The BOSS DS-1 Distortion pedal is one of the most popular distortion pedals used today. This distortion pedal provides a dynamic tone at any volume that is suitable for both guitar and keyboards. The pedal has Distortion, Level and Tone controls to customize the overall sound.
Picture of the BOSS DS-1
History of the BOSS DS-1
The BOSS DS-1 has been around since 1978 when it was first produced by Roland, which is the parent company of Boss. This was the very first distortion pedal from Boss and is still sold today. The pedal has been used by guitar players such as John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kurt Cobain from Nirvana and Rivers Cuomo from Weezer.
Features of the BOSS DS-1
As mentioned earlier, the BOSS DS-1 has Distortion, Level and Tone controls. The tone knob seems to effect the equalization of the outputted sound. It adds a remarkable amount of treble when this knob is turned clockwise. The distortion knob controls the clipping of the waveform. The clipping of this input signal is what produces the distortion effect. The distortion circuit is similar to that of the Pro Co RAT. The level knob controls the volume of the sound. This is useful for getting a good balance between the clean sound and the distorted sound. The pedal is switched between clean and distorted sounds by pressing on the pedal with your foot which engages the switch. The pedal also features standard 1/4″ input and output jacks which are standard for modern electric guitar gear. The pedal also includes a 9V DC AC Adapter jack. The pedal is powered by a 9v battery or a PSA-series AC Adapter which is sold seperately.
Sound Quality of the BOSS DS-1
This distortion pedal has a decidedly very scooped sound especially when the tone knob is turned up. To get a really good sound out of this pedal, I’ve found that it is best to use humbucker pickups. With single coil pickups, you really have to fine tune the tone knob. I tend to favor mid and low range tones but if you are looking for a distortion pedal that has a ton of high end ability, I would definitely try this pedal out. This is probably one of the reasons why it was used by Cobain and Cuomo. If you are looking for the harsh punk rock tone that Nirvana was famous for, this pedal would be a good one for your collection. The pedal also seems to be very dynamic. When you are playing softly the pedal sounds softer but has a harsher attack when playing harder. This can be incredibly useful when playing dynamic guitar solos. This is probably why it was used by Frusciante as he often plays dynamic solos with harsher punk rhythm tones.
Specs and Dimensions
The DS-1 is 73mm wide x 129mm deep x 59mm. It weighs 15 ounces.
The Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal comes with a five year manufacturer’s warranty.