Search our collections

BOSS Guitar Pedals: History

BOSS has a long and storied history. It all started back in 1973. When the Roland Corporation introduced the compact pedal series.

The company started to manufacture all kinds of professional equipment for musicians. Such as effects pedals, tuners, amplifiers, processors, metronomes, and many more. BOSS supplies its equipment through over 400 authorized dealers worldwide. They also operate its own stores in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Tokyo. 

The small pedals are popular in part. Because they offered musicians a reliable and convenient alternative. About carrying around heavy mixers and multi-instrument effects boxes. As more players gravitated toward the BOSS effect pedal line, demand for the company's instruments grew.

a man wearing brown jacket playing a guitar

Who is BOSS?

Founded in 1973, BOSS is one of the most revered and respected musical instrument manufacturers on the planet. In 1975 there was a huge demand for effects pedals for electric guitars and basses due to the popularity of electronic music. 

The compact pedal was a single-function analog effects pedal. This was smaller than typical guitar effect boxes. These pedals became standard fare during live performances, due to their small size. Also, with their ability to deliver high-quality sound at reasonable volume levels.

What products does BOSS produce?

Let's get this one out of the way before we get into the meat of things. What products does BOSS produce? If you're already familiar with BOSS, then this part is easy. BOSS produces keyboards, pedals, and various other instruments. Their goal is simple: to provide quality instruments at a reasonable price. You could say they are the Fender of electronic instruments.

Below is the list of their product categories which come with various variations:

What are Guitar Pedals?

What are guitar pedals? Or more technically, what is a guitar effects pedal? The simplest answer to this question is this. That it’s an effects unit designed to attach to a guitar. Thereby providing the guitarist with extra tone-shaping capabilities. You cannot call any device a guitar effects pedal. In fact, there are a number of features that ought to be included in order for the amp to be able to truly considered as such.

Guitar effects pedals come in two main varieties: multi-effects and individual pedals. Multi-effects pedals are ideal for beginners and professionals. As the signal does not get degraded the more you place your effects. Aboard a multi-effects pedal, you have all your controls in front of you. So it’s easy to tweak each effect to achieve the desired sound. Of course, that doesn’t mean individual pedals aren’t useful. It just means they might need some extra effort.

Who is Roland Corporation?

Roland Corporation is a worldwide innovator of products and services for musicians. The company was originally founded in 1972 and released its first product in 1974: the HC-2 high-fidelity cassette tape deck. Early on, Roland became a leading manufacturer of musical instruments and professional recording devices. As the digital era dawned, the company's innovative spirit led to new types of instruments. Such as keyboards, synthesizers, digital pianos, or rhythm machines. And other cutting-edge instruments for professionals and hobbyists. In 1984, Roland began making digital multi-effects units for guitarists (BOSS's revolutionary AD/DA converter DA-20 made history by being the world's first BCD processor).

Relationship behind Roland and BOSS Corporation

We know Roland is connected to many legendary musicians. But what about the legendary connection between Roland and BOSS Corporation? How does Roland and BOSS Corporation come to understand each other so well? That's a great question! The folks at Roland have their eyes and ears everywhere for you, the musician. From professional artists to casual consumers, no one knows more about what it takes to make your musical experience easier, more seamless, and most importantly: better.

BOSS is one powerful company. Their Roland Corporation division is known as a trusted name in the music industry. It's also known that BOSS developed the legendary BOSS Chorus and Flanger pedals. Considering their products are used by everyone from beginners to touring professionals. Their legendary status should be well deserved.

BOSS guitar pedals in a store

BOSS Guitar Pedal: History and Timeline

The history and timeline of BOSS pedals are interesting. One of the most legendary companies in the world, BOSS is one of the most trusted brands in guitar pedals. They were one of the first companies to have a compact guitar pedal. Also, they have done some incredible things over the years with innovation. Their timeline has also branched out into other areas. Including recording products, amplifiers, multi-effects processors, wireless systems, and more.


In the late 60s, there were a few breakthroughs in semiconductor technology that would propel the music and electronics industries forward. We were in the middle of an electronics boom, and transistors were seemingly everywhere.

Some of the biggest names in music were becoming popular and rock was born. Some extremely important inventions were created.

Early 1970s

Modern guitar pedals or stompboxes have their early roots in the seventies. Before this time, pedals (known as effects) were either built into the amplifier or the guitarist would rely on the PA system. This would provide them with reverb and echo during playing.  During the seventies, these effects became available in individual effects boxes with controls for volume and mix. These first guitar pedals also featured a controllable wah-wah function which remains popular. It was also during this decade that chip technology developments allowed manufacturers to create digital delay units to simulate an echo effect.

Founded in 1973, BOSS is one of their distortion and overdrive pedals. Yet, it is its modulation and delay effects that have become classics within the industry. Not just for electric guitarists, BOSS is used within both acoustic and bass guitar lines as well. So, say nothing of their legacy in the electric guitar pedals on the market!


The timeline of BOSS Pedals starts in 1977. With the release of one of the most popular guitar processors available on the market. 

Their first pedal, the OD-1 Overdrive, came out in 1977. While they've released many more over the years, some of those original “Big" pedals are still available today. Like the Phase Shifter PH-3 and the CM-2 Compressor. 

The release of OD-1 Overdrive was quickly followed by the BOSS CE-2 Chorus Ensemble Pedal in 1979. This development helped to revolutionize guitar playing. While the CE-2 was primitive compared to modern effects. This played a huge role in BOSS’ emergence as a leading manufacturer of stomp boxes.

1980 - 2000

Following the release of the CS-1 in 1978, other industry greats such as the PH-1 Phaser (1981) and BF-1 Flanger (1982) joined it. Helping to change how musicians approached altering their sound.

