Crate amps are used by many world famous guitarists, like C.C. DeVille, Sammy Hagar and Joe Walsh. These artists use distortion with Crate amps in various ways to create great guitar sounds. There are many knobs on a Crate amplifier, and it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which ones to turn to get a distorted guitar tone. Fortunately, It is not as difficult as it may seem to make a Crate guitar amp sound distorted. You just need to become familiar with the knobs and gain settings that must be adjusted on the amp to create the desired effect.
Using a standard 1/4 inch guitar cable, plug an electric guitar into the "input" jack of the Crate amplifier.
Select either the high gain or overdrive channel. High gain will enable you to create a very "heavy" distorted effect for styles like heavy metal or industrial music. Overdrive is a lighter distortion effect that is more popular in blues and classic rock styles.
Turn down to 0 the "Level" knob for the channel you selected. Slowly turn up the volume and play your guitar until the instrument becomes audible. Do not turn up the level control too high while creating a distortion effect, to avoid accidentally damaging your hearing or the amplifier speakers. You will make final volume adjustments with this knob after you have created the distortion effect on the Crate amp.
Set the "Gain" knob to 0. Slowly turn this knob until you achieve the desired distortion effect. The gain control knob is the key to making a Crate amp sound distorted. The higher you turn this knob, the more distorted the amp will sound.
Turn up the "Level" knob until you reach the desired volume for the distorted sound you just created.
Try using an external distortion pedal to enhance the distortion effect on a Crate amplifier. This will make it possible to achieve distortion effects that are not possible using only the amplifier settings alone.