BOSS DS-1 Distortion Guitar Pedal Review (May 2024)


Last updated on May 30, 2024 2:54 am Details


In this review post we’re going to be discussing the BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal (DS-1), including an overview of its unique features.

Product Description

In the world of guitar effects, the DS-1 Distortion is a true legend. BOSS’s first distortion pedal, introduced in 1978, defined a daring new sound, giving hard-edged attack and silky sustain that has been a staple of musicians for generations. The DS-1 is the best-selling BOSS small pedal of all time, and its original, unmodified design continues to inspire musicians around the world to make beautiful music. The legendary DS-1 tone is responsible for the signature sounds of many rock icons, and it’s ready to spark your own signature sound right now.

Most distortion pedals prior to the DS-1 generated harsh, buzzy tones and muddy sound at high volume settings. BOSS engineers changed all of that in 1978 when they created a unique distortion circuit for the DS-1 that delivers tight, hard-edged gain with rich harmonics while keeping the distinct qualities of various guitars and playing approaches. In the 1970s and 1980s, hard rock, metal, and punk styles began to develop, and the DS-1’s tone had a defining influence on these genres. That tendency has continued through numerous generations, and players all around the world are still looking for the classic DS-1 sound.

Many diverse sound colors can be coaxed from the DS-1 via its simple three-knob interface. Its innovative two-stage circuit includes transistor and op-amp gain stages. This approach is key to the DS-1’s signature low-frequency richness, which is beloved by guitarists that perform heavy music. The distortion knob has a very broad range, ranging from a slight boost for driving amps and pedals to full-throttle gain for monster rock riffs.

Unlike traditional tone controls, which only reduce highs, the DS-1’s tone circuit has a novel design that provides significantly more range. Turning the knob clockwise raises the highs and lowers the lows, while turning it counter-clockwise has the reverse effect. This gives you the ability to dial in everything from tight, cutting rhythm sounds to smooth, big lead voices. The tone control is especially useful for keeping low-end definition when using the DS-1 as a booster with vintage-style amps, which can sound muddy when powered by other distortion pedals.

Product Features

  • Legendary distortion used by guitarists everywhere since 1978
  • Classic tones for all types of music
  • Hard-edged attack remains clear even at maximum distortion settings, ideal for heavy rhythms and cutting solos
  • Works great as a booster at low distortion settings
  • Unique tone control offers a wide range of sound shaping
  • Faithfully reproduces all the subtle nuances of the dynamics at any volume
  • Doesn’t mask the unique sound characteristics of different guitars, pickups, and styles
  • Turning down the guitar’s volume cleans up the tone without introducing muddiness
  • Controls: Level, Distortion & Tone
  • Connections: Input and output
  • Current consumption: 4 mA
  • BOSS five-year warranty

Pros & Cons


  • Highly reputable company
  • Great sound
  • Affordable price
  • Perfect size for portability
  • Adds a nice thickness to tone
  • 5-year warranty


  • Rather heavy for a little pedal

BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal, Single Mode (DS-1) Demo

Our Verdict

This pedal is well worth the money when you consider all of its features. You can’t go wrong with this one because of its age and repute.

It produces excellent tone over a wide variety of frequencies. It’s no surprise, then, that a large number of guitarists utilize the pedal. This is one of the world’s most popular distortion pedals.

Although there are many newer, better-sounding pedals on the market these days, I still think the Boss DS-1 is a fantastic option. First and foremost, when it comes to distortion sound, its sound is still a benchmark.

Where to Buy

The best place to buy this product has to be Amazon, due to their competitive pricing and fantastic customer service.

BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal, Single Mode (DS-1)

as of April 30, 2024 4:57 pm

Pricing History

Price History for BOSS Distortion Guitar Pedal, Single Mode (DS-1)


Current Price $58.99 April 30, 2024
Highest Price $62.99 September 25, 2023
Lowest Price $58.99 October 10, 2023
Since September 25, 2023

Last price changes

$58.99 October 10, 2023
$59.99 October 5, 2023
$62.99 September 25, 2023

Last updated on April 30, 2024 4:57 pm

Buyers Guides This Product Is Featured In

Additional information

Item Weight

1.1 pounds

Product Dimensions

6 x 4 x 6 inches

Country of Origin


Item model number



1 9V batteries required. (included)

Is Discontinued By Manufacturer


Date First Available

July 19, 2004

Color Name



Single Mode

Battery type



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