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distortion pedals

The Best Distortion Pedals to Growl the Crunchy Harmonics

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Pro Co
RAT2
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Bottom
Line
This legendary pedal focuses on pure, transparent distortion with no extra frills, all at an affordable price. Trusted by top professional players.
Pros
Incredibly transparent even up to extreme distortion, making it great for lead or rhythm guitar. Half the price of lesser options.
Cons
No built in EQ stage beyond the Filter knob, though you likely have that taken care of in other pedals.
Best Bang for the Buck
MXR
M75 Super Badass
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Bottom
Line
A very versatile, full-featured pedal allowing you to find the right tone for any genre, guitar, or amplifier.
Pros
The 3-band EQ stage is very convenient & extremely useful. Can nail any style & sound great with any gear.
Cons
Less transparent. Even the slightest amount of the effect colors the signal noticeably. Can be desirable if you prefer coloration.
Best Budget Pick
Bottom
Line
This extremely affordable classic is still trusted by many of the best guitarists alive. A classic sound for any style distortion.
Pros
Does what you expect consistently with no surprises or niche sounds. Delivers exactly what listeners have come expect.
Cons
Always acts as a great boost but over time your tastes may develop as you gain more experience with distortion.

The best distortion pedal will take your wimpy tone from cowering in the corner to baring its monstrous teeth, transforming it into a snarling beast with the singular goal of melting the brains of your eager listeners. It's not that they'll be scared... it's what they desire and expect. You either bring a thick, driven tone full of harmonics or get left in the dust...

TL;DR - Budget Pick: Boss DS1 - Best Overall: Pro Co RAT2