Other guitar pedals produced by BOSS between 1980 and 2000: Super OverDrive SD-1, Delay DM-2, Equalizer GE-1, Compression Sustainer CS-2, Vibrato VB-2, Octave OC-2, Power Supply & Master Switch PSM-5, Chorus CE-3, Heavy Metal HM-2, Digital Delay DD-2, Delay DM-3, Super Feedbacker & Distortion DF-2, Super Phaser PH-2, Digital Sampler/Delay DSD-2, Turbo OverDrive OD-2, Hi Band Flanger HF-2, Dimension C DC-2, Digital Sampler/Delay DSD-3, Compression Sustainer CS-3, Digital Delay DD3 and Dynamic Filter FT-2.

In 1987, BOSS released the following: BOSS Chorus CE-2B, BOSS Flanger BF-2B, BOSS Equalizer GE-7B, Turbo Distortion DS-2, Limiter LM-2, Digital Reverb RV-2, Noise Suppressor NS-2, Digital Pitch Shifter/Delay PS-2 and Digital Metalizer MZ-2. The majority of the mentioned guitar pedals are still available up to this day. They're being used for commercials, practice, and performing of guitarists. 

On 1988 to 1999 BOSS continued to release guitar pedals that cater to the needs of its users. If you’ll notice, more of these pedals are upgrades from the existing ones. They're destined for more professional players worldwide. These are the guitar pedals released by BOSS from 1988 to 1999: Digital Space-D DC-3, Super Chorus SH-1, Enhancer EH-2, Bass Limiter LM-2B, Tremolo/Pan PN-2, OverDrive/ Distortion OS-2Metal Zone MT-2, Parametric Equalizer PQ-4, Bass Parametric Equalizer PQ-3B, Auto Wah AW-2, Chorus Ensemble CE-5, Line Selector LS-2, Hyper Fuzz FZ-2, Dual OverDrive SD-2, Hyper Metal HM-3, Digital Reverb/Delay RV-3, Digital Pitch Shifter/Delay PS-3, Turbo OverDrive OD-2, Bass OverDrive ODB-3, and Harmonist HR-2.

From 1995 to 1998, one the many famous guitar pedals are born such as the Bass Chorus CEB-3, Bass Limiter Enhancer LMB-3, Bass Equalizer GEB-7, Blues Driver BD-2, Digital Delay DD-5, Power Driver PW-2, Bass Synthesizer SYB-3, Xtortion XT-2, Fuzz FZ-3, Acoustic Simulator AC-2, Tremolo TR-2OverDrive OD-3, Chromatic Tuner TU-2 and Super Shifter PS-3.


The majority of the guitar pedals released in the mentioned years are still available in the market. These are the so-called every guitarist’s must-haves. For they provide more comfort and beautiful playing.

Some of the released guitar pedals during these years are as follows: Phase Shifter PH-3Dynamic Wah AW-3Flanger BF-3, Digital Reverb RV-5, Super Octave OC-3, Acoustic Simulator AC-3, Loop Station RC-2, Metal Core ML-2Fuzz FZ-5, Digital Delay DD-7, Chromatic Tuner TU-3Power Stack ST-2, Tera Echo TE-2, and many more!


2014 turned out to be a great year for BOSS and their guitar pedal fans. It was a record year for the company. Including new product releases which included some crowd-pleasing BOSS classics. From the vintage sound of their classic guitar pedals to the consistent quality of the Waza series. It seems that BOSS has got it going on in 2014.

Their latest invention is part of a 20th-anniversary celebration of their popular Waza Craft series pedals. It is an incredible hybrid pedal with far more than meets the eye. The BOSS Waza Craft Series includes modern updates to classic pedals and are sure to revitalize your sound.

Aside from the Waza craft series, BOSS also started releasing their X series in 2014.


BOSS the Japanese Guitar Pedal brand is over 45 years old, a leader in the guitar pedal industry for years. Their latest line of 500 series pedals have been released in 2017. It includes digital presets, and programmable memory settings for effects. Such as Overdrive and Distortion.


Throughout the 80s, mass production techniques made BOSS one of the biggest and most recognized pedal companies in the world. For BOSS to continually provide every guitarist’s needs when it comes to guitar pedals. They stop the production of the twin format 20 series pedals. 

However, this doesn’t alarm every BOSS fan for they released the upgraded version of these pedals which are the 200 series. These are supposedly more compact pedals than ever before. But at least it sounds like they've replaced some of that size with an acoustic chamber for better sound quality.

a lady playing guitar in a park

Where does the BOSS produce the guitar pedals?

Over the past several decades, BOSS has built a reputation for making some of the best guitar effects pedals in the industry. The BOSS’s pedals are legendary and are used by stars from all over the world. But where do these pedals come from?

Here are the locations where many BOSS products are manufactured: Japan, Taiwan, and even Malaysia. These are the exact places that make up the countries of the Pacific Rim. While BOSS began producing their products outside of Japan. It's important to note that the majority of its current guitar effects pedals are still manufactured in Malaysia.

Every pedal that comes off the line is tested. They undergo quality checks by an individual employee before being sealed and boxed. Ensuring that it is ready to ship out to customers around the world.

BOSS Guitar Pedal History: Conclusion

As you will have gleaned from the material in our history of BOSS pedals, the story reflects a remarkable expert in this field. BOSS pedals are not just simple number-counting devices. They constitute a complex mechanism with powerful backing. Behind each pedal, there is the whole experience of a company that has been at it for over thirty years. They stand ready to listen to any customer's needs and suggestions.

Want to Learn More About BOSS Guitar Pedals?