How to Use an Overdrive Guitar Pedal as a Clean Boost

Learn how to use an overdrive pedal as a clean boost from Broadway musician Michael Aarons in this Howcast video about guitar pedal effects.


I have my Gibson SG. It's a 1972 Gibson SG Deluxe. It's a great guitar. I love this one. It has humbuckers and for the purposes of this demo, I want to show you some ways to achieve a clean boost signal through a distorted sound and I'll explain. So if you have a situation where you have distortion coming from your amp at a high gain, and say you want a solo to really pop over the rest of the band. A lot of amps will have this built-in. They will have a clean boost, which is basically they'll have a foot switch. You click on the clean boost and it'll raise the overall master volume.

But if you don't have that or you want to add a little color to the clean boost, what you can do is you can take one of the overdrive pedals that we've been demoing and we'll start with the OCD. I have the drive all the way down now and the volume all the way up. Again, tone straight through the middle, because that's my default. Here on the TS9 Ibanez Tube Screamer same thing, drive all the way down. Level of the effect all the way up, tone in the middle.

So if you have the amp distortion, which I have here setup... That's the level of the amp and the distortion is coming from the amp. Now if I want to just raise the level of that, the master volume level without even touching the amp, if I have one of these pedals in my chain I can boost the overall level. You could hear it just a little and where it really pops out is on solos. That's the OCD using it as a clean boost.

Here's the same thing with the TS9. In my opinion the TS9 adds a little more color. The OCD has a little bit more head room on it on the volume control. Again, why I personally like the OCD for this use, but again, hundreds of different overdrive pedals. Hundreds of different ways you can manipulate them and use them with your amp and guitar. This is just another way that you can use a clean boost through an overdrive pedal to work with your amp distortion.

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