Price paid: € 35
Purchased from: second hand
Sound — 9
The set-up I use with this mostly, involves an Epiphone Wildkat (a great, under-rated guitar btw), with a Blackstar HT60 2x12 60 watt tube amp. I mainly use it to boost volume slightly, and put a touch of distortion on my solos in the jazz band that I'm in. I feel that this pedal is very good for this purpose. It can also give a really brutal in your face gain (hard rock, not much for metal fans here, but that's not expected). There's surprisingly not much buzz at all from this pedal, compared to, for example, my Marshall Gov'nor 2 distortion. The tone suck is there, but it's only marginal. True bypass would be nice, but it still does a decent job without it. This pedal managed to give me a Gary Moore sort of sound recently, which is NEVER a bad thing. Top marks earned on what matters, which is sound.
Overall Impression — 9
I use this mostly as a jazz/blues sort of thing, and as the name suggests, it does this quite well, it's what its made for of course. I'd describe the sound I'm trying to get in leads as a mix between BB King and Gary Moore, and this pedal has formed part of my identity when it comes to solos through my Blackstar HT60. This gear pairing is something I view as a permanent experience, they are matched well. I have been playing for a good few years now, I own plenty of other gear, but when it comes to my pedal rig, I like things to be simple, hence why the only other main effect I want to use on stage is a Wah pedal, I'll otherwise leave it at that. With this in mind, the Boss pedal has earned its place. If it were stolen/lost, I'd buy it again, without hesitation. I know many people out there will say that "x is better, or y is better", but the truth is, this pedal is fine by me, if only for the bypass. I recommend trying it yourself through your rig first, but through mine at least, it sounds extremely pleasing for such a reasonably priced pedal. I hate that there is just one tone nob, I wish I could tweak the tone a little more, but that's just because I have compulsive tweeking disorder, as many of us here can confess to. I compared it to a bad monkey, tube screamer, and Joyo us dream. I know that these pedals are all pretty different to each other, but that was what the second hand market had to offer when I was trying to find a boost for solos. The bad monkey... Wasn't quite there for it, still a good pedal. The tube Screamer (Ibanez TS9), was great, but expensive. The joyo, too much of a one trick pony unfortunately. The blues breaker isn't like that though. You can do Hendrix almost fuzzy tones, Gary Moore sounds, even boosting my distortion channel slightly helped it towards pretty nice AC/DC tones. As you can tell by now, I rate this pedal very highly. As a (reasonably) experienced guitar player, who isn't running this through a bad amp, I can comfirm this without doubt; it's a great, simple, dependable pedal. What's not to love? Go buy it!
Reliability & Durability — 8
It's a fully metal case, so I'm guessing it's going to be fairly dependable. There's nothing that particularly screams "cheap" about this pedal, it's solidly built and will probably last the test of time, as does most of the Boss stuff I have used, or friends have used. If you buy this, I doubt you should ever have a problem. Mine was second hand, but the only thing that seems to have gone wrong with it is that the LED light doesn't switch on anymore. Not exactly a big deal, if you can't figure out if it's on then your musical ear needs adjusting or something. Fitting a new led isn't much of a task anyway. I would use this at a gig without a backup in a heartbeat, it's a very good pedal, and Boss (at least in my city's music scene), has a well earned reputation of building mini-tanks when it comes to pedals.
Ease of Use — 8
This pedal is very easy to use. It only has three control knobs after-all. It has a volume, tone, and gain control. There is a very low learning curve as a result of this. It's just a simple pedal done well. There's not much to say as there's not much to talk about about, dial the tone as thick or thin sounding as you want, put the level to a comfortable level, toss on as little or as much gain as you want, and well... There you go. This will be a nice change for those of you who are converting your multi-effects set-up to a "individual pedal" set up... So to say. It earns decent points, but not ten out of ten, as it's not changing the world of pedals, it just does the tried and tested.