Metal is characterized by sleazy and massive sound complemented by amplified distortion, emphatic beats, extended guitar solos, and overall loudness. So, if you are aching to become the next sensational rhythm or lead guitarist of an upcoming metal band, you should at least avail yourself of the best distortion pedal for metal. Equipped with the best distortion pedal, you would surely lord it over any stage with your sleazy and brutal riffs.
When buying anything, you need to be well-informed about the product that you would buy, so that you can make an informed decision on which one to choose. Similarly, when purchasing a distortion pedal, you need to know the important factors.
1) Search for the Quality Ones
Quality, of course, is foremost when selecting a distortion pedal for metal. It is not enough that it brings in outrageously distortions that bring in the aggressive machismo that you want to portrait. It must be of good built and durability. It should withstand the constant stomping that characterizes metal music. Hence, it should be solidly built with the sturdy casing and durable knobs, for there will inevitably be instances when your errant foot will stomp accidentally on the knob. If the knobs are not sturdily made, chances are, your foot may knock them off accidentally.
2) Look for Something that Fit Your Playing Style
Distortion pedals come in different varieties, and each pedal brings in some nuances in tone. Thus, you should choose something that complements well your amp setups and playing style. So, when you buy a distortion pedal, you should first use or test play it. In this way, you can figure out if the pedal you are zeroing in is suited to your playing style and amp setup. It is best to look for something that comes with great versatility. Look also for something that is equipped with more knobs to allow you to experiment on more settings to find the best tone for your use.
3) Look for Wider Range of Gain
As a metal guitarist, you need to consider the depth of the pedal’s gain. The gain, of course, gives the guitar a deep distorted sound, which is critical to heavy riff playing. So, you should go for pedals that allow you to alter and enhance this setting. Yet, if you play more subtle solos, you may want to select something that comes with lower gain.
4) Choose a Pedal with Great Bass
Bass is very important to heavy metal playing. Thus, your pedal should have bass knob that could further enhance the bass setting. This will allow you to achieve good lows, especially when you’re playing riffs.
5) Consider the Additional Advanced Effects
If you are a meticulous heavy metal guitarist, you should look for a distortion pedal that comes with some additional advanced effects. These added effects should enhance your guitar playing and create more powerful distortion.
Top 5 Most Recommended Distortion Pedal for Metal Music
Hundreds of stompboxes are now available in the market. So, you got plenty of options at hand. Zeroing in, however, on the best distortion pedal becomes more difficult, given the myriads of models and brands at hand. It may be just a matter of taste, as you figure out the best-compressed distortion pedal. Hence, we deemed it proper to give you 5 of the best distortion pedals at hand as rated by experts and musicians:
1) Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff Distortion with Top Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
The Electro-Harmonix Metal Guitar Effects Pedal is a great option if you are looking for a great distortion pedal for metal. It comes with a simple chassis along with a nice busy control interface. It also comes with a three-band EQ for helping you manage well the gain. It also comes with a boost mode that enhances its signal.
The good thing about this distortion pedal is that it allows you to move from classic metal to anything that you like. It also does well with both active and passive pickups. Its EQ controls will enable you to tailor-fit your guitar playing and shape your tone.
Its TOP BOOST works well and adds more versatility to your playing style. Its larger enclosure allows for an extra footswitch for boosting its TOP BOOST function. This distortion pedal will surely impress you with its wide range of distortion tones that it carries.
Its Top Boost comes with separate knob control that is foot-switchable. Its control knobs include bass, distortion, midrange, treble, output volume, and Top Boost. It also comes with master drive and output volume controls.
2) Wampler Clarksdale V2 Delta Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
The Wampler Clarksdale V2 Guitar Effects Pedal comes with a very nice switch that allows you to choose between BRUTAL and HARD. The HARD option provides a great low-end tone that will enable you to enhance the rhythm parts. On the other hand, the BRUTAL option brings in an outrageous and luscious high end that would surely hypnotize the crown to headbang because of its brutal sound.
You will surely love this lime green overdrive that comes with significant Wampler improvements. It still retains the feel and sound of the original, yet it also brings in an expanded range of tones. Moreover, it comes with the added 3 band EQ that allows you to tailor-fit your tonal pallet as compared to the original.
It also comes with the Lift/Smooth switch that lets you tinker with the Smooth setting or allows you to stand out with its Lift option. This distortion pedal also doesn’t fizz out wat high or low gain, as compared to the original green giant.
3) TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Effect Pedal
The TC Electronic Distortion Effect Pedal is a great option if you want a distortion pedal with a fantastic dynamic range. It features a two-band EQ along with a voicing switch. It can cover a wide range of sounds, yet it remains true to what it was built for. It features an all-analog-drive circuit that bears plexi sounds with both modern and classic edge.
It offers an articulate and responsive tone that readily allows you to let your playing style to come out, with all its uniqueness and warts. It is designed to sit between light and heavy distortion and heavy overdrive. It mimics the old school at the lower range of gain. Yet, it readily pushes up the dirt as you step on the voice switch that leaves you tinkering with crunchy modern rock sphere.
The good thing about the Dark Matter is that it is easy to operate. It comes with four dials, namely: 2 EQ controls (treble and bass), a level knob, and gain. So, it is surely a no-brainer to master. Its voicing switch lets you easily toggle between classic and extra bass.
4) MXR M116 Fullbore Metal Distortion Pedal
The MXR M116 bMetal Distortion Pedal is a compact and powerful distortion pedal that lets you unleash the most outrageous metal guitar tones you have ever heard. It suffuses your guitar signal with deadly tightness with its syncopated metal riffs. It also fills your guitar signal with awesome amounts of very high gain. This ultra-high gain is supplemented by its built-in Noise Gate to minimize the noise concomitant with an extreme level of gain.
This metal distortion pedal has been here for quite a long time for this brand has been in this business for quite a long time. Yet, this brand has been tweaking its products and continues to amaze guitarist with the contemporaneous design and features of its pedal products.
The MXR M116, of course, delivers what it is expected to do. It delivers very raw distortion, yet it also showcases the needed tools for bending your performance and enhancing it. It may be quite simplistic in its design, but inside, it is replete with great features. It is fully analog and comes with an awesome built-in noise gate and a true bypass. It is surely a great choice if you want something that delivers the goodies but does not dent your budget that much.
5) Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal
The Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal is surely a hard-fighting box that delivers raw output and high level of power. Its name basically encapsulates what it can deliver. “Pugilist” means a professional boxer, which means this distortion pedal is a real fighter. It may not be the most versatile box out there, but it is genuinely hard-punching.
It comes with two separate channels, and each channel comes with its own gain controls and tone that you can blend in stacked or parallel series. However, you can’t really engage them in isolation. It comes with dual-distortion circuit design, each circuit capable of providing distinct gain controls and tone. Using the Blend knob, you can mix the circuits together, creating a layered distortion characterized by depth and richness.
Its Santa Ana Overdrive comes with three-band EQ along with tow different voice modes and presence mode. Its Mirror Image Delay offers three type settings, namely: analog, digital, or tape-delay type settings.
The Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal also features LED-illuminated knobs that indicate your control settings even if you are playing in the dark. It also features a magnetic battery door for its 9V battery that makes it easy for you to change the battery. Lastly, it is durable and comes with stage-ready construction. This means it is crafted and engineered to withstand the rigors of playing on stage.
Using a distortion pedal makes playing your guitar easier and more colorful. With its use, you can readily create your desired tones by simply tweaking the settings on your distortion pedal. Your creativity is further enhanced as you play around with the settings to create your signature sound. Always remember that beyond the usual distortion afforded by a pedal, some pedals also come with added effects. These added effects would surely enable you to boost further the distortion to make it more powerful.
You can use the abovementioned factors to consider to select wisely the best distortion pedal for your needs. Yet, to facilitate the process of choosing for you, you can always select any of the models mentioned above of distortion pedals.