Post short clips of your current overdrive tones!


Most of us here probably live in the overdrive territory, there’s so much variation and techniques to get there, though it would be a good idea to learn from eachother and get some critique.

I’ll go first:

Tone chain: YJM (SD Fury) sig strat (YJM strings) -> Vemuram Budi -> Vemuram Karen ->RME Babyface Pro -> TPA-1 (power amp) -> S-Gear delay + IR loader ( Cel T75 stereo)

edit: changed to overdrive tones from high gain to be more inclusive.


nice. I almost pulled the trigger on a babyface pro a while back. wish I had lol. My little focusrite 2i4 is worn out after about 5 years of use. In the back of my mind I have always wondered if something like a babyface would give just that little improvement (better A/D converters etc)


Thanks. Had a UA Apollo Twin Thunderbolt 1st Gen, latency was horrible, my older babyface was better in that regard, what a mistake the swap.

The babyface pro was a step up from both of them, especially in the latency department which is what I cared for the most. Fantastic product and form factor really. I thought latency was still an issue in genenral untill somebody corrected me here in another thread.


Tone is awesome, love the vibrato too- wailing!


Thank you for your encouraging words! I’ve been trying YJM for just over a year, baby steps!


Well, I’m not sure how “high gain” this is - a Mark V, in IV mode, with the gain maybe at 1 oclock, but with a Strat - but this is the guitar I’ve been reaching for lately, so… ML Standard singlecoils, mostly the neck position and a little bit of the bridge at the end.

Red-light-itis is definitely a thing, and while I was playing well earlier this morning, that went to hell as soon as I mic’d up my amp, lol.

Not very much alternate picking in here, you’ll hear some in a few places but this is largely legato.

EDIT - oh yea, signal chain - a SM57 and MD421 on a Recto 4x12, into a two channel BAE 1073MP and then a pair of Neve 551s for some light EQ. I added just a hair more EQ with a Sonimus Burnley73 in the mix just to smooth out the high end a sliver (and add a hair more saturation) but listening back to this I wonder if I should have just left it raw. Six of one, I guess… A little bit of delay in Reaper as well, too.

EDIT 2 - in fact, re-uploaded the clip, with zero post-processing on the guitar after it hits disk, sans a light delay and then some limiting on the master bus to boost it up to closer to CD volume. This isn’t a very “high gain” sound, nor is this anywhere near a final mix, but this is where I’d be starting from if I WERE tracking bluesy lead stuff on my Strat.


Sounds killer Drew, nice playing too! Love the tones, that mark V is lovely!


Yeah, I’m a huge fan of this amp. I’ve done some significant upgrading of my recording chain in the last couple years, and I really need to get going on another album (the backing here was from the last one I did).


I hear ya with the pro set up lol. I remember reading an article about recording some of Robert Plants vocals and dude mentioned the tube preamp used and it was some $8k thing and I was like “hmmmm” lol

its funny, your playing is dead opposite of mine right now. I have been SO focused on alt picking that there is like no legato in mine at all right now


Yeah, I’m working on it - those BAEs are REALLY nice modern takes on a Neve preamp (two, really, elements of the 1073 and another model who I’m forgetting at the moment) using a lot of the period-appropriate transformers and whatnot, and they sound awesome when pushed… but, I mean, between that and a pair of CAPI API clones (which sound amazing on acoustic guitar), I’m up to four channels of REALLY good input, and if I were to try to track love drums, I’d need at least three times that. Recording can very quickly become an expensive hobby, and I’m not even close to the level where you’re tracking guys like Plant. :smiley:

Not sure if this was Led Zep or some of his newer stuff, but I dug the hell out of Mighty Rearranger, which I haven’t listened to in ages, actually, and I think I’ll go spin now.

