Spend £50 for Free UK Shipping
Royal Mail First Class Post
Trustscore [total_score]/5 out of [total_reviews]+ reviews.

Who’s The BOSS When It Comes to Pedals?

Post provided by one of StringsDirect's expert guitar bloggers - Mark Thompson from 'Guitar Addiction' Anyone who knows me will tell you about my pedal problem, the problem is the lack of owning every single pedal ever made. If I won the lottery I would have a pedal room or even a whole house of pedals, see I told you I had issues. Growing up as a young guitarist, Boss pedals were the bread and butter pedals on every pedal board. You could always guarantee that Boss would do the job without the boutique breaking of the bank.

Money Too Tight To Mention

Money is always tight as a musician and back in the day before the online demo, nobody would want to risk the purchase of a” boutique” or as I call them” expensiver” pedal, in case it did not deliver. Boss pedals were the right price and the right sound and always delivered the goods.

History of boss pedals


 The Chain

Setting up a pedal board on a budget can be a risky undertaking and just one cheap nasty little pedal could ruin a perfectly good signal, this is called the tone-sucking syndrome. If you’re not familiar with pedal chains this video from SDTV will point you in the right direction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEnu3DMW5FI

 Six Of The Best For You Laddie

I have taken 6 Boss pedals that are a must have on any pedal board, I have deliberately left out time based pedals like delays and chorus for another “time”.

 First Up - The Boss Cs3 compression/Sustainer

Always first in the chain, the compressor pedal is a definite must have for every board. Compressors can either boost or limit signals, they are set to maintain a constant signal level so nothing jumps out too loud or gets lost through lack of velocity. The Cs3 is great for those funky rhythmic strumming riffs or keeping a great sustain, for those blistering solo moments and you can even mimic some swelling type sounds with it.


  • The Cs3 has 4 knobs on the front panel.
  • Level – This first knob is the overall level or volume.
  • Tone- The tone knob shapes some of the compressor character so rolling this off takes some highs from the signal and vice verca.
  • Attack – This knob adjusts the speed of which the compression starts after you play.
  • Sustain – This one adjusts the length the sustain works for or the amount of sustain you want.
  • Can be used with a 6v battery or power supply.

SD1 Super Overdrive

Next in our chain is a Boss SD1, this is a great classic overdrive pedal and also useful for boosting signals into valve amp, front ends to cook those valves into saturation heaven. Overdrives emulate the break-up of a valve amp and the SD does a great job and is useful for warm bluesy chord work or has enough gain for a great creamy lead sound. I personally still own one of these and it does have a great response to picking dynamics.


The SD has a nice sweep on the middle tone and simple volume and gain knobs. This pedal has been a good investment for pedal-boards since 1981 and the newer version is exactly the same inside as the old versions. Contrary to popular belief they sound exactly the same, due both having the operational amplifier JRC4558DD, which is the same as is used in the sought after and rather expensive older Ibanez TS9 pedal. Can be used with a 6v battery or power supply. More info http://www.pedalarea.com/sd1.htm

 DS1 Distortion

This is a classic distortion pedal and is probably the most common pedal I’ve ever seen on people’s boards, including the great Steve Vai and Satriani. This pedal is low noise and you can get a great response from dynamics and for lead work this guy is the bomb. Great, fat rhythms, marshal drive sounds and cut through the mix lead sounds, that will sustain forever, these are just some of the benefits you will be getting with this bad boy orange box of delight. Not just for high gain this versatile distortion pedal will provide lots of the functional distortion drive sounds you may need in modern rock music today.


