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How to Use Distortion on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to use distortion on guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


Hey there. I want to talk about using distortion. It's a little different depending on what amp you're using. If I'm using a stack high-gain amp, I will usually go for the high gain channel. Right now, I'm playing through a Budda combo amp. Here, I'm playing on the equivalent of the high-gain channel. I have the drive channel going. I do not have the drive up all the way and this is the same way I would approach a high-gain stack amplifier.

So, I have medium to heavy distortion. If I just play with that distortion, with the amp alone, it sounds like this. Okay? So, it's crunchy. It's not crunchy enough, but it has the tone characteristics that I need. Once I have that, alright, kind of a classic rock sound, then I add my distortion paddle. For years, I've used a tube screamer made by Ibanez. Right now, I'm using a paddle based on that called the tube dreamer. And this is made by JAM Pedals from Greece. So this is pretty cool.

So, what I'll do now is I'll add this pedal. And, check it out. Alright, so that's, this is with very little gain. And I'll sneak in the gain. Better. Better. Yeah, so ultimately I want it so that when I play these crunchy chords and I'm muffling, it's not, it's clear. It's distorted, but it's still clear. Now, I probably wouldn't do a metal gig with this amp, as much as I love this amp. To play a metal gig with a drummer and with a band, I need a full, high-gain amp.

Budda is building me one right now and I'm excited, it sounded great so far, but you can still get enough metal sound with this amps. It's just, remember to always use a combination of the distortion pedal and the high-gain stack amplifier. I hope you enjoyed this lesson on getting distortion.

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