(on a semi-related note, I remember reading a forum post in a recording forum where either the engineer who recorded Green Day’s Dookie, or someone who knew what was used on the session, was talking about the gear employed, and some of the mics, in particular, were absolutely nuts. I figured it was a punk album, it was probably just a bunch of SM57s, but noooooo lol)


about halfway down

i was thinking of the “Inner Tube Audio Atomic Squeezebox compressor”…about 3k worth lol


Oh by the way, this is recorded at a volume I don’t have to raise my voice to talk over, Twangsta, back to our earlier conversation about singlecoils and volume. That’s gotta vary amp by amp…


Drew that’s incredible tone for low SPL from a tube amp, very versatile!


Here’s a clip from a couple of months ago. I’m running my Charvel San Dimas with Seymour Duncan humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions into my pedalboard, with Boss Super Overdrive, Decimator ISP into my Yamaha THR10x. The amp has onboard delay/reverb. Amp gain about 2 o’clock, and drive on the pedal about 75%.

I stop the backing track towards the end, you can hear what it sounds like on its own at that point.


Awesome, love it! :wink::sunglasses::grinning:


That sounds good!

How did you record the audio?

Love that guitar man, looks like it plays like butter. Sweet chops!

What are the pickups in there? And what string gauge are you using there?

I’m guessing you’ve been through a Boss NS2 before you got the ISP Decimator. I’d love to know the differences you found if that’s the case.

I had an MXR noise clamp before the NS2 I currently use, had to change it cause the MXR would not release fast enough, the first note ramp up was too slow. The NS2 is definately better in that regard.


I love the tones that are being posted here but I am not very good at guitar gear & acronyms, so I can’t really follow the explanations and shorthands :sweat_smile:

For example I have no idea what’s happening here (sorry Twangsta - just using your post as an example):

It would be great if some of you could explain more in detail and in more generic terms (overdrive, compressor, chorus, equalizer etc,) what the ingredients are, and what you are using them for. Thanks :slight_smile:

PS: for example this could allow me to give it a go on amp simulation software - and also to generally improve my knoweldge of signal chains (currently piss poor!)


Thank you! This is just recorded with my phone, which fortunately has a pretty decent little mic. Yes, the San Dimas plays really nicely, it’s got a great neck. There’s a JB in the bridge position, and a 59 in the neck. I’m using D’Addario 9 gauge strings. A standard set, nothing custom.

You are absolutely correct, I did have a Boss NS2 for years and while I loved it, it certainly worked very well, the ISP Decimator is just superior IMO. The gate is very smooth, there is no clipping of notes once you get it set properly and it’s also super simple - 1 knob to dial it in.


Hi Tommo,

This stuff can be a bit much to the uninitiated.

I’ll try to break it down quickly. I’m not a professional or an electronics major, but I’ll do my best to explain it in layman terms.

Electric guitar tone needs to be amplified via a speaker to sound good; those little magnetic pickups have a weak signal by themselves. So you need an amplifier that will boost the signal to push some air in your speaker. The speaker is an integral part of converting that signal to a fuller sound. Guitar Speaker Cabinets have guitar specific speakers that are not “full range, full frequency” (FRFR) transducers. These guitar speakers colour the sound. An electric guitar would sound shrill via FRFR speakers.

A typical guitar tube amplifier has a preamp followed by a power amp. The preamp boosts and colours the sound which feeds the power amp to feed/drive the speakers eventually.

The preamp usually has a “Gain” control, sometimes called a “Drive”, “Overdrive”, “Distortion”, “Volume” etc.

Between the preamp and the power amp, often the amplifier will have a send and return loop, this is used to add time-based effects like reverb and delay ( more on this later) .

The other thing a guitar amplifier does is have an equaliser to shape the guitar signal, typically treble, middle and bass. These equaliser settings usually affect the preamp.

There are more tone shaping possibilities with some amps that work with the power amps section, things like presence ( hi frequency cut), thump ( bass).

The amplifier may or may not have a master volume. The non-master volume amps are typically controlled via the preamp drive control.
Master volume amps have a master volume (duh) and control the power amp output.

The power amp section can also compress ( more on this later) and introduce its own distortion depending on the design and how much you’re pushing it.

British amps typically ( Marshal ) have higher gain preamps where the valves are driven into distortion. The earlier amps didn’t have master volumes and needed to be played very loud to get the desired gain tone from the amplifier.