Like the SD1 this also has a simple interface, tone, gain and volume, which have a great range and are immediately applicable for the fast-paced, unapologetic rock scene. Can be used with a 6v battery or power supply. More Info http://www.bossarea.com/loadpage.asp?file=boxes/ds1.xml

GE7 Equalizer

Boss’s graphic equalizer pedal is a very functional and often overlooked tone-shaping pedal. These pedals have such a wide range of uses, including boosting overall volume or boost (or Cut) any one of the 7 EQ bands on the face of the pedal. The pedal is rugged and roadworthy and can be used in the effects loop of an amp that hasn’t got much in the way of EQ or straight into the front end or your amp. EQ pedals are great for fine tuning just one frequency, cutting out or scooping those mids for metal or adding a ton of mids for a fat lead type sound


It features a seven band EQ with useful range of 100Hz to 6.4kHz. plus +/- 15dB adjustment and output level slider. Can be used with a 6v battery or power supply.

Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor

After all that gain and boost we are going to need a noise gate. Although the Boss pedals are well-made low noise pedals, the nature of gain raises up those noises that can interfere with our signal. Hum and hiss is the enemy of quieter guitar parts and hell when recording. The NS2 is just the ticket to dull those annoying frequencies from single coils, lighting, PC screens or bad wiring and all without affecting your guitar’s natural tone.

Does the Boss NS2 Djent?

Noise gates are also well used by metal players who want the chug cut off immediately when muting, for the staccato metal rhythms, this mean yes it does djent.


The NS2 is very simple and effective and can be used in both stereo and mono with 3 knobs on the face. The threshold and decay knob can tweak those unwanted signals and make a noisy pedal-board much quieter. The mode knob/switch toggles between reducing noise or muting noise completely As with all boss pedals you can run 9v power or a battery  Boss TU3 Chromatic Tuner Lastly, we have a TU3 tuner, these are great and easy to use and easy to see on a dark stage tuner pedal. If you don’t want a headstock tuner dangling on your guitar, a huge rack tuner taking up space or the stress of hunting down the tuner you put down last time you tuned, then this pedal is definitely for you. TU3 is brighter and tunes more accurate than its predecessor the TU2 and so is fantastic for intonation adjustment.


TU3 is a solid workhorse and shows both the note and the direction you need to tune in full easy to see colour. The TU is fully chromatic and useful for all electric instruments including bass and extended range guitars. There is a mute function for silent tuning so you don’t irritate the rest of the band. The power on this tuner daisy chains power to 7 other pedals so is worth having on a board for that function alone.

