DS-1 Distortion review by Boss

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (444 votes)
Boss: DS-1 Distortion

Purchased from: Musician's Freind

Sound — 7
While I have only tried this pedal through a solid state amp, I can still say that this isn't a versatile pedal. It sticks to one distortion sound, and cannot be modified by any great means. There are basically three types of distortion with this pedal: quiet distortion, regular distortion, and noisy distortion. Yes, when turning up the gain knob a great deal, you get some noisiness, but that is expected since there is no built in EQ. Overall, this is pretty generic distortion, and I would have to say: if you are looking for a specific sound, then please, look further in the great amount of Boss pedals out there.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this is a pretty generic pedal. It does fall short price wise of the other Boss pedals, but you get what you pay for. I recommend using this pedal as an Overdrive boost for solos, because you won't be getting much otherwise. This is also a good beginner pedal. I personally think that this pedal would be better if it had a built in EQ. While I can't think of any particular music style this pedal would suit, I can say that the distortion sounds synthetic, rather than a natural Overdrive. So in other words: this pedal would most likely suit the heavier rock guitar player. However, if you DO play metal, I recommend getting the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone instead.

Reliability & Durability — 10
All Boss pedals are very easy to rely on. I have never had any breakdown problems with this pedal, or any Boss pedal for that matter. It is built like a tank. I could easily rely on this pedal without any backups for 30 straight years, gigging or not. You can step on a Boss, run over a Boss, heck, you could even throw one off your roof (I've tried). Boss pedals still sound as good as new, no matter what they go through.

Ease of Use — 10
This is an overall simple pedal from Boss. While I wouldn't say it is their easiest pedal to use, it is without a doubt one of the most self explanatory pedals from the company. There are three knobs: gain, which adds the amount of distortion, tone, which is basically a treble knob, and a level knob that measures the volume of the effect. This is an easy pedal to use, recommended for beginners. Check out the instruction manual. It offers some amazing tips.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    leondb wrote: I picked this one up recently. I replaced my Digitech Grunge with it. Overall, it was worth the money. I'm starting to find Digitech pedals to be fragile. I had problems with the Grunge and Hyper Phaser after 1 1/2 years of use. And I am pretty careful about swapping batteries.
    Wow, to be honest, I did the opposite. I couldn't get anything close to a good sound out of this thing and traded it to my friend for his Grunge pedal. It has such a better range of high gains and crunch rather than the fuzzy distorted mess I would get from DS-1.
    Someone talked about Steve Vai and Joe Satriani using DS-1, but they are using Keeley Mod ones, the Keeley Boss DS-1 Ultra Mod. That's why they got heavier sound from that pedal.
    i got a shitty amp, which is yamaha GA 10 it came with the begginer bag but anyway, i got myself a good ibanez, but the amp still sound shitty, should i get this pedal to make it sound better
    Did Kurt Cobain use this through a clean channel on his amp?