Purchased from: Hand me down.
Ease of Use: 3 knobs, Octave 1, Octave 2, and Direct Level (basically the blend of your guitars original tone). The operation is beyond simple. It's fairly easy to get good tones out of this brown little box. Just play around with it, tweak them knobs and find what you like. I didn't have a manual but BOSS did on their website for free download. Not that you need it for an effect this simple but just in case. There's really not much else to say about it. If you have trouble figuring that out then I don't know what to tell you. // 10
Sound: Well it's an octave pedal. This one can give you 1 and 2 octaves below your original note. Right off the bat I'll tell you this doesn't track chords. Forget about playing them with this engaged. But otherwise it does sound good. I haven't pumped it through the fridge of a rig yet. I have put it through my Line 6 Flextone II XL with one of my Les Pauls. With a humbucker and depending on how you set it up it can get a little muddy and weird on the lower strings. But with some tweaking you can find the sweet spots. I haven't tried it with any of my single coil equipped guitars yet but I feel it may lend itself better to that. It definitely fattens up lines and riffs though. You can reproduce some Van Halen parts (considering he did indeed use this model at a time) and CKY if that's your thing. And you can definitely get some cool blues and funk tones. Sounds good clean, overdriven and distorted. It's really a thing of playing with it and finding what you like. Muddy, bassy, clean, subtle, heavy, etc. It will do it. Not as well as new things today but still worthy for sure. For a real cool '70s tone throw this and a phase 90 on for lead passages. WARNING: Doing so may attract El Camino full of loose and ready to juice cheerleaders. // 8
Reliability & Durability: So I got this handed down to me 16 years ago. I never really used it because it never worked right. The reason for both of these is it was submersed in a flooded basement studio. Being a handy guy I decided to try and fix it. I took it apart and cleaned it up with some CRC 2-26 electrical lube and cleaner. THING WORKS LIKE NEW FROM 1982 now. Only thing I had to do was replace a missing knob. That said it's a BOSS and its built like a tank. I honestly thought the flooding was finally the thing that would kill a BOSS. I was wrong. Hell even the paint on it is near mint lol. That all said it gets a 10 for durability and reliability. // 10
Overall Impression: I play a variety of styles and have been for 18 years. The list of what I don't play is shorter. This is a thing I had sitting around and wanted to throw in for every now and then just to spice things up in certain spots of my music. It does what I wanted. Fattens up some riffs and licks, gets funky, does the '70s thing in conjunction with my Phase 90. It's a very cool effect but not something I'd use as a constant part of my overall tone. What I like is its simple operation and the fact that I was able to bring it back to proper working order. If it were stolen and I found another like it I'd replace it but I'd probably end up going with something different. I'd be angry though as this one is an original MIJ Octaver which is quiet collectible these days. Compared to others it's definitely not the best or be all end all of octave pedals. There are others better. But this is also no slouch. It sounds good, gets the job done and is reliable. If you find one for $20-$30 in a Pawn Shop, Guitar Shop, Craigslist, or eBay (watch out for the vintage prices on there) I'd say pick it up. It's worth a shot. // 9