 Hot and Summery

I hope that’s given you a slice of insight into some reasonably priced boss pedals to add to your board or build a new board with. I personally also like a good wah pedal, modulation like chorus and phase, which are time based pedals, delay and reverb, which are also time based, a filter or tremolo type pedal and an octaver, but I’ll leave those for a another blog. The best thing to do is listen to what other guys say about Boss not just one person’s opinion. With that in mind, I asked Guitar Addiction on Facebook what Boss pedals they use and here’s what I got Alan Siwarski SD-1-JCM-800 Robert Sinner DS-1 with humbuckers squeal like a MF in a good way, of course. I am a fan of 90s rock, and the pedal gives me the "Kurt Cobain" style feedback that I have always been searching for. He used this pedal on their 3rd studio release "In Utero" The metal zone also is a beast. I can nail almost any tone with it. From Dimebag to Gilbert Tyson Bastick Ds1 has been very useful in my earlier playing getting a more distorted tone when I couldn't get it elsewhere! And the ns2 erh ma gawd that's a perfect pedal so happy with it, got recommended to me by a professional sound guy and I will recommend to anyone with gaps or rests in their music, or even someone with a noise problem on a guitar Kevin Crowther I have the orange DS-1, it's a great, affordable, quick solution for distortion Rex Allen Goble Have an original OD 1 from 1978? The thing rocks. They are bringing back the old analog versions. Scottwork Stirling I used to put the super overdrive in front of my HH combo to boost the dirty channel for gigs that's the only one I've used but it was great. Dominik McKoy modded my sd-1 to a fatter, more transparent od the stock pedal is awesome as well Titus McDonald Have the ds 1 also small looper Jared Arnott only one on that list I have is the ns2. I have noticed it makes some of my dirt pedals a little brighter, but not a big change in tone. If you have a massive amount of dirt and a noisy guitar, the decay sounds unnatural, but that is at an extreme on both settings. Mart Simons I've had a MT-2, it's a great pedal but not very versatile, your only choice is a heavy distortion with a lot of high, sharp tones.. The added mid-Freq and mid-Vol combination does provide for rigorous tone diversity tough, but all possibilities have heavy distortion. Donnie Tex Baker I had a BLUES DRIVER and absolutely loved it....For Blues and classic rock it has kick ass tone. Tube like distortion. Ric Hudson OD1 & 2 turbo, Compressor, Delay, Chorus, all in very neat custom flight case! Persevered for a year, but they screamed, mostly at larger venues needing higher volume levels! Tommy Slak Still running an SD1 from the first batch from time to time, awesome in front of a moderately distorted tube amp for lead sounds with great mids. Normally I'm more of a Tube Screamer guy, but for some sounds the pedal just kills Marcus Stevens I own a DS-1 and it is contrary to what some people say, a good pedal. When using a plexitype sound as your foundation I add the ds-1 to get that Gary Moore sound he had in the early eighties. It sounds killer. It kills the myth that you need expensive pedals. One needs only a great guitar and amp. Pedals: don't pay too much David Yaris I own a DS-1, and while it's a great pedal, I want to speak on all boss pedals when I say that their build quality is fantastic. Chris Picha SD-1. Gives you a little compression to make your leads smooth. Rex Allen Goble Yes, their stuff is mucho reliable! Rik Winter I have the DS1 - I'm running my Tele through it into a Peavey Rage 158 and it sounds beautiful. Johan Perk CS-3 is a nice compressor (Scott Grove swears by it). The CS-2 is nice too, and the CS-1 with photo coupler is just plain weird Bruno Wartooth Portilho I use the MT-2 as a boost type of deal. Set the distortion all the way down and use it as a pre EQ and boost to get a crunchy amp into high gain sweetness. Clint Riggs I have a bunch of boss boxes, love my TU3 though... it allows me to tune my 9 string however I like. Also been into my RC3 looper a lot, complex but simple to use.. love it. Michael Watkins SD-1 for a warmer classic rock tone with the JCA20. Charles Benson Torres FLANGER, ACOUSTIC SIMULATOR, TERA ECHO, METAL ZONE AND SUPERSHIFTER! Nick Robinson The super overdrive is a really nice pedal for metal tones and I know John 5 uses one as well, but I’m kinda used to it it has a blend for my tube screamer for some lead tones I like also like all the noise gates boss has to offer there probably some of the best ones I used Nate Justice I play a modded SD-1, and it's the perfect boost for soloing and lead work, but also beefy enough that it works for a heavy rhythm tone as well. I think it's honestly one of the best overdrive pedals anyone could own. Eduardo Marcolino I have the SD-1. I think it is perfect for that really light "crunchy" low-gain overdrive, and also for using it before another drive effect, giving it more sustain and a smoother tone. However, I just use it with the gain knob really low, like at 1/10. If you turn up the gain, the overdrive becomes too "screechy" and I think it sounds bad. Jake Perozzi I have a DS-1X and an OD-1X. They both give a lot without turning up the drive/distortion. Great 80s marshal tone. So versatile!! Kelly M. Fullen Have several and I love them simply because they are BOSS pedals Julian Beyer I've got the NS2, it works so well to my djenty tone. I would never change it for something other! Jared Arnott one huge and overlooked thing is replacement. a boss pedal fails on the road, and a identical replacement is easy to get. DJoshua Richardson I also have a ge-7, which I have used in many ways as a low end boost for cleans as an alternative for a neck pickup as a distortion pedal by putting everything on full as a post EQ in the mixing phase as a mid boost for getting Dimebag's tone. For a pedal I bought for €30 secondhand it works amazingly well for all of these applications and an overall great pedal                  
Your Cart
Item added to cart
Item removed from cart
Sort & Filter
Sort & Filter