I like gritty distortion. By using a couple of diodes to clip a signal we can build a passive clipper distortion unit. In this example, I use bipolar LEDs to do the clipping. Even though we end up with a drop in audio level it sounds pretty decent.
Diodes provide a one-way street for current flow. They’re often used to convert AC to DC, in clipping and clamping circuits, as circuit protection, voltage limiter, and voltage regulator. Some even emit light. Diodes come in lots of different shapes and sizes each with their own specific use.