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Discussion Starter #1
I've tried unsuccessfully to add distortion or fuzz to the sax and the best I can get is just a hotter mic sound, or ear piercing feedback if the level is too high. I read a thread on another website saying sax is a square waveform and the idea of distortion you'd add to say a guitar, would be sort of similating the sound of a sax with the sustain of the distortion, so trying to distort the sax doesn't work so well or easily. Just wondering if anyone's done it well with an easy solution. That thread gave one suggestion as far as a adding a filtered effect like flange first and then distortion which somehow makes this possible. I haven't tried it yet as I just learned about it today.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Quoted from this thread: http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=82399.40

Julian at the EHX forum sent me this that explains the situation nicely:

"A square wave is a signal full of harmonics, a sine wave is one devoid of harmonics.

Distortion adds harmonics, making a signal closer to a square wave. (additive synthesis)

Filtering removes harmonics, making a signal closer to a sine wave. (subtractive synthesis)


A saxophone is already very close to a square wave, so I didn’t think distortion would effect it very much. So if you make it less like a square wave, the distortion will have a better effect on it."

This is why filters worked so well in front of the distortion/fuzz and this is what Strategy was saying earlier in the post. What should I search to just look up filters without modulation? Like a filter without the flange or without the envelope.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The bguy that posted the original thread also posted what worked for him, but I'm not sure anyone here can make sense of it:

SUCCESS!!!!
Last night we played around with pre-amps, compression, mixers, pickups vs. mics etc...some stuff sounded good but nothing triggered the distortion.
What finally did it was running a Flange and (or) the Q-Tron before the distortion. If anyone has any ideas why these kind of effect triggered the fuzz I'd love to hear it.
We will need to some work to keep the feedback from going crazy but it was difinetly working, usable, and sounding exactly like we hoped it would. Thanks for all or your time peeps.
 

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Running through a guitar amp is pretty good for a really nasty distorted tone.... never had much success with pedals but a hot mic run through a (preferably pretty small) guitar combo amp can prove very grungey indeed.
 

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...sax is a square waveform and the idea of distortion you'd add to say a guitar, would be sort of similating the sound of a sax with the sustain of the distortion, so trying to distort the sax doesn't work so well or easily. Just wondering if anyone's done it well
The British jazz/rap artist Soweto Kinch has used a variety of adaptions to his sound with pedals very successfully and memorably. If my memory serves me right I've heard him use a fuzzed up alto sound in a gig a few years back, although the fuzz wasn't quite as tight sounding as usually heard from electric guitar. He has also used a great squelchy effect, my personal fave - think Starsky & Hutch theme.
 

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Lastly I would love to get this type of tone with a distortion effect:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWsthjWlFvU&feature=related
Best buy a guitar then. She relied heavily on the sustain generated by the distortion. Using a pickup instead of a mic might help to get that sound on a saxophone, but it won't be easy. I have RAT distortion here, but I find that I can get a better and more flexible distorted sound by humming with the tone. Or sing the exact same note as you play. Ever tried that?
 

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There are distortion pedals designed to work for blues harmonica players (made by 'lone wolf' pedals in the US). In theory these have an edge, in that they're designed to work with a mic, not a guitar line level signal...
By the way- the clip you posted- that's Dana Colley of Morphine playing- there are a few articles around about how he got his sound (I seem to remember a Saxophone Journal interview which was specifically about his use of pedals- also check YouTube videos of Bruce Lamont from Chicago band Yakuza)
 

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The secret to good distortion lies in using as little as possible ESPECIALLY for saxophone. Overdrive pedals, which have lower gain than fuzz, will actually give the sound more grit and bight. When adding more and more distortion, the sound begins to smooth out pretty quickly. Guitarists often want this effect, but it tends to just make a saxophone sound fuzzier and slightly muffled. A lower gain overdrive will have tremendous kick.
 

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I've used a bass effects pedal. Zoom do ones with several options whcih include fuzz/ overdrive and chorus etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I actually am a guitarist primarily. I can get the growling effect which does blend ok with actual guitar distortion, but the sound from the clip I posted is almost ideal. Sort of similar to the sound of distortion I'd be happy with on guitar even but I play sax in my band and the other guitarist has a more clean tone and his distortion isn't my cup of tea.

I'll have to try a filter effect before a fuzz or distortion box next as they may be the key to unlocking the tone I'm looking to get.

Best buy a guitar then. She relied heavily on the sustain generated by the distortion. Using a pickup instead of a mic might help to get that sound on a saxophone, but it won't be easy. I have RAT distortion here, but I find that I can get a better and more flexible distorted sound by humming with the tone. Or sing the exact same note as you play. Ever tried that?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have a few multi fx already. I use my Digitech RP255 primarily for my delay and reverbs even though they have everything else in it.

I've used a bass effects pedal. Zoom do ones with several options whcih include fuzz/ overdrive and chorus etc.
 

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http://soundcloud.com/b-b-reed/we-are-meant-for-this

Here is a track I recently recorded where I use my trusty Digitech Vocal 300 through a Direct Box limited by LR Boggs utilizing the Wah pedal, distortion, reverb and delay during the solo section at around :35

I like the D.I. Box by Boggs because it allows you to dial in on the frequency that is causing the feedback.

B
 

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I know that Skerik uses distortion pretty extensively for a lot of his different projects. Here's one that comes to mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUeZkr9H4k (sax solo starts at about the 4 minute mark)

I don't know what kind of pedals/effects units that he uses, but it looks to me like he's using a dynamic mic rather than a condensor mic (probably a little easier to control the feedback with a less hot signal), and you can see that he uses a pedal (either a volume or an effects wet/dry mix) to prevent the loads of feedback that would happen while he's not playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Modman that sounds pretty cool. The wah actually doesn't sound bad. I'd prefer more distortion but that's just my taste and I'm sure even with your setup it's possible. Can you give me a rundown of how everything is connected in your setup? Thanks.

If your acoustic direct box is this:



then I have the very same direct box, but I never used it for sax. My setup is:

Audio Technica ATM-350 clip-on mic>ART Tube MP preamp>Digitech RP255>PA

I was thinking of trying a separate wah or auto wah unit and then a distortion box before the Digitech RP255 as I'm not sure how the RP255 arranges the order of FX. Since you have the Vocal 300 which I'm sure is very similar to my RP255 as far as parameters and FX, maybe your setup could help me avoid using a separate wah and distortion along with the RP255.
 

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Same Direct box. I have to look at my electronic set up which I only use occasionally for outdoor use, and because I have an outdoor gig tomorrow (110 degree heat, but in the shade)evening and I will be using it. I will hook it up tonight and see how it is that I daisy chain it, and report back.

B
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thankis Modman. Also if you could if you have time is note the parameters of said FX in the Vocal 300 as your reverb/delay levels sound pretty nice.
 
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