best distortion pedal for solid state amp

Best Distortion Pedal For Solid State Amp – Top 5 For 2020!

So you’re looking for the best distortion pedal for solid state amp! Perhaps, you’ve attained grace in playing guitar and want to advance ahead. Maybe, you want to create unique sounds with your instruments. No matter the reason, there are the best distortion pedals to suit your needs. Many brands offer a wide range of distortion pedals to match the expertise of all types of guitarists and sound. You may get overwhelmed with the varied options. However, before heading out to shop, you ought to know whether distortion pedals will work with solid state amps. You may also want to know whether solid state amps will take pedals well (like a tube amp does) and how these distortion pedals sound.

Choosing the best distortion tones shouldn’t be a bit hard!

Quick Solid State Amp Distortion Pedal Comparison Chart

Picture Dimensions Power Source True Bypass Our Notes
Maxon 9-Series Sonic Distortion 6 x 3.5 x 2.5" 9V Battery or 9V Power Adapter Yes Our Top Choice
BOSS BD-2W Blues Driver 2.32 x 2.87 x 5.08" 9V Battery or 9V Power Adapter Yes
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi 8.6 x 5.9 x 3.9" 9V Battery or 9V Power Adapter Yes
Catalinbread Formula No. 55 Foundation Overdrive 5 x 3 x 3" 9V Battery or 9V Power Adapter Yes
BOSS DS-1 Distortion Pedal 4 x 6 x 3" 9V Battery or 9V Power Adapter No Most Affordable!

Do distortion pedals work with solid state amps?

Some guitarists are content with basic sounds and music. They prefer to play and replicate popular music. However, not all guitarists are alike. Most enthusiasts would like to create new and unique sounds. These folks want to know whether distortion pedals will work with solid state amps. If you’re one such enthusiast, you should be happy to learn that the answer is yes.

The stigma related to solid state amps and distortion pedals would say they don’t work with one another. Many prefer a tube amp. In simple words, they don’t seem to complement each other. However, the answer depends on many situations. A tube amp vs solid state amp is also a question to think about.  I pretty much prefer a tube amp but have to admit that I have recently been looking at the solid state amps too.

Some of the parameters that affect the answer are the reliability of the tone, the difference between bad and good effects, and the optimal way to pair solid state amps and distortion pedals. Here, the amp is the priority. You want to maintain its tone and make the distortion pedal work around it.

Ideal solid state amps is the one that comes with an analog tone and uses the distortion pedal to work with that sound. It may be hard to decide whether the pedal will match the tone of the amp. However, with the right solid state amp, you may make them work together and sync their sounds to create amazing music.

Do solid state amps take pedals well?

Most guitarists will say that SS amps don’t take pedals well. Back then (about a few decades ago), their statement was true to a great extent. However, technological advancements have changed the face of guitars and related accessories. Due to various innovations, you can now say that solid state amps do take distortion pedals well.  It is also a great way to boost your tone output.

However, you ought to be choosy when picking solid state amps and pedals. Ideally, you want pedals and guitar amps that sync with each other without disturbing their performance. After research and development, many brands have come up with guitar pedals and amps that go well with one another in output. Some of the popular distortion pedals are detailed below.

Our Recommendations

Maxon 9-Series Sonic Distortion

Considered the black sheep of the 9-series pedals (also called the Maxon SD-9), the sonic distortion provides the best features of op-amp circuits and transistor in a compact pack. The unique Hi boost/low boost tone control presents more low-end beef compared to many other pedals on the market. The distortion and output controls could provide up to about 55 DB of gain boost.

Even at low gain settings, the unit functions well as a full-frequency overdrive. On the other side, higher gain settings turn the Maxon 9-series model into a hand-held monster. This, in turn, offers gut-wrenching grind and sustained singing that can make a clean amp dirty and a dirty amp downright evil.

Ever since its original release during the 80s, the sonic distortion has undergone drastic transformations amidst growing popularity. The pedal provides a smooth, seamless distortion that covers a wide variety of gain levels from pseudo-fuzz to mild overdrive. Irrespective of the gain setting, the model remains responsive and articulate to note dynamics.

It provides exceptional sustain without going over into super-compressed metal territory. The tone knob has a ton of top end on tap. Despite this point, notes still retain a full-bodied tonality with the low-end presence associated with solid state amps distortion. It’s one of the rare pedals that sound equally great on bridge pickups and the neck.

Power supply is your typical 9 volt as many other pedals usually have.

This is probably one of my top picks for distortion pedal for solid state amp.  The output sounds great!

BOSS BD-2W Blues Driver

Endorsed as a classic grit with a customized twist, the BD-2W gives you an epochal tube-amp tones overdrive with 2 distinct, unique voices. If you think that the model is just a refurbished or modified version of its predecessors, you’re completely wrong. BOSS pedals has totally redesigned the BD-2W with premium discrete analog components.

