Fender’s new line of effects impresses for each pedal’s utilitarian functionality, distinct sounds, useful and innovative new features (particularly the magnetized battery compartment door) and most of all for their exceptionally affordable prices.

TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal

TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Feature Gain, Level, Bass and Treble Control Knobs
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Nice Color Scheme
  • ✔ Great Pedal For 'Metal' Players
The TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion guitar effects pedal is the kind of pedal that you wanna go play for half an hour and end up spending half a day with.
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  • Phenomenal distortion pedal with an extreme dynamic range gives you highly musical distortion covering a wide soundspectrum
  • Vintage-voiced distortion from analog circuits offers a full sound with lively response that can be instantly adjusted to a huge range of tones
  • Two-band EQ with active bass and treble knobs lets you really shape your sound
  • Voicing switch allows you to toggle between extra bass for a more modern sound or filling your tone with retro vibes
  • True bypass allows for optimum clarity and zero high-end loss when the pedal is off
  • Four-knob interface for extensive tonal tweaking while remaining highly intuitive to let you focus on playing

Dark Matter is the kind of pedal that you wanna go play for half an hour and end up spending half a day with. It’s musical, covers a super-wide range of sounds but stays true to its base, an all analog-drive circuit that reminisces plexi sounds with both a classic and modern edge.

Hard to imagine now, but there was a time before digital. If you think about it, many of the best distortion sounds stem from that era. Why? Well, it’s the analog circuits, they sound great and got a little more to give when you really punish them – it simply sounds more real, fuller and better. That’s the sound we love: dangerous, on the edge yet thoroughly musical. The sound that begs you to play harder, louder, faster and more.

Distortion is great, but control is key. No one wants the ice-pick to the ears or a mushy bass-laden goo. Dark Matter delivers with bass and treble knobs, perfect for dialing in sounds precisely and lightning fast.

Dark Matter distortion adds extra versatility via a voicing switch that either adds bass for a more modern sound or fills your tone with retro vibes for an old school vintage throwback that oozes classic rock on steroids.

Simply put, the Dark Matter Distortion pedal aims to give you that powerful, super-musical roar of an early plexus – A sound that will satisfy even the pickiest players out there. Well worth considering if you’re looking for that ’80’s metal’ sound.

The Best Mini Distortion Pedals On The Market

  1. Mooer Black Secret Distortion Pedal - The Mooer Black Secret distortion guitar effects pedal captures the classic "Rat" tone made famous in the '70s and '80s.
  2. Koogo PDS-1 Distortion Pedal - The Koogo PDS-1 distortion pedal's distortion works great and difference in the tone is fantastic. For the price it is a real bargain.
  3. Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal - The Donner Morpher distortion guitar effects pedal is High-Gain Distortion, great made and affordable. Sounds like a crossover between MI Crunch Box and Suhr Riot.3 knobs to control Level, Gain and Tone.
  4. Kimise US Dream Distortion Pedal - The Kimise US Dream distortion guitar effects pedal is a good quality budget distortion pedal that has some solid customer reviews to back it up.
  5. AZOR AP-302 Distortion Pedal - The AZOR AP-302 Distortion guitar effects pedal offers all-sided high-gain distortion with excellent dynamic response and definition.
Mooer Black Secret Distortion Pedal

Mooer Black Secret Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Mode Switch Toggles Between Vintage & Turbo Distortion
  • ✔ Vintage - Smooth, Warm Distortion Sound
  • ✔ Turbo - Over Twice The Max Output Of Vintage, Monstrous Distortion
  • ✔ Small Sized Metal Chassis - Easy To Fit On Your Pedalboard
The Mooer Black Secret distortion guitar effects pedal captures the classic "Rat" tone made famous in the '70s and '80s.
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  • 2 Working Modes:Vintage/Turbo
  • Vintage: A warm, smooth, vintage distortion sound
  • Turbo: More than twice the maximum output of the vintage mode, more powerful distortion sound
  • Full metal shell
  • Pedalboard friendly
  • True bypass
  • Requires 9V DC power supply (not included)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 93.5 x 42 x 52 mm
  • Weight: 160 g

The Black Secret Distortion pedal captures the classic “Rat” tone made famous in the ’70s and ’80s. The pedal features two modes: Vintage and Turbo. Both modes are very different with vintage delivering a raspy thinner distortion that doesn’t over power your tone. The Turbo mode on the other hand really thickens up the tone giving you a beefier modern sound.
Like the other micro pedals in the Mooer family, this pedal will fit on any pedal board with ease. Its full metal casing makes it durable and road ready, and like most great effects pedals it has true bypass.

If you like the original RAT pedal then you’ll love this budget distortion pedal. It’s taken it’s inspiration from the RAT tones perfectly. Build quality is good, sound is good, price is good. What more is there to say. Give it a chance, you won’t regret it!

Koogo PDS-1 Distortion Pedal

Koogo PDS-1 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Small Sized Pedal - Great For Crowded Pedalboards
  • ✔ Toggle Between Natural, Tight & Classic Modes
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
The Koogo PDS-1 distortion pedal's distortion works great and difference in the tone is fantastic. For the price it is a real bargain.
  • Suitable for solo, high gain distortion pedal with dynamic response and definition, especially suitable for solo playing and keep particles with smooth.
  • 3 WORKING MODES – Natural, Tight, and Classic.High degree distortion degree of metal, stable to solo, has strong expression with dynamic echo sound.
  • Whole aluminium-alloy classic, stable and strong.
  • True bypass provide transparent tone, LED indicator shows the working state.
  • Input impedance: 1 M Ohms.
  • Output impedance: 95 Ohms.
  • Working current: 13 mA.
  • Power Supply: 9V AC adapter.
  • Dimensions: 3.74″ (D) x 1.77″ (W) x 1.89 (H).
  • Weight: 8.46oz (with box).

The Koogo Distortion pedal is capable of making your tiny fresh tube amp a louder and fuller sound as the full stack. This high gain distortion pedal features dynamic response and definition. It is perfect for solo playing and maintains particles with smooth. You can select from three working modes: Classic, Natural, and Tight. The Koogo Distortion comes in a stable and sturdy aluminium-alloy enclosure. It also includes an LED indicator that displays the working state and true bypass for transparent tone.

Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal

Donner Morpher Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Aluminum Alloy Chassis
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ 3 Mode Toggle Switch - Natural, Tight & Classic
The Donner Morpher distortion guitar effects pedal is High-Gain Distortion, great made and affordable. Sounds like a crossover between MI Crunch Box and Suhr Riot.3 knobs to control Level, Gain and Tone.
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  • High degree distortion degree of metal, stable to solo, has strong expression with dynamic echo sound
  • Whole aluminium-alloy classic, stable and strong
  • True bypass provide transparent tone, LED indicator shows the working state
  • Input impedance: 1 M Ohms
  • Output impedance: 95 Ohms
  • Working current: 13 mA
  • DC 9V adapter power supply(Center negative)
  • Dimensions: 95mm (D)*44mm (W)*48mm (H)
  • Weight: 240g (with box)
  • UPC:612306303022

Donner’s Morpher is an affordable, well-made, and high-gain distortion pedal. It sounds like a crossover between the Suhr Riot and MI Crunch Box. It is capable of making your tiny fresh tube AMP a louder and fuller sound as the “Full Stack” effect. The Mopher lets you relish your colorful and fun life. It consists of three knobs for controlling the Tone, Gain, and Level, as well as three models: Classic, Tight, and Natural. You can adjust three function knobs and select your desired model to create your music tone.

Let your little fresh tube amp power can be issued full stack speaker tones, full of loud voices. Maintainning sound natural and relaxed sounds structure. There will be no panic frequency, no dull bass, no obtrusive medium and have a good adaptability to the distortion. High-Gain Distortion pedal with excellent dynamic response and definition especially suited for Lead playing. There are three function knobs, namely LEVEL, TONE and GAIN. LEVEL is used to set the distortion volume. TONE is to set the brightness of tone. GAIN is used to set degree of distortion. Three models: Natural,Tight and Classic.

Easy Controls, Wide Flexibilities

The Morpher features an easy-to-use three-knob tone control: LEVEL (output volume), TONE (brightness) and GAIN (distortion amount) for using in different scenarios. Each knob gives you a wide control range.

3-way Tone Switch

  1. Natural: Neutral mode that delivers an organic, natural tone
  2. Tight: A more aggressive tone with enhanced bottoms and edges
  3. Classic: Provides a classic UK-style high gain sound with warm mids

Overall, the Morpher is a mini modern high gain distortion pedal inspired by the huge high gain stack amp sound. By switching it on, the Morpher can transform any gentle clean amp into a high gain monster! Check it out for yourself!

Kimise US Dream Distortion Pedal

Kimise US Dream Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ Strong Aluminum Chassis
  • ✔ Small Sized Pedal - Easy To Transport & Accommodate On Your Board
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Features Volume, Distortion & Tone Control Knobs
The Kimise US Dream distortion guitar effects pedal is a good quality budget distortion pedal that has some solid customer reviews to back it up.
  • Volume: Adjust the volume of the sound.
  • Dist: Adjust the amount of distortion.
  • Tone: Adjust the intensity of the tone.
  • Input & Output Jack: Single ¼ inch (instrument cable).
  • LED Light: LED indicator shows the working state.
  • True Bypass: Minimizes tone loss.
  • Full metal shell: Aluminum alloy casing with stoving varnish finish.
  • Power Supply: 9V DC.

Developed with the code to reduce noise swells common with distortion circuit, you get the quietest effect possible with this pedal. True bypass switching maintains pure signal flow when the distortion pedal disengaged. Aluminium alloy body makes this distortion pedal safe to transport. This distortion pedal has a small size body, light weight, suitable for out side gigs.

The US Dream Distortion pedal is a bargain and a true dream to work with as a lead guitarist or a rhythm player who requires a second level of gain, particularly for songs featuring sections with multiple distortion sounds.

 

AZOR AP-302 Distortion Pedal

AZOR AP-302 Distortion Pedal

  • ✔ True Bypass
  • ✔ Strong Metal Chassis
  • ✔ Features Level, Tone & Gain Control Knobs
  • ✔ Small Sized Pedal Will Fit On Busy Pedalboards
The AZOR AP-302 Distortion guitar effects pedal offers all-sided high-gain distortion with excellent dynamic response and definition.
  • Mini distortion pedal.
  • Level, Tone and Gain controls.
  • True bypass and durable metal enclosure.
  • 3 way selector switch.
  • Takes 9v power only – not batteries.

The Azor Distortion is part of the new Azor range of micro pedals. They’re built by the Caline company as one of their new brands. This means you know it’s going to sound amazing for the price.

The AP-302 is a high gain distortion pedal capable of getting that Full Stack tone. In conjunction with the main knobs you can use the 3 way selector for Natural, Tight and Classic options. It’s true bypass and takes a 9v power supply (not included). The pedal is too small to fit batteries.

More Information : Best Distortion Pedals On The Market

What Is A Distortion Pedal?

A distortion pedal will color your tone and push your amp to give it a unique sound. The characteristics of which will depend on the pedal you use and the components within the pedal itself.

Why Do I Need A Distortion Pedal?

You’ve got a guitar, an amp & a decent clean sound. The problem is your amp is missing that sweet distortion sound that will blow your audience away. You might already have a specific type of distortion but you’re missing a 70’s classic tone.

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