Boss SD-1, Less is More

Robbie

Friend of Fred
Jun 17, 2013
5,838
Sarnia Ontario Canada
Beyond on-board amp Reverb and Tremolo I’ve never been a big user of effects. I’ve tried and tried but I’m never happy with all the fiddling around, and I do understand that‘s more about me than the effects pedals.
OD in particular has always been frustrating for me, I’ve tried all kinds of them and like them for a couple of weeks or a month then they go back in the box, or get sold, and the search starts again.
Recently during rehearsals for a couple of upcoming Shows, I pulled out a Boss Super OD and hooked it up. I haven’t used this pedal for a long time and have been running straight into the amp. I was able to get a sound I really liked for solos in about 30 seconds. I could easily lower the Drive a little and leave it on all the time because of how well it responds to pick attack and the volume control.
I’ve had this pedal for years and I think I paid about $40 for it new. I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t been using it all along.
With a signal chain Guitar-TU3-SD1-Amp. I’m very happy and comfortable with my sound…again. Goes to show you (me) sometimes less really can be more.
 

Horse Nation

Gretschie
Jun 7, 2022
174
new york
Oddly enough, I took out my SD-1 just yesterday....and still couldn't get anything out of it that I like.

I bought the thing years ago because it's the pedal that Billy Duffy used in his early days with The Cult. It works for him, but I just can't get it to work for me. No great loss to me financially. As you pointed out the pedal is dirt cheap as far as pedal prices go.
 

BCRatRod73

Synchromatic
Sep 1, 2020
780
Mississippi
If you can use a soldering iron you can make that pedal sound even better. Pedal kits for Boss pedals are cheap and easy to install. So long as it’s not surface mount the components are easy to remove. There are many kits available but I went with Monte Allums. I modded several boss pedals and was happy with the results.
 

loudnlousy

Gretschified
Oct 18, 2015
12,549
Germany
During the last 20 years or so I did not use any drive-pedal.
But I still own quite a few.
My first pedal was a Boss OD1 which is quite similar t the SD1.

The SD 1 is a time-tested unit that is enhancing the tone more than bulldozer-ing it like a pedal like the Big Muff.
I intend to use it with a cleaner amp and a strat, again.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
22,266
Monkey Island
It's a classic, proven pedal. Glad to hear you've rekindled your love for it. I have one as well that I never use. Honestly I think it just annoys me something so utilitarian looking and cheap, can be everything a player needs.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,399
Tucson
Some years ago, I heard an interview with a professional beer taster. Her job was to help breweries to keep their product on track. At the end of the interview, they asked he to name some beers she felt tasted good. She mentioned several relatively obscure beers from micro breweries, and then mentioned Budweiser. Bud, that you can buy almost anywhere, was considered, in her opinion, an excellent beer.

I see the SD-1 somewhat the same. It’s one of the least expensive pedals Boss makes, and one of the oldest designs, but it sounds pretty good, to many people. It’s a soft clipper, much like a Tube Screamer, but it uses asymmetric clipping, and perhaps doesn’t have the pronounced midrange hump in the EQ, that a Tube Screamer has, although it does have a strong midrange.

I find that I like it with the drive fairly low, and volume set to just a slight boost. It isn’t quite Larry Carlton territory, but it’s close enough For many situations.

I will mention that if you want a bit stronger overdrive, the Boss OS-2 is another low-cost choice and for a more transparent, the Nobels ODR-1.
 

dlew919

Country Gent
Jul 18, 2016
1,202
Sydney, Australia
I always knew that boss pedals gave you plenty - turning them all the way up (the drive ones) gave you too much. But you wind them back and they’re great. I found winding a bd2 right back gave a great boost and manipulating how hard you strummed and the volume on the guitar gave drive and grunt.

Now I want an SD-1. Lol
 

Robbie

Friend of Fred
Jun 17, 2013
5,838
Sarnia Ontario Canada
I always knew that boss pedals gave you plenty - turning them all the way up (the drive ones) gave you too much. But you wind them back and they’re great. I found winding a bd2 right back gave a great boost and manipulating how hard you strummed and the volume on the guitar gave drive and grunt.

Now I want an SD-1. Lol
I liked my old BD2 a lot. It is one of the ODs I sold a long time ago. I sold it and my TS9 to the same person. Wish I hadn’t Sold the BD2.
 
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Robbie

Friend of Fred
Jun 17, 2013
5,838
Sarnia Ontario Canada
Some years ago, I heard an interview with a professional beer taster. Her job was to help breweries to keep their product on track. At the end of the interview, they asked he to name some beers she felt tasted good. She mentioned several relatively obscure beers from micro breweries, and then mentioned Budweiser. Bud, that you can buy almost anywhere, was considered, in her opinion, an excellent beer.

I see the SD-1 somewhat the same. It’s one of the least expensive pedals Boss makes, and one of the oldest designs, but it sounds pretty good, to many people. It’s a soft clipper, much like a Tube Screamer, but it uses asymmetric clipping, and perhaps doesn’t have the pronounced midrange hump in the EQ, that a Tube Screamer has, although it does have a strong midrange.

I find that I like it with the drive fairly low, and volume set to just a slight boost. It isn’t quite Larry Carlton territory, but it’s close enough For many situations.

I will mention that if you want a bit stronger overdrive, the Boss OS-2 is another low-cost choice and for a more transparent, the Nobels ODR-1.
I agree completely with the analogy.
The drive level on the SD1 seldom, if ever, makes it past 9:00 O’Clock.
I’m embarrassed to admit this but one of the ODs I liked playing with the most was the Danelectro Cool Cat V2 Transparent OD. It was fun and I still have it.
 


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