5 Fun Facts About the BOSS DS-1

The BOSS DS-1 Distortion pedal. It was built in 1978 and is admired and love by many. I've had this one in my collection for about two years now and it is absolutely golden. It's inexpensive. It's iconic. And, it is a great addition to any board or pedal collection.

So with all that said, let's go ahead and jump into 5 fun facts about it.

The First Distortion Pedal

Obviously, the brand name of BOSS is one we are all familiar with as guitar players and pedal fans. The BOSS brand is simply synonymous with our industry and space so it is a fun to note that the DS-1 was BOSS's first step into the world of distortion. That fact alone makes this pedal incredibly iconic.


BOSS's entry point into distortion pedals via the DS-1 happened in 1978. That's an easy date for me to remember since it is actually the year I was born. Speaking of dates...

1994 & 2000

There are two significant years worth noting since they are the two years in which signicatn changes were made to the DS-1. The first was in 1994 when BOSS added an ROHM (roam) op-amp to replace the Toshiba IC (integrated circuit). The result ended up creating a cleaner distortion. The next big change came in 2000 when BOSS introduced a Mitsubishi op-amp which created some 'fizz' at higher levels creating some of the current criticism the pedal receives today. On that note, let's talk about the two related places of production.

Japan and Taiwan

In DS-1 circles, you are going to find a lot of debate between the Made in Japan and Made in Taiwan options. The made in Japan option is considered the first or more vintage of the two and definitely the more sought out model but the differences are minor. Some will argue the MIJ is a bit warmer or even a slightly darker low end.


If you study the DS-1's impact on our music, you'l quickly discover that 1. it has been utilized by some of the greats like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Kurt Cobain who really put it on the map and 2. it influenced a lot of the other famous BOSS pedals that followed including the BOSS DS-2 Turbo Distortion which is used by guitar players like John Frusciante and the HM-2 which has it's own cult following in the heavy metal space.


So there you have it. 5 fun facts about the DS-1. This pedal is a ton of fun to play and pro tip - turn everything up to about 5 and you'll be having some fun. If you enjoyed this video please subscribe and like, and I'll catch you in the next one.

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