Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal Review

Our Boss DS-1 Review

The world's best selling distortion pedal is the Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal. It is a staple on the pedalboards of many guitar players and can be heard on some of the most emblematic rock records of all time. Players like Steve Vai, Kurt Cobain, Joe Satriani, and many others have relied on the DS-1 Boss to give them the tone they need.

It is a designed, robust distortion pedal with a rubber stamp pad that is enclosed in metal. The range of tone and level that will help you shape your sound to what you need is provided by three knob controls. It is one of the best distortion pedals you can find all-around.


  • Easy architecture
  • Robust metal casing
  • Knobs of stage, pitch, and distortion
  • • Connection to AC power
  • 9-volt ready battery
  • • Compatible pedalboard
  • Versatile tone Versatile sound


For several guitar players through the decades, the Boss DS-1 distortion pedal is a go-to. There is an incredibly high chance that if a guitar player doesn't own one, they've come across one at a friend's house or seen one sitting on the pedalboard of any of their favorite guitar players. With longevity and simplicity in mind, it is a workhorse. For almost every ensemble, it fits well, adding to the mix a bit of grit and fuzz.

It has a simple structure. With the DS-1, there is no learning curve. The flexibility you're looking for is provided by just three knobs for your level, sound, and distortion. To put it plainly, it helps you to select the volume of the pedal, the tone's "openness" and how much dirt you have on the go.

The tone also has a little bit of variety to it. You can take it from a smooth, slashing sound to a rough and gritty sludge-metal style that would stand out from a mix. Whether it is for a high-octane solo or a crunchy back end, it will give you the kick you need.

When switched up past 50 percent on the distortion knob, the sound takes on a little bit of a fuzz likeness. It was the distortion sound used by Nirvana in the song 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'

The DS-1 Boss is a tough, rugged pedal that can take a lot of kicks. With a non-slip rubber pad, it has a metal casing that can withstand a lot of over-excited stomps. It is meant to be able to withstand years of on and off stage violence. Boss knows for guitarists how much wear and tear pedals carry on. They made sure the DS-1 was able to withstand the violence.

Often, it is incredibly cheap. It could be one of the most inexpensive guitar pedals that you can find. That may be a factor contributing to why so many guitar players have relied on their dirt on this pedal. With so many specialized pedals going for many hundreds of dollars, knowing that you don't have to empty your wallet to get a reliable, snarling guitar tone is a sigh of relief.

It needs a 9-volt battery, but it also has a pedalboard input for an AC adapter. To keep your signal safe, the Boss DS-1 has a line in and a line out, with low impedance on a pedalboard chain. It weighs just 15oz and measures roughly 3x5.


+ Flexible sound, versatile
+ Durable and robust building
+ Basic interface
+ Inexpensive
+ Strong for tones in lead and rhythm


- Not a crazy high tonal flexibility range
- You're not going to have a super original sound,

Why We Like It

You get one of the most familiar tones in music history with the Boss DS-1. Knowing that the same sounds you've heard from bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Steve Vai can be closely emulated, gives you the acumen you need to start tearing off the fretboard for hours.

It has a crunchy, dirty sound that can achieve high-end cutting frequencies while, if necessary, also blending into the background. It doesn't take long to figure out to your benefit how to work this pedal. For you to work with, it just comes with a few knobs and helps you to easily find your sound.

It is tough enough to handle whatever on a pedalboard is thrown its way. It's reliably strong and durable, so you can stomp away song after song without worrying about causing any unnecessary harm to this pedal.

With this pedal, affordability is a big plus as well. It doesn't cost as much as other rival pedals and yet offers a distortion pedal with the amount of flexibility and grit you want.

This could be one of the best purchases of distortion pedals that you can make. For many great guitar players, it has been a favorite over the years and never disappoints. For a starter distortion pedal, it works well or adds an additional bit of meat to an existing pedalboard.