Price paid: £ 40
Purchased from: Local Guitar Shop
Sound — 7
I'm currently using an Ibanez ARZ700 with a Marshall DSL50, this pedal shines when in front of a tube amp, solid state amps will not do justice to an effect like this. I'm using it at the moment as a slight boost for lead playing, the volume increase isn't very significant but it does give a good added gain/sustain for screaming lead tones. You could use this pedal in a lot of ways and I did find it to also give a good blues lead tone when using it pushing an amps clean setting with a Telecaster on the neck pickup. I can see obvious downsides to this pedal being the added background noise when the pedal is engaged and there is a fair bit of loss in the low end when using as a boost, of course you may be looking for that cutting lead sound and feel that the positives outweigh the negatives.
Overall Impression — 6
There are better overdrives, but for the price and reliability the Boss SD-1 puts itself into a unique bracket of pedals where it can be a godsend for musicians looking for a cheap, reliable pedal to suit their needs. I needed a pedal to kick an already overdriven amp with a Les Paul styled guitar fitted with EMG's into the next stage (Already had plenty of gain and didn't want a wall of mud), it gives me what I need. If you're looking for volume boost, you'd be better looking elsewhere. If you want a your guitar to have that extra sustain and bite then this pedal may very well work for you. After trying many boutique overdrives and distortions for such a small job and shelling I ended up kicking myself after finding that sound from such an overlooked and price effective stompbox. If you've never played one then try it, it may not be for you but you may find a use for this little yellow box in your pedalboard. I may only be giving it a 6 but I'd only give a ten to something perfect, and distortion/gain/overdrive are things that are all personal preference and what you need, this pedal will not push a amp on a clean channel to sound like a Mesa Dual Rectifier, like with any pedal try before you buy... But I would buy it again without thought if it got stolen or broke down on me.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's a Boss pedal, there's a reason why they've been one of the big boys of the pedal market for so long. It's a heavy duty pedal that can stand up to the abuse of constant live playing, I can't see this thing dying on me in the foreseeable future. Though you should bring spare batteries/a power source for effects if you're a performing artist.
Ease of Use — 7
With only three dials on the pedal (Level, Drive and Tone) this is a very easy pedal just to take out of the box and find a decent sound on straight out of the box. I can't fault Boss for the ease of use of this pedal, it does what it says on the tin. You may need to tweak for a while to find that sweet spot for your tone but then again I'd bite the hand off a seller who could give me a pedal with no dials that is already perfectly catered to what I need.