Additionally, the brand has worked hard to add a custom signal path that you may access with the flip of a mini toggle. When you use the BD-2W in a standard mode, it offers the classic smoky, gritty blues driver tone. On the flip side, the custom mode rallies the low-end while adding a healthy dose of sustain. Choose whatever mode you want – the BD-2W is sure to be an essential component of your pedal-board.

BOSS blends art and technique intriguingly to craft a lovely piece of pedal. Essentially, you get a premium line of guitar effects pedal. The BD-2W lets you deliver the creamy, crunchy sound associated with great blues guitar. You get immediate access to warm overdrive as well as emotive distortion mostly meant for 30-year old tube-amps. Backed by a 5-year warranty, the device makes a perfect fit in your guitar accessory for creating amazing sounds wherever you like.

Got a solid state, this is a good choice for pedals and a best distortion.

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi

The Big Muff Pi is a classic rock pedal that you might have heard on recording without realizing it. It’s a simple but effective pedal that helps you dial in just a little bit of grit, riding you through the 70s fuzz. Built like a tank, the model can withstand heavy-duty usage while you perform on stages for hours. All it takes is a little bit of care and attention on your part to get along with this innovative distortion pedal for solid state amp.

For over 40 years, the Big Muff Pi has been inspiring, shaping, and defining the rock guitar sound. Amateur as well as professional guitarists love this distortion pedal for its varied features and sound output quality. Revered by modern guitarists and rock legends for its creamy, rich, violin-like sustain, the model makes a great choice in your accessory.

The unit comes with three knobs; each one has its specific role. The volume knob sets the output level. The tone knob offers a range of sounds from deep bass to high treble. Finally, the sustain knob can adjust the amount of distortion and sustain, allowing you better control over your creation. In a nutshell, it’s a singing sustain with attitude.

Another great option for solid state.  One of the best distortion options out there.

Catalinbread Formula No. 55 Foundation Overdrive

Big and powerful, the Formula no. 55 is a refined pedal that melts into your solid-state amp, transforming it into a wide-ranging tweed monster that may even resemble a more expensive tube amp. It’s capable of everything from clean, smoky Grant Green jazz tones to the full-on raging mind-blowing horse excursions. Formula no. 55 is the next generation 5E3 tweed deluxe. The preamp section of the classical tweed 5E3 amplifier has been reproduced in these pedals in exacting details with the tone circuit and volume.

The bigger power section of the pedal makes you feel like you’re playing through a bigger cab with multiple speakers. The instrument features all the tonal characteristics of a small tweed combo. However, it has been tuned to offer the dynamic response of a bigger amp.

The sleek design adds to the beauty of the pedal and makes it enticing to users and passer-by alike. Plus, the durable built is a perk by itself. Once plugged-in, Formula no. 55 will transform your solid state amp into 100-watt tweed deluxe. Above all, the unit features a sturdy built, making it ideal for constant usage for many years.

BOSS DS-1 Distortion Pedal

Considered as the biggest selling distortion pedal ever, the BOSS DS-1 comes with some astonishing features. With its bright orange color, the model looks distinctive even in a crowded market. Still, it’s one of the most affordable models available on the market.

Setting up these distortion pedals is a dream. It’s super quick, easy to understand, and simple. Just plug the 9V power supply into the power source and the pedal, and then connect your leads. The BOSS DS-1 is centered on three features that attune its sound. The top of the pedal includes three knobs – distortion, output level, and tone. You may fine-tune the sounds by adjusting the knobs as you like.

When it comes to sound, this lovely pedal plugged into your amp provides you one of the quintessential distorted tones. Its gritty warmth sound is preferred by many renowned guitarists. The model lets you some truly, one-of-a-kind crushing chordal play. One peculiar feature of this pedal is you can press this pedal into action on an already distorted sound. That changes the guitar’s tone and boosts its distortion/volume to the right level for a balanced, stand-out solo.

This is definitely another great example of a top distortion pedal for solid state amp tones.  Excellent sound pedals!

Some other quick options:

Looking for more distortion pedals that sound great with solid-state amplifiers and of course, tube amplifiers as well if you want to go that way?

Bottom line

While I prefer tones from tube amps, the above discussion throws light on the compatibility of distortion pedals with solid state amps and how these distortion pedals sound. Thanks to technological innovations, you can now answer the question of are distortion pedals necessary for solid state amp. All you should do is choose the best distortion pedal matching your specifics and guitar sound – does it sound good through your solid state amps? Just go through the popular distortion pedals listed above. With handy details by your side, picking a best distortion model or drive pedals (or dirt pedal) for your solid-state amps becomes easy without doing much legwork.

Lastly, overdrive pedals are an option too but I think these work better for this application that overdrive pedals but it still works well that way.

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