Older Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedals

Some of these old Boss DS-1 distortion pedal units were made in Japan and some were made in Taiwan. The ones made in Japan in the mid 1980’s have the black label on the back of the unit and these will have six digit serial numbers to help identify them as being from this time period.

The Boss guitar pedals made in Japan are more sought after by collectors and many guitar players believe that this version of the DS-1 has a better sound. Finding one of these vintage guitar pedals still in the box with the instruction manual is rare but it is still possible. However they will likely be more costly to acquire do to this.

When testing the older pedal vs. a newer one, we used a clean setting on a black face Fender Deluxe amp so we could really focus on the way that the DS-1 would sound as the sole source of overdrive. We used other settings on the amplifier but this way made the most notable difference from the clean setting. The nuances of the pedal (made in Japan in 1984), were true to the reputation of this Boss distortion pedal meaning that the pick clarity was really “tight” sounding. The thing to keep in mind with this pedal is that it is not at all a fuzzy sounding distortion as it produces more of a “sharp” sound.

There is a distortion control knob on the unit which lets you select a light or a heavy amount of the distorted effect. Overall this lets you create a well balanced tone which gives you more than just an over driven sound. The tone control additionally serves as a way to adjust the higher frequencies and the DS-1 pedal has a nice range from lowered to high when adjusting this knob.