Boss DS-1

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Boss DS-1 distortion pedal

The Boss DS-1 is a distortion pedal for guitar, manufactured by the Roland Corporation under the brand name Boss since 1978. The first distortion unit made by Boss,[1] it has become a classic effect, used by many notable guitar players.[2] Boss produced a successor, the DS-2.[3]


Circuit design[edit]

The DS-1 has a very simple circuit, based on a single op-amp. The distortion is produced using a variable gain circuit with diodes shorting the output to ground to produce hard clipping of the input waveform similar to the Pro Co RAT distortion pedal. This distortion stage is followed by a passive tone filter and volume control. The tone control is scooped in the midrange. It consists of a simple fixed -6dB/oct low pass filter and a simple fixed -6dB/oct high pass filter using a potentiometer to mix the two signals. Given this, the sound of the pedal has what can be described as a "nasal" tonal quality. Its simple circuit makes it a popular pedal to modify amongst DIYers, with much information and schematics available online. Notable companies offering modified versions of this pedal include Keeley, JHS, and Analogman.

Notable users[edit]


Boss DS-2 distortion pedal

Although it bears the same "DS" name, the Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion is circuit speaking very far from the DS-1, using several transistors and no op amps. It has with two modes producing a distinctly different sound, "I" and "II", the latter has more volume, more midrange and it is best suited for solos. These modes can also be selected via an optional footswitch.

Notable users[edit]


  1. ^ The Boss Book: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Popular Compact Effects for Guitar. Hal Leonard. 2002. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-634-04480-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brewster, David M. (2003). Introduction to guitar tone & effects: an essential manual for getting the best sounds from electric guitars, amplifiers, effect pedals, and digital processors. Hal Leonard. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-634-06046-5. 
  3. ^ The Boss Book: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Popular Compact Effects for Guitar. Hal Leonard. 2002. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-634-04480-9. 
  4. ^ Gill, Chris (20 February 2016). "The Definitive Kurt Cobain Gear Guide". Guitar World. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Kitts, Jeff; Tolinski, Brad (2002). Guitar World Presents the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time!: From the Pages of Guitar World Magazine. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 187. ISBN 9780634046193. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Gold, Jude (June 2007). "Mike Stern". Guitar Player. pp. 28–30.