Overdrive vs distortion explained

If there are skills that many people admire the most, these would be none other than guitar playing. Everybody admires someone who knows how to play the guitar quite well. But speaking of guitar playing, there are certain effects such as growling, gritty or fuzzy, that not so many players can achieve simply because they are complex. But with a few basic techniques at your fingertips and certain guitar effects accessories, you can accomplish any effect with your guitar regardless of its complexity. Learning overdrive and distortion effects as well as knowing how to manipulate these effects on your sounds will see you play your musical instrument like a rock star.

distortion 1

What Are Overdrive and Distortion Effects?

Simply put, overdrive and distortion effects are forms of audio signal processing that proficient guitar players use to alter the sounds of amplified electric guitars, normally by increasing their gain, producing very complex and rare sounds like gritty, fuzzy or growling.

Overdrive Vs Distortion Forms of Audio Signal Processing

Distortion is the most popular form of audio signal processing between the two. The growling sound effect of a distorted electric guitar is a major part of several music genres, including blues, pop, and many types of rock. While electric and bass guitars are the most common musical instruments that can produce these effects, there are also other instruments that can equally accomplish the same, such as the electric piano. Several ways to achieve distortion with the electric guitar or bass guitar have been developed over time, such as distortion effect pedals. One or several distortion pedals can be inserted into the signal path between the guitar and the amplifier to improve the overall sound. Once hooked to the guitar and sound system, the device/s will boost the sound signal coming from the instrument, adding “effects” that enhance the sound which is produced by the guitar.

Overdrive effects can still be heard in some tones today, but these effects are not as popular in guitar tones as distortion effects. Overdrive pedals enable electric guitars to produce overdrive effects. Just like distortion pedals, one or several overdrive pedals can be inserted into the signal path between the guitar and the amplifier to enhance the sound. Once hooked to the guitar and sound system, the pedal/s will modify the signal coming from the instrument, adding mind-blowing effects you have never heard before.


Overdrive vs. distortion; overdrive and distortion are complex yet entertaining guitar sound effects that can be produced using overdrive and distortion pedals respectively. These pedals significantly alter the electronic signal produced by a musical instrument, changing its tone to a great extent. Overdrive and distortion pedals can be used to produce a range of different sounds, effects, as well as echoes, from a heavy distortion to many different kinds of reverbs. A good guitar player knows how to manipulate distortion or overdrive effects on his/her tones for a great sound. All it takes to learn how to manipulate these effects is practice. Practice with your overdrive or distortion pedals as many times as possible and you will learn how to play the guitar like a rock star one day.