The Boss SD-1 (which somehow stands for Super Overdrive instead of Super Drive?) is a classic overdrive and boost pedal and one of the best overdrive pedals. While it isn’t the most versatile pedal in the world, you will certainly see it on a lot of famous pedalboards. That’s because while it doesn’t claim to do much, it delivers on everything it promises.
Clean overdrive sound – While the SD-1 is probably best used as a signal boost, the Drive capability isn’t half-bad. It will still give you a warm crunch that works great for rock or blues.
- Level – If you’re using the SD-1 as a boost, this knob is what you should focus on. Turn the others down and let this one boost your signal as much or as little as you need.
- Tone – This knob affects how the SD-1’s overdrive effect sounds. When it’s dimed, it accentuates the high end, which works great for solos that need to stand out. When turned down, it gives your tone a slightly darker crunch that is good for rhythm playing.
- Drive – Choose how much of the overdrive “dirt” is thrown on your incoming signal. Crank it to put some growl in your sound, or turn it slightly above its lowest setting for a gentle purr.
Power – Uses one 9V battery or a Boss DC 9V power jack.
Large footswitch – Thankfully, Boss decided that a tiny knob that is impossible to hit on the first try in a dark venue was not the most user-friendly way to go. The foot switch on this pedal, along with most Boss pedals, takes up roughly half the pedal. Stomp hard and and don’t worry about aiming too carefully.
Great signal booster – This is probably the best way to use this pedal. Its relative cheapness and size make it an easy way to get your tone through almost any amount of effects you have in a chain. A popular and effective use of this pedal is using two of them in a row on your chain. Double up with an extra SD-1 and you can really get some high gain out of your tube amp.
Price – The SD-1 runs about fifty dollars new, and twenty to thirty used. That’s about as cheap as it gets for a workhorse booster pedal.
Size – Seeing as this pedal doesn’t do all that much besides boost your signal and maybe add some overdrive coloring to your tone, it’s a good thing that it doesn’t take up too much pedalboard space. For being an overdrive, it also doesn’t take too much electricity to power it.
No true bypass – The out-of-the-box version of this pedal doesn’t feature true bypass. If you’re switching this pedal on and off a lot in your set, look into getting a true bypass mod so you don’t color your tone in an unwanted way when this pedal is disengaged.
Simplicity – Don’t expect a ton of bells and whistles out of this pedal, because it doesn’t have them. It’s inexpensive, and you get what you pay for – a simple, straightforward boost.
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