WT. Foster Guitars Tech Tip of the day! March 28, 2015
We have been asked: what is the difference between “Distortion” and “Overdrive” in relation to guitar sound/tone
These terms are often used interchangeably. We will try providing you with more than a vague general answer. In our opinion guitar “overdrive” refers to the sound of an amplifier that has been pushed past where it is capable of producing clean tone, whether that “push” is coming from a pedal or the amp itself. (However, many people would also say the amp has been pushed into distortion! Here’s your vague generality) “Distortion,” with guitar amps and effects, again this is our opinion is often used to refer both to “fuzz” types of effects as well as overdrive types of sounds. It’s a more general term that can be applied to any audio signal that is not clean.
As a final note, for some guitarists, the difference between overdrive and distortion is a matter of degree. A lightly distorted sound or small amount of breakup is referred to as “overdrive,” while a more heavily distorted sound is referred to as “distortion.” The relation between “distortion” and pickup strength is also a factor.
WT. Foster Guitars instruments offer a variety of pickup options; our stock pickup sets offer warm clear tones from the neck position with 7.5 to 7.8k pickups and a powerful crisp clean tone through over the top distortion from our 14.5k bridge pickup. The higher the ohm rating of a pickup, the greater the ability to overdrive your amplifier at lower volumes. In short, our guitars allow you to run your amp at a modest volume to obtain warm, clean tones from the neck position. When switched to the bridge position, you have nice overdriven sound without any adjustments to the volume. We understand this is a subjective topic but we thought we would throw our 2 cents into the ring…… Keep playing and just enjoy what guitar playing brings to your life!!! That’s what we are devoted to at WT. Foster Guitars!