Boss DS-1 Guitar Distortion Pedal – Review On an Old Classic

Boss DS-1 Guitar Distortion Pedal

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Boss DS-1 Guitar Distortion Pedal
Boss DS-1 Guitar Distortion Pedal

The Boss DS-1 is an iconic distortion pedal.  This charming little orange box has been on the market since 1978 and has since become more than just a household name in the world of distortion. This pedal sets the bar for distortion and I will stand by that statement to the end of time.

It has a very simple control setup with one knob for tone control, a volume knob, and a distortion knob, and between those three knobs you can attain a nice array of tones from a delicate overdrive to a nice, deep, crunchy distortion.  As always I appreciate any chance to not have to read a manual, so thankfully the learning curve is as smooth as the plains of Kansas.

The chassis on this thing is built to last. Mine looks like it’s gone face to face in the ring with the Hulkamania running wild with the twenty-four inch pythons and still works like brand new.  So feel free to let loose and beat the devil out of this thing.

Probably the greatest benefit of the Boss DS-1 is the price.  Considering how good the pedal is it is remarkably affordable clocking in at a whole and entire $40, and therein lies the reason why I am so strongly in favor of the DS-1.  The pedal is great quality, but the price makes it accessible to fellow guitarists on a budget and will last for years to come.

But wait!  There’s more! The fun-filled versatility doesn’t even stop at one pedal.  Because of the affordability I know people that pick up a second DS-1 and use it as a boost for the first in the same effects chain, plus I’d whipped up a nifty article about the powers of the DS-1 and a compressor combined here.  Then there are those guys at Keeley and AnalogMan that modify the circuitry for widely praised new tones.

The only bad thing I can really say about the Boss DS-1 is that being an old, analog pedal that it is it does not have the sophisticated noise reduction that a lot of modern pedals have.  That isn’t to say the pedals noisy in excess or even that bad at all.  Just that depending on how you set it can get you a bit of a hiss here and there.  Nothing too bad and even that considered this is still the first pedal I recommend to anyone looking into distortion pedals.

[rating: 4.5] – Build quality – 4.5
[rating: 4.5] – Sound quality – 4.5
[rating: 4] – Features – 4
[rating: 5] – Ease of Use – 5
[rating: 5] – Bang for Buck – 5

[rating: overall] – Overall: 4.6

“Ye Ol’ Boss DS-1 Can be obtained and learnt about here:

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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