Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #94474  by flavaham
 Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:59 am
What are the best pedals and settings for his distortion. Right now I have a RAT. Can anyone help me dial it in? I'm using an SMS Classic Tube Preamp into a Carvin TS100 into 212 cab.

Any help would be cool. (looking for settings for the RAT and suggestions on pedals)
 #94490  by flavaham
 Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:48 pm
62 views and not one reply. lol :roll:

Anyway, I'm sure people on here could help me out on this. I'm playing through an SMS so pretty much everything sounds a bit like Jerry. My playing is a bit "muddier" than his though. This is the difference between guys like him and the rest of us. I spend about $2000 on an amp and get "Close." Jerry could've plugged into a 10w Gorilla practice amp with no effects and made the thing sing.
 #94493  by Tennessee Jedi
 Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:43 pm
I like the Boss Blues Driver - kinda gets mixed reviews .....
I just got two MXR Distortion +'s I wanna check out too.
I'm not really a fan of the Rat but never tried doing Jerry with one either
 #94494  by tcsned
 Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:58 pm
here my 2 cents:
Brad's Earth Drive sounded great on he demo he posted - price is reasonable too (probably my next stomp box)

I use a T-Rex Dr Swamp - it is the best distortion device I've ever used - very musical, even heavy gain has note clarity. Almost every setting sounds cool - also has two switchable drives which is nice for a lo/hi gain combo - about $80 more than Brad's pedal. I also have a newer MXR Dist+ that I like but I gave to our rhythm guitar player to use since her multi-effect thingy crashed. I have several different Boss pedals and my take on them is that they sound decent at house volume I never liked any of them at stage volume levels.
 #94497  by KWRummie
 Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:30 pm
I like my OCD v2. It's a nice "clean" overdrive that responds well the harder you dig into your strings.
 #94498  by rkubik
 Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:52 pm
I use the MXR Distortion +. I also get some cool tone when combined with my Boss OC2 Octave divider. I really haven't been able to turn the output way up the MXR to really test it when cranked but I like it at the lower volumes.
 #94500  by JonnyBoy
 Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:01 pm
I think it is a matter of getting the signal path as similar to his, ie Fender twin, Mac clipping, pickups etc.... Then process it through a typical boss type OD circuit with the tone rolled off. I would think for you it would be to roll off your tone and mix in the distortion to taste. That is if you are going for his distortion style. I see Jerry having a pushed clean tone OD (before 1990's) with those pedals added in to top it off for a distortion tone.

From what I understand Brad designed this OD to add that mac style clipping which was Jerry's cleanish OD coming from unreasonable voltage levels in his gear. Getting that mac to clip right is adding harmonics to his tone, rather than using a pure clean tone. Something small bands just can't achieve musically due to the volume. I also remember him saying he made it versatile enough to dial in some heavy crunch like an MXR Dist+. Then from that base clean OD tone, you add in more OD signal, roll back the tone and there it is.

I guess the question is, which era are you talking about ie.. 1970 sizzle coming from a les paul into pushed twins, late 1970's to early 80's(mesa Boogie debate) mid 80's to early 90's or Jerry's 90's rack straight to the board. Are you talking about a distortion like I need a miracle or slipknot solo from one from the vault? Or maybe the distortion from the 1970 version of Casey Jones from closing of Winterland? all of those kinda different from era to era, imo.

I think the one thing that stayed the same for his "horn like" tone was his tone pot rolled back , plus a twin, a mac, Diamarzio humbuckers, an OD/distortion pedal and JBL's. I would like to see some pics or verified boss OD settings too. Oh, later on he was using an EQ in the path of the dist pedals. There was a thread recently about his GE-7 settings that may have some of those pics. I will edit post with the link in a minute,,,,

 #94566  by 540EYE
 Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:14 pm

I'm also using a Rat that I bought new back in the 80's. It was a bit over the top for me, so it sat most of its life in the box. I just couldn't seem to tame it. Too much "metal-head". About a year ago,I read about something called a Reutz mod, where you clip the lead to one or two resistors. It was supposed to tame it a bit and tighten up the bottom end. I figured I got nothing to lose, so out came the mini-clippers. IT MADE A HUGE POSITIVE DIFFERENCE.

The device went from being a one-trick saturated pony to something I could use!! Now the Distortion knob has a very usable range in the first 1/3 of its travel. Can do clean boost and work up to that slight clipping sound. Move the knob up and it still can go over the top (for me anyway). I also think I noticed a bit less of that "mid scoop" common in many distortion devices. That said, I'm happy with the modification. I believe you could even install a mini toggle to switch back to a normal Rat if desired. (Also noticed that battery lasts a L O N G time in this thing, but don't know if the mod had anything to do with it).

I'm running the SMS CTP into a Shure SR107 for SLIGHT tweaking and then into an Mc2105 and [2] JBL K-120's. For me, I found the sound and finally quit looking for it !! (Well, can't say "never"....there's ALWAYS something to tweak)

Try searching the 'net for Reutz mod. It's super easy and totally reversible.

Good luck.

 #94671  by flavaham
 Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:45 pm
Hadn't even thought to screw with the tone pot to be honest. haha. :-) Also, I'm not really trying to just emulate Jerry's tone (although this topic was for his specifically). I play a lot of different music so really I'm looking at all avenues. I do jam to a lot of Dead so if there's a way I can come close, I'd like to. Honestly, I'm leaning towards either a Fulltone OCD, a TS 808 or Brad's Earth Drive. I'm planning to add a Fulltone Plimsoul at some point as well for higher gain leads but I don't think it will give the clean boost and lower boosts that these pedals offer. I really want to have a large range of tones to choose from.

Again, the rig is:

Ibanez AS (semi-hollow) and Fender Strat with Custom Shop '57's (The bridge pickup is a little over the top honestly. Might change that one out. Not sure to what yet though.) into an SMS Classic>Carvin TS100 tube power amp>212 cab w/ Celestian Vintage 30's. I'm really leaning toward an 808 at this point although when I tested the OCD recently, I absolutely loved it. Just not sure if I can get all the different tones I want out of any of these.
 #94673  by rugger
 Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:16 pm
Just not sure if I can get all the different tones I want out of any of these.
Start facing reality and get all of the pedals you mentioned to start covering all of the tones you want! :P If you are playing lots of different styles, it's hard to cover all the bases with one or even two dirt pedals. I usually have 3-4 on my board.

John in San Diego
 #94677  by flavaham
 Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:29 pm
rugger wrote:
Just not sure if I can get all the different tones I want out of any of these.
Start facing reality and get all of the pedals you mentioned to start covering all of the tones you want! :P If you are playing lots of different styles, it's hard to cover all the bases with one or even two dirt pedals. I usually have 3-4 on my board.

John in San Diego
Yeah, I've pretty much figured that. The problem there is budget. I need to start with the most versatile and go from there. I know that an OCD or TS808 will give me a lot of what I'm looking for overall. I need to eventually get a Fuzzface for some of the Hendrix stuff I play, a Big Muff for some of the Pink Floyd stuff I play, an MXR Dist+ and/or Boss OD for some of the Dead stuff and Plimsoul for some higher gain stuff that I do on my own. I'm pretty sure that's well over $1000 in pedals, cables, etc. haha. Don't have that right now. Within the next week or two I MIGHT be able to pick up ONE of the above. This is why I'm leaning towards the OCD or 808 right now.

I guess my original question should then be: Can you get close to Jerry's distortion with an OCD or 808?
 #94679  by seamones
 Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:04 pm
I like the highly (somewhat?)debated Boss HM-2. Crank the Color and Tone knobs, barely turn up the Drive knob. Add some reverb and go.
 #94684  by Utah Joe
 Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:33 pm
I just picked up a Monte Allums OD-308 which is based on the Rat2 circuit. Since I'm not much of a DIYer I purchased the pedal assembled instead of getting the kit. It was a little pricey but seems to be pretty versatile. Check it out:

I set it up after an MXR Dyna Comp with my Alembic blaster on. Very cool.
 #94685  by jeager
 Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:52 pm
I recently acquired one of Brad's groovy new Earth Drive pedals. I love it. I have been playing for about three decades and have been in a variety of bands from jazz to soul to jam, and done solo acoustic work... generally I have not used a dirt pedal of any kind, never really liked the ones I tried. This thing is really musical and provides a whole range of very usable tones. I like using it to give me just a little boost with a touch of break up for solos...but i also like it for the more saturated stuff and playing slide...maybe I need another one.
 #94690  by Jon S.
 Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:30 pm
Line 6 M13 (Rat model) (into SMS Classic Preamp into Rocktron Velocity 300 into Sound Scaper Productions Jerry 2X12):


Lead w/this overdrive setting at 4:00:

P.S. Yeah, I know, I need to get some new clips posted (working on it :oops: ).