There are all kinds of distortion pedals out there, and I’ve tried lots of them. The Seymour Duncan Dirty Deed isn’t like any of them. This article will let you know what makes this pedal different, with sound clips of its most popular settings as well as providing one with a full band so you can hear it in a mix.
I have several distortion pedals…why is this different?
Many pedals out there are trying to clone vintage sounds. This pedal was designed and built from the ground up to have its own voice. It’s dynamic, which means it can go from a light overdrive to full-on blast, using either the Drive knob or your guitar’s volume knob, as we can hear in the sound clips below. The Dirty Deed is true bypass, so it doesn’t color the tone when off. In fact, you can pull out the power supply and signal will pass through as if the pedal wasn’t even there – a true test of the bypass in any pedal. This all-analog pedal gets its voice from MOSFETs, or metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors. This is a fancy way of obtaining distortion, as opposed to the cheaper LED or germanium diodes. This provides a more dynamic and wide-ranging distortion sound which retains its clarity and punch throughout the distortion range. The focus was on a great sound on all levels of drive, and not just when it is full up. The end result is that it acts more like an amp than a typical distortion pedal- it has that feel that is so difficult to get out of something the size of a pedal. It can be used with a 9v battery or power supply but it can also be powered at 18v for increased clarity and crunch. The Dirty Deed is designed and assembled right in the Seymour Duncan HQ, in California, USA.
What do I get with it when I buy it?
The Dirty Deed comes in an attractive box with printed owners manual, complete with sample settings. The other cool thing is that it comes with your choice of Velcro for the bottom (to attach to a pedalboard) or a rubber base, so it won’t slip on a bare floor. I like this- I don’t have to try to get Velcro to stick to rubber like on most pedals, and I don’t have to try to peel the rubber off, either. I get to choose the way I want to use it. I wish all pedals had this option.
The jacks are on the back of the pedal, which allows for closer spacing on pedalboards. It has a very sturdy footswitch as well as full size Level and Gain controls. The smaller knobs are this pedal’s secret weapon. These Treble and Bass controls are active, and provide a +/- 12dB boost to those frequencies. This is very different than the simple lowpass filters on most distortion pedals, and really make it easy to sculpt a classic or modern tone.
Right. So, what does it sound like?
I’ll start this sound clip section with some settings right from the manual. The clips were done with the volume of the guitar on 5, then repeated with the volume of the guitar on 10. This provided a good way to hear the dynamics of the pedal. I recorded all of the clips with a Music Man SUB1, with a Seymour Duncan Custom Custom in the bridge position. This was plugged into the Dirty Deed, and then into my Mesa Blue Angel.
First up is the Fat Rhythm/Lead Tone.
Next, we have the setting called Power Crunch.
For an Open Rhythm Crunch, we have this:
Big Saturated Solo Sustain? Here ya go.
Here is a setting I made, which features a light overdrive.
Now here’s the Dirty Deed with a whole mix. All of the guitar and bass use the Dirty Deed – the bass benefits from that active EQ on the pedal. Some of the guitar parts were done with an amp, and some used amp simulators. Both sound excellent, and the dynamics of the pedal are retained no matter how the sound is processed after the pedal. As you can hear, it gives a great rhythm sound as well as an excellent solo sound. It can add warmth to clean sounds, and sound positively brutal when pushed hard. All distortion on this clip was with the Dirty Deed. The amp (or amp sim) was always on the cleanest setting possible so you can hear the sound of this pedal.
So, how much gain do you use? Do you get your distortion from a pedal, the amp, or a combination of both?