My fascination with guitars goes beyond guitars themselves. My fascination also includes amplifiers, interfaces, software, and guitar pedals. Some say I may have too many guitar pedals. Those people would of course be wrong. One of the reasons I have the number of guitar pedals I do is because it’s so easy to find guitar pedals under $50 USD.
Heck. It even gives me something to write about on this website! Convenient.
I plan to create individual posts for each distortion pedal I own. I also plan on purchasing more distortion pedals on account of how many affordable options exist and then making new posts—including videos—for them.
Does each distortion pedal sound the same? No. Is each distortion pedal built to the same quality level? No. Do I love every distortion pedal I currently own? Yes.
To varying degrees.
Before I start creating the individual videos and posts, I thought I’d test the waters for interest by writing firstly about some of the pedals I own and then—in a future post—writing about five distortion pedals I plan on purchasing. For science!
Let the water/distortion testing begin!
Table of Contents
Five owned distortion pedals
AZOR Heavy Metal
Weighing in at 0.2 kg on my handy kitchen scales, this distortion pedal does feel heavier than it looks. That heaviness transfers through to the pedal’s sound as well. On the pedal I own, the dedicated distortion knob appears to be mostly for show. If I dial the distortion down to zero—assuming a scale of zero to ten—the sound is still very distorted. Dialing the distortion all the way up to ten does increase the distortion slightly, but this pedal is clearly saying “You wanted distortion when you turned the pedal on, so you’ll get distortion!”
The pedal includes a volume control and a mid control. I’m a big fan of the mid control. I’m one of those scoop the mids distortion fans.
There is also a switch that goes from classic distortion tones to extreme distortion tones. For me, there is a noticeable difference and the extreme distortion sounds more modern.
As far as the distortion sounds go, I love them. It’s also worth pointing out that at the time of writing, this pedal is way under $50 USD. It’s under $30 USD!
According to my kitchen scales, the HOTONE Djent pedal weighs in at 0.185 kg which does feel heavier than it appears considering its insanely small footprint on a pedalboard. That comes with its pros and cons. A pro—or positive—is that this distortion pedal takes up next to no space on a pedalboard. A con—or negative—is that the controls are very close together and not easy to adjust in a rush.
Unlike the AZOR offering, turning the distortion control down on this pedal almost makes the distortion disappear. In my home setting, the pedal almost becomes more of a boost than a distortion when the distortion control is turned down to zero.
I should point out that the HOTONE Djent distortion knob actually has the numbers 0-10 on it. That’s another win.
The HOTONE Djent also comes with a tone-shaping switch. This one includes three options. They feel like a bass boost, centralised mode, and treble boost to me.
The Force knob controls the pedal’s volume output and the Saber knob controls the mids on the pedal. Again, this is a win for my preferred distortion pedal tones.
Other and more reputable sources have the KOKKO Distortion pedal weighing 0.18 kg. My kitchen scales say 0.175 kg. I probably trust the other and more reputable sources. Either way, this pedal feels sturdy and solid.
There are no fancy controls on this distortion pedal. This is what I call a no-nonsense distortion pedal. It reminds me of the distortion pedals I grew up with playing guitar in the 80s-90s. You have a tone control, a volume control, and a level control to take the pedal from no distortion to maximum distortion.
The distortion tones are awesome and classic. This is not a scoop your mids distortion pedal. Still, it is an excellent-sounding distortion pedal. For a pedal that is currently selling for under $30 USD, this pedal is a great buy.
KMISE Crunch Distortion
We are getting into the lighter pedals now. The casing on this distortion pedal is all metal—as is the case for all pedals in this collection—but the pedal only weighs 0.135 kg. Just like the KOKKO Distortion pedal above, the KMISE Distortion pedal has a simple control layout with gain, volume, and tone controls.
One thing that is different with the KMISE offering is that when you turn the gain and volume up, there is a significant volume increase. This pedal gets loud! If you turn the gain all the up and the volume all the way down, you’re still getting some crunchy tones.
As the name implies, this pedal has a crunch to it. I found that if I increased the tone all the way, the effect moves beyond a regular distortion and well into a crunch zone. My preferred settings on this pedal are to have the controls all around the 12 o’clock mark. That is a very nice-sounding distortion.
This is another distortion pedal that can be found for under $30 USD. Sometimes even under $25 USD!
Mosky Black Rat Distortion
My Mosky Black Rat distortion pedal weighs in at 0.135 kg just like the KMISE Crunch Distortion pedal. It is another sturdy feeling pedal that simply gets the job done.
The distortion type is different with this pedal—perfect for anyone who ever tells you “All distortion sounds the same”. Nobody needs negativity like that in their life by the way. The distortion tones in this pedal remind me of the early heavy metal sounds of the late 60s—so I’m told—to the 70s.
I was there for that era.
The controls on the Mosky Black Rat Distortion pedal are slightly different from all previously mentioned pedals. The pedal includes distortion and volume controls as well as a filter control—which controls the pedal’s tone. Similarly to the AZOR offering mentioned above, this pedal includes a two-way switch. This switch however takes the pedal from vintage to turbo. On my pedal, that turbo switch amplifies the tone and volume. A lot!
Currently selling for around $30 USD, this is the second most expensive distortion pedal in this list. That’s my kind of expensive.
For the home hobbyist—like me—these five pedals are all affordable and more importantly, useable distortion pedal options.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, I intend on creating posts—including videos—for each individual pedal. I also plan on getting more of these distortion pedals.
I don’t get out much. This is where whatever disposable income I have goes.
If you have one of these distortion pedals, let me know in the comments section below. If you know of another affordable option, let me know that as well. I may have it. Or, I may need to look for it.
Thanks for reading.