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You found a great guitar amp, but the first thing you notice is that it lacks the rough tone you hear in your favorite rock or metal songs. The answer to this might be a distortion pedal.

When shopping for a distortion pedal, the best thing to do is ask someone who's been there, done that. So that's exactly what we did.

For this post on the 10 best distortion pedals, we asked 10 different guitar players for their opinion on what the best distortion pedal is, and why.

With their responses, we found demo videos of each pedal for you to check out.

Here are the 10 distortion pedals as recommended by guitarists, with the best videos demos we could find for each one.


Patrick Wilkins

Instagram | Twitter | YouTube


What's the best distortion pedal?

Pro Co RAT2

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

Although in most situations they need to be tamed I’m going to go with the Rat as seen here. I have a similar one on my board and I genuinely like the way it breaks up an amp, like I said you have to be careful not to run it too hot, but they’ll give you more than enough distortion than needed!


Steven Lickenbrock from Traveling Sound Machine

Website | Facebook


What's the best distortion pedal?

Fulltone OCD

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

This pedal has been the only one that gives me a great tone control, works well with every single one of my guitars, adapts well in different stage environments, and pairs well with my tube amp. I can hear every distinct note clearly, and it doesn't make my sound muddy what-so-ever. The pedal has a very basic design and it is extremely well built.


Stephen Perry from City Sounds Rhythm

Facebook | iTunes


What's the best distortion pedal?

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

Perfect classic style foot switch I all about a simple set up, theres not much to this pedal. Works great for tube amps, which I use. Not too crunchy and works nicely when played through a clean channel.


Miguel Sequeira

YouTube


What's the best distortion pedal?

Boss DS-1

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

  • One of the most affordable distortion pedals on the market.
  • Very simple to use *You can get anywhere from low-ends to high gains.
  • Is featured as a distortion pedal, but it can also do what an overdrive does.

KVN MCDermott from Cave of Swords

Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook


What's the best distortion pedal?

Sarno Music Solutions Solar Flare Distortion Pedal

What makes it awesome?

My first distortion pedal was a Rat which I loved at the time but it gave way to me just using the dirt channel on my Tender DeVil after breaking it and resoldering it a million times. When I heard SMS was making a "distortion" pedal I knew it would take the place of both the Rat and the amp channel. Their other pedal just sounds amazing to me and I figured this one would too. I was right, it does. They somehow made the pedal I wanted to hear without ever really being able to articulate what I specifically wanted.


Kevin Birge from The Audio Boyz

Reverb Nation


What's the best distortion pedal?

Jext Telez White Pedal

What makes it awesome?

The pedal simulates the distortion and drive sounds of the Vox Conqueror/Defiant/Virtuoso line of amps. These sounds are iconic, think White Album and Beggars Banquet. The amps are rarities, never released in the US. The pedal sounds fantastic through any quality amplifier.


Seth Michael Keil from Powder River

Bandcamp


What's the best distortion pedal?

Source Audio SA140 Soundblox Pro Multiwave Distortion

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

Mild overdrive, clean boost, raging octave fuzz. It's got six available presets with an onboard EQ for each preset. You can use an expression pedal to blend between presets for some pretty wild swells. This thing is a beautiful noise switch blade.


Chris Saalfeld from Orchid in the Ivy

Facebook


What's the best distortion pedal?

Wampler Pedals Plexi-Drive Deluxe V2

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

It’s super twekable. You can get a good tone that is similar to an old plexi. I’ve found it’s versatile and can be used in many genres. I can dial in tones easily. It’s also true bypass.


Jeremy Aitken

Bandcamp


What's the best distortion pedal?

MXR M115 Distortion III

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

I typically rely on my amp for distortion but back when I used a distortion pedal this was my go to! It is super versatile and can cover ground from classic rock to modern heavy rock. The tone knob is super usable and you'd be hard pressed to find a bad setting. I recommend setting it a little brighter than you typically would to cut through in a band mix. Sounds killer!


Tau Marshall from The Mercs

Facebook


What's the best distortion pedal?

Ibanez TK999HT Tube King

Get this pedal on Amazon.

What makes it awesome?

This bad boy has a 12ax7 tube inside stop box! Just think about that for a second. It has tube distortion and a unique sound. I've used same one for over 20 years. It's hardcore. It really shines if put a sarno earth drive before it.



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