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BOSS DS-1 Distortion


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The Benchmark in Guitar Distortion
The DS-1 Distortion is a true icon in the world of guitar effects. Introduced in 1978, BOSS's first distortion pedal defined a bold new sound, delivering hard-edged attack and smooth sustain that's been a staple of players for generations. The DS-1 is the top-selling BOSS compact pedal ever, and its original, unchanged design continues to inspire the creation of great music everywhere. The classic DS-1 tone is behind the signature sounds of numerous rock legends, and is ready to fuel your own signature sound today.

  • 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
  • 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

Genre-Defining Distortion
Before the DS-1, most distortion pedals produced harsh, buzzy tones and muddy sound at high gain settings. In 1978, BOSS engineers changed all that by developing a unique distortion circuit for the DS-1 that produces tight, hard-edged gain with rich harmonics while retaining the unique characteristics of different guitars and playing techniques. Hard rock, metal, and punk styles began to flourish in the '70s and '80s, and the DS-1's tone had a defining influence on these genres. That trend has endured through multiple generations, and players around the world continue to seek out the classic DS-1 sound.

Gain from Mild to Heavy
From its modest three-knob interface, many different sound colors can be coaxed from the DS-1. Its pioneering two-stage circuit incorporates both transistor and op-amp gain stages. This approach is critical to the DS-1's characteristic low-frequency fullness, which is loved by guitarists that play heavy music genres. The distortion knob offers an extremely wide range, from a mild boost for driving amps and pedals to full-throttle gain for monster rock riffs.

Powerful Tone Shaping
Unlike typical tone controls that only cut highs, the DS-1's tone circuit features an innovative design that offers far more range. Turning the knob clockwise increases highs and decreases lows, while going counter-clockwise has the opposite effect. This lets you dial in everything from tight, cutting rhythm sounds to smooth, fat lead voices. The tone control is particularly effective for maintaining low-end definition when using the DS-1 as a booster with vintage-style amps, which often sound muddy when driven with other distortion pedals.



1. What is the BOSS DS-1 Distortion pedal?

  • The BOSS DS-1 is a classic distortion pedal that provides rich, dynamic distortion tones. It’s known for its versatility and reliability, making it a favorite among guitarists of all genres.

2. How do I use the BOSS DS-1?

  • Simply connect your guitar to the input jack and your amplifier to the output jack. Use the Tone, Level, and Distortion knobs to adjust the sound to your preference.

3. What kind of power supply does the DS-1 require?

  • The BOSS DS-1 can be powered by a 9V battery or an optional BOSS PSA-series AC adapter.

4. Can the DS-1 be used with other pedals?

  • Yes, the DS-1 works well with other pedals and can be placed in any position in your pedalboard chain, depending on your desired sound.


5. Is the DS-1 suitable for beginners?

  • Absolutely! The DS-1 is user-friendly and provides a great way for beginners to explore different distortion tones.

6. What are the main controls on the DS-1?

  • The DS-1 features three main controls: Tone (adjusts the brightness of the sound), Level (controls the output volume), and Distortion (determines the amount of distortion effect).

7. Is the BOSS DS-1 durable?

  • Yes, BOSS pedals are known for their durability. The DS-1 is built with a sturdy metal chassis, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of live performances and regular use.

8. Can the DS-1 be used with a bass guitar?

  • While the DS-1 is designed primarily for electric guitars, many bass players also use it to achieve unique distortion effects.

9. What makes the DS-1 different from other distortion pedals?

  • The DS-1 is renowned for its consistent performance, wide range of distortion tones, and its ability to maintain clarity even at high gain levels.

10. How can I use the BOSS DS-1 to achieve a classic rock sound?

  • To achieve a classic rock sound, set the Distortion knob to a moderate level, the Tone knob to around the middle position, and adjust the Level knob to match your desired output volume. Experiment with these settings to match the specific tone you're aiming for.

11. What settings should I use on the DS-1 for a heavy metal tone?

  • For a heavy metal tone, turn the Distortion knob up high, set the Tone knob to around 2 o'clock for a brighter, more aggressive sound, and adjust the Level knob to your preference. You may need to tweak your amp settings to complement the pedal.

12. Can the DS-1 be used to boost solos?

  • Yes, the DS-1 can be used to boost solos by increasing the Level knob to raise the output volume while adjusting the Distortion and Tone to enhance the clarity and presence of your solo.

13. How can I use the DS-1 with other pedals for a versatile sound?

  • The DS-1 works well with other pedals. For example, you can place it before a delay pedal to add depth to your distortion or after a compressor to even out your dynamics. Experiment with different positions to find your ideal sound.

14. What are some tips for recording with the DS-1?

  • When recording, consider using the DS-1 with a clean amp setting to capture the pedal's true distortion characteristics. Adjust the Tone and Distortion knobs to suit the mix and use the Level control to ensure a consistent recording level.

15. How do I maintain the clarity of my tone when using high distortion settings on the DS-1?

  • To maintain clarity, start with the Tone knob at a moderate setting and gradually increase the Distortion. If the sound becomes too muddy, slightly reduce the Distortion or increase the Tone knob to add brightness.

16. Can I use the DS-1 for rhythm and lead parts?

  • Yes, the DS-1 is versatile enough for both rhythm and lead parts. For rhythm, use moderate Distortion and Tone settings to ensure clarity. For leads, increase the Distortion and Tone settings to cut through the mix.




  • Nominal Input Level: -20 dBu
  • Input Impedance: 1 M ohm
  • Nominal Output Level: -20 dBu
  • Output Impedance: 1 k ohm
  • Recommended Load Impedance: 10 k ohms or greater
  • Controls: Pedal switch, TONE knob, LEVEL knob, DIST knob
  • Indicator: CHECK indicator (Used for indication of check battery)
  • Connectors: INPUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type, OUTPUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type, DC IN jack
  • Power Supply: Alkaline battery (9 V, 6LR61) or Carbon-zinc battery (9 V, 6F22), AC adaptor (PSA series: sold separately)
  • Current Draw: 10 mA
  • Expected battery life under continuous use: Carbon: Approx. 50 hours, Alkaline: Approx. 80 hours
  • * These figures will vary depending on the actual conditions of use.
  • Accessories: Leaflet ("USING THE UNIT SAFELY," "IMPORTANT NOTES," and "Information"), Carbon-zinc battery (9 V, 6F22)
  • Option (sold separately): AC adaptor (PSA series)

Size & Weight (Incl. Battery)


  • Width: 73 mm, 2-7/8 inches
  • Depth: 129 mm, 5-1/8 inches
  • Height: 59 mm, 2-3/8 inches
  • Weight: 360 g, 13 oz

*0 dBu = 0.775 Vrms
*The specifications are subject to change without notice.


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