Dont mix up different guage strings. It might sound bad. The over all feel of playing wont be good either.
Jim Dunop guitar polishes are available at most music stores. So get one. But that's only for the body. Dont try cleaning your Fretboard or strings with that. For that get a String Cleaner or a Fretboard Cleaner. You can use the guitar cleaner to clean the amp too. Dont use a wet cloth for anything.
I dont know what do you mean by Rich, Fat, Smooth Distortion. Actually every player describes a distortion like this. Unless you really specify it clearly it wont be easy to comment.
For some real nice smooth tones. Check these
1. Try Proco RAT Reissue. That's really nice but not a Thrash metal pedal but can give you great tones.
2. Tube Platinum for AMT has a very smooth and saturated tube sound.
3. Toadworks Mr.Ed is a smooth Distortion with rich Harmonics. Infact it's a Van Halen's brown sound emulator. It has the sound of a Cranked Up Marshall.
4. Line 6 Uber Metal is pretty decent.
5. Tech21 Sansamp GT2 is one of the best stomp box distortion every made.
6. Rocktron Gainiac II is a Rack Distortion available for $200. It's pretty decent. But you might to buy some midi switches.
Ok. One thing to know. All of us wants to have rich smooth distortion with a lot of sustain. Basically it's the sound of a Saturated Tube Amp which is driven hard and cranked up. The thing with Analog Distortions is if it either saturates the transistors or overdrives the ICs or does clipping. Transistor saturations lead to a very fuzzy sound. Usually they overdrive it with stages of tiny amplifiers which get the overdriven sound. If the sound has to be smooth, then the gain is not very high. If the gain is very high, the sound is not very smooth. Most very high gain pedals use clipping instead of overdriving for noise reasons.
Digitally Modelled Distortion pedals are good in a way that they can try to emulate the saturated tube sound but a keen listener or a purist will notice that it sounds like a processor.
So the truth is you wont get a Thick, Rich and Fat Sounding distortion in a stomp box. You can get it in a Tube Rack or a Tube Amp. But a lot of stompboxes do a decent job, so listen to a few and chose that gets closest to your liking. In any case you wont get a nice tube overdriven sound. Wake Up.
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