Reviews - Boss SD-1

Boss SD-1

Boss has been producing an extensive (and ever expanding) range of pedals for many years and they have established themselves as a favoured choice of guitarists all around the world.

The sturdy box common to all Boss pedals is one of the neatest designs there is, being compact, stomp-proof with a silent, positive footswitch and an easy to access battery compartment. The pedal has in and out jacks on the right and left sides and 9v AC input on the top if you want to avoid battery hassle. An LED shows whether the effect is on or off and the knobs are recessed behind the footswitch to avoid damage or accidental adjustment.

The Super Overdrive is designed to reproduce the sound of a valve amp at full volume and features level, tone and drive knobs. The level control enables you to balance the volume between effect and bypass modes (the bypass doesn't seem to alter the natural sound of the amp much) or you can dial in a level boost if required.

The drive knob controls the amount of overdrive from virtually none through to quite a lot and the tone control affects the treble content of the effected signal.

I set the SD-1 up in front of a 50 watt 1973 Marshall JMP 50 head into a 2x12 cabinet. This Marshall has a great clean tone but no distortion channel (being an early non master volume head you have to crank it right up to get it to overdrive). With the amp set bright and clean for Eric Johnson style chords, I kicked in the SD-1 and rolled the treble almost right off, with the drive right up and adjusted the level slightly back from the centre to balance it with the clean sound. This produced almost instant Hendrix, smooth thick overdrive with no harshness. Cranking the amp up brings you into early Van Halen territory, with more distortion and a lovely smooth "brown" tone.

Backing off the drive and turning the tone up produces a great Keith Richards sound (you can also acheive this by backing off the guitar volume giving access to three great sounds from one amp). With even less drive and more treble the SD-1 adds subtle break up and "presence" for a great Country-Rock sound.

I really like this pedal as it is good sounding and versatile. Metal guitarists may find there isn't enough distortion available (unless you use it in front of an amp that is already overdriven) but any one looking for more traditional rock, blues or even country tones should check it out.