Boss DS-1 Distortion

DS-1 Distortion (Boss)

This can be considered a modern classic: it has been on sale since 1978, and while the circuitry has changed in time, the sound has more or less remained the same.

The stock DS-1 isn’t my personal favourite, I find the sound too thin and metallic for my taste, but the interaction with the amp is very important for this pedal (or any overdrive, anyway) so it would be best to try one with your setup to see if you like the sound.

Some great artists have supposedly used this pedal or modified versions: Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Frusciante and John Petrucci. The pedal has a very reasonable price and can be easily found, new or used.

The circuitry lends itself to very interesting mods, and several schematics, kits or already modified pedals for people not used to soldering are available around the web.

Here are some of the links for DS-1 mods, in random order:

Analog Man

Robert Keeley


And here is the Roland-Boss page:

Owner’s manual, samples and info from Roland

Article on a DS-1 mod by Brian Wampler

Artists using the DS-1 on Guitar Geek site

A nice demo on YouTube

Another nice demo on YouTube

Another nice test on YouTube