For electric guitarists, distortion refers to the clipping of a signal when it is (hopefully purposefully) amplified beyond the abilities of some component or another of his rig to handle it. The common favorite component to distort is a vacuum tube in the amp. There are other methods of generating distortion. Common myth is that The Kinks started the whole thing by putting a pencil through a speaker in the guitar rig.

See guitar amplifier for more information

Distortion is a trick used by guitar players to cover up their mistakes. Other tricks of this nature:

Dis*tor"tion (?), n. [L. distortio: cf. F. distortion.]

1.

The act of distorting, or twisting out of natural or regular shape; a twisting or writhing motion; as, the distortions of the face or body.

2.

A wresting from the true meaning.

Bp. Wren.

3.

The state of being distorted, or twisted out of shape or out of true position; crookedness; perversion.

4. Med.

An unnatural deviation of shape or position of any part of the body producing visible deformity.

 

© Webster 1913.

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