Showing posts from February, 2024

Overdrive, Distortion and Fuzz

Broadly, when we talk about “overdrive”, distortion” and “fuzz”, we are talking about wave clipping , which happens when the signal exceeds the headroom of the amp.  Soft clipping is normally called “overdrive” and mimics the gain on your amp being turned up. Hard clipping is more aggressive, cutting the peaks flat. This is called “distortion”. When the wave form is so clipped that it turns a sine wave into a fully square shape, this is called “fuzz”. Here’s a diagram: Overdrive can be likened to a boost: it drives your amp harder so that the amp (rather than the effects pedal or app) creates the distortion. Think of overdrive in the way you might think of the gain on your amp (or the “power knob” if you one, which affects how much the gain knob drives the amp). Obviously some “overdrive pedals” are just weaker distortion pedals (because they do more than drive the amp).  Likewise, some “distortion pedals” are really more like overdrives because they really don’t introduce a clip as mu