Fender amps ( the amps Jim Marshall cloned and modified initially ) have cleaner sounding preamps for the most part.

Guitar cabinets and speakers are of various types too. I will just say here that guitar speakers can have their own sound signatures, some boost the mids, some are scooped ( that is highs and lows are more pronounced) etc. A good match with an overdriven amplifier is when the guitar speaker is also sufficiently pushed into compression, and it’s own musical distortion. The guitar speaker is where it all comes together if you hear the signal via an FRFR speaker the driven amp will sound horrendous and broken. The guitar speaker is where the horrible sound is smoothed out into the musical sounds we all know and love.

Some amplifiers have effects built in. The basic signal from the amp is considered “dry”, the minute you add time-based and other effects you have a “wet” signal mixed with dry signal.

Typical effects categories:

Reverb: simulates the short echo of a room/hall etc.

Delay: simulates longer echos with repeats, length and eq.

Compressor: Makes the softer signals go loud, makes the louder signals go softer. This results in a lower dynamic range for the single strength.

Chorus: Fattens the sound by pitch shifting the note with a delay and then mixing the sound back with the dry signal.

Tremolo: An effect that oscillates raising and lowering the pitch of the note. Much like how you play a note with “vibrato”, bend up and down, or wiggle your tremolo arm on the bridge of a guitar.

Vibrato: An effect that oscillates raising and lowering the volume of the guitar.

Honestly, Vibrato means Tremolo and Tremolo means Vibrato, can’t imagine why this was done to confuse everybody further.

Boost, Drive, Overdrive, and Distortion are just words that express the stages of signal degradation while amplifying the guitar signal.

Boost: used to describe a preamp that boosts the signal without any clipping( another word for distortion). They are designed to retain the original signal, but just make it louder.

Drive/Overdrive: boost with moderate distortion.

Distortion: heavy distortion.


Simulations/modelling of guitar signal chains.

The only thing that can be confusing is the speaker cabinet modelling. They are know as IR for Impulse Response, basically are snapshots of a guitar cabinet, loaded with a specific speaker and a microphone set at a particular orientation.

All electric guitar you hear is a cabinet being miced up for the reasons I said earlier; the speaker is very important.

Recording/tracking sessions can use one or more mics at specific places and phases in the room to get the desired sound.


The reson guitar amplifiers have effects loops, one of them atleast is to use time based effects like delay after the preamp and before the poweramp, using delay in most cases before a heavily driven preamp will result in mush unless it’s something specific you want to do like EVH on his first album.


So typical chain to sum it up follows as such:

–> (into)
–> amplifier
–> speaker cabinet
–> microphone
–> microphone preamp
–> mixing desk etc.


Nowadays folks often use pedals and other more practical devices to enhance, substitute part or all of bulky and loud amplifiers/cabinets for taste and practicallity.

A lot of folks prefer to use a clean amp ( sans/ distortion) and use pedals to get the drive they need.


my signal chain for a bedroom guitar enthusiast:
Guitar: Fender Yngwie J Malmsteen signature Stratocaster
–> Vemuram Budi ( a boost pedal to get the single coil pickups that have a low output to drive the next pedal in the chain to a higher degree of dirstortion )
–> Vemuram Karen ( simulates a Marshal super lead type amp. These two pedals act as my preamp. )
–> RME Babyface pro ( Computer Audio Interface with low latency A/D & D/A converters, allows me to use my computer to simulate the guitar amplifier power amp, delay effect and speaker modeling to get a realistic sound )
->> Logic X DAW ( Digital Audio Workstation Client) This hosts my session where I can manipulate the virtual stack of software based effects to simulate the rest of my chain, monitor, mix, record etc.
–> TPA-1 (plugin simulating a power amp)
–> S-Gear2 ( plusing simulating effects like delay and the IR cabinet loader)

Phew… hope that helps :slight_smile:


Thank you so much! This is more than I hoped for :bowing_man:
I’ll study your post and hopefully I will be able to cook up some good tones on my Overloud simulator - will share my tone-chasing progress here :slight_smile: