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077 | BOSS DS-2: A Closer Look at this Turbo Distortion Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to Episode 77 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion we have the Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion. This podcast is dedicated to covering pedals that have changed the music landscape, and this one definitely fits the bill.

Hey everybody Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals here with you today. Hope you are having an amazing one. Well, today we are super pumped because we're talking about the Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion. Just speaking for my side of things, I absolutely adore this pedal. And I know I'm personally excited here to share kind of my two cents on it. But yeah, I love this pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I hadn't really tried this one. But after you kind of told me about it, I looked into it a little bit more. And yeah, it's really interesting. I get the feeling that JHS may have gotten the whole red remote idea from this guy.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it's been around long enough to mimic or copy it. So for those of you not familiar with the Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion, it's really kind of maybe the brother or the cousin of the DS-1. It definitely has DS-1 as part of its roots. And we'll, we'll explain that here in a minute.

But this pedal has a rich history. It released in 1987. And it's very similar to the DS-1, as we just talked about, but it's got an extra turbo setting which provides a sharper mid-range tone, which makes it truly its own thing. So making it the Boss DS-2 as compared to the Boss DS-1.

So if you come from the world of DS-1 pedals, and you love the DS-1, and you want to kind of maybe upgrade or take it up a notch, then this is a great option. Because you kind of get two pedals in one. So you kind of have the option to tap into that DS-1 sort of tone. But then by essentially flipping the switch, you can get into that turbo setting, and kind of take advantage of the DS-2 type world or environment that it provides.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, having those options is really great. I will say, I would not put this pedal on your board if you have any intention of wanting like a softer overdrive. It kind of does a lot and then a lot more, if that makes any sense. So it does high gain and then higher gain.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. So I know for me personally, I've got other overdrive and distortion options that I go to for my normal playing. But for those specific songs that I just really want that extra bit of punch, I typically run this thing in turbo mode to take advantage more of the DS2 version of it, rather than the DS1 version of it. And yeah, for those specific songs, it fits gloriously into the mix on those. But again, you've got to have a specific intention for it, for it to really jive or work for you.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, the first time I played this, my first thought was like, "Oh, this kind of sounds like Kurt Cobain when he used the DOD Grunge kind of thing." It kind of has a lot of those characteristics. So it might be good if that's the kind of thing that you're playing, or if it's 80s metal, or something like that.

Scott Schwertly:
Exactly. And speaking of Kurt Cobain, for those familiar with Nirvana, and Kurt Cobain, and all that, I mean, he was famous for using the DS-1 for most of the recordings, specifically, if you think about albums like Bleach and Nevermind. But there've been a few photos that have captured seeing a DS- Turbo Distortion on his board.

So from what I've found online, it looks like Kurt used the DS-1 for mainly most of the studio recordings. But when on tour, he actually had... He was running a DS-2. So again, lots of rich history behind this pedal. Obviously it's used by some of the greats, obviously including musicians like Kurt Cobain.

And just a side note, too, while I was researching this pedal, it kind of got me going down a Kurt Cobain DS-1 rabbit trail. But this is crazy. The Boss DS1 that Kurt Cobain had during their tour in 1991, it was actually sold last year in June, Summer of 2020, at Julian's. And it sold for almost $9,000, so $8960.

Eric Wilson:
Geez.

Scott Schwertly:
So the DS-1... I have a DS-1, and I think I got it for like 50 bucks on Amazon. No real different than... I mean, it's not dramatically different than what Kurt was running in the nineties. But to have that pedal sell for nine grand, that's insane. But yeah, total side note, since we're talking about DS-1s and DS-2s here.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, wow. That's crazy.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, and again, building off this whole Nirvana thing, so if you're a fan of Nirvana, you probably love the Foo Fighters. So even people like Pat Smear of the Foo Fighters, he uses the DS-2. Obviously Prince was a huge fan of Boss pedals, so not a shocker here, he also used the DS-2. Rivers Cuomo of Weezer uses the DS-2.

And the whole reason I bought the DS-2, for those that follow this podcast, I've made it very clear I love John Frusciante. He uses the DS-2. And again, where I... Actually, the song that I was playing that required the DS-2 was Dani California. So particularly that solo, you can see the DS-2 really, really shine in that ending solo, near the end of that song. And then also really any other John Frusciante song, any Chili Pepper song, if you hear distortion, you're probably hearing the DS-2.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, definitely. Well, and I think... When you started saying that, I started just looking up different people who would kind of use that. And it was really no surprise to me that Prince was seen using this quite a bit. So that, honestly, it doesn't surprise me at all because it feels like it fits that kind of tone perfectly. But yeah, so if you're going for the Prince thing, the DS2 might be for you.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it fits that Prince tone really, really well. And one special thing to note about this pedal, I'm just speaking from my own personal experience with it, is it's not necessarily my go-to. I do find it probably overly aggressive. So it's not my go-to when I'm looking for distortion, but for those specific moments, for those specific parts, it does fit magically when it's called for.

But for some of you out there, it may be your go-to. I mean, this may be your end all, be all when it comes to distortion. Again, my personal experience with it is it's not the pedal that I always have on. But for those little moments where you want something to really just stand out, it's perfect for those scenarios.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, definitely. And similar to its predecessor, the DS1, well, it has four knobs, which is one more than the DS1. But the only one that's added is you have level, tone, distortion, and then you have the added turbo knob, which controls between one and two, which can also be controlled by a foot switch. So yeah, really simple controls. Your typical Boss footprint with that remote input that you can use an external foot switch to activate. And yeah, pretty simple pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, and again, it's like two pedals in one. So if you're in that warm setting or... In that warm setting. If you're on setting number one with the turbo knob, you're going to get a warