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Different types of distortion
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Different types of distortion

and when to use them

So, you've got this fancy effect pedal that lets you use more than one kind of distortion!  That's great!  But... how do you know when to use each kind of distortion?  Hmmm....

Maybe I mislabeled this page.  It should probably be "Different levels of distortion."

If you don't have all different kinds of distortion, don't worry!  Make do with the gain and tone controls on your distortion unit.  Use the gain for distortion level, and the tone control for crunchiness.

Distortion type Appropriate use
None Slow songs
Light & crunchy Light modern rock, slow songs
Light & smooth Slow song leads, slow songs
Medium crunchy Alternative rock, power chords
Medium smooth Leads, riffs with delay
Heavy crunchy Punk rock, hardcore
Heavy smooth Fast leads
Heavy "wet" Heavy metal leads (add chorus and, optionally, delay and/or reverb)

OK.  Now you have a good distortion for a song.  Let's equalize it to get a good sound.

EQ emphasis (what to turn up) Resultingsound
Low end, cutting high end (use low pickups) Deep, bassy distortion
Low end Heavy distortion
Midrange All-purpose distortion, maybe a tin-can sound
High end High distortion, light/airy
High end, cutting low end (use high pickups) Telephone-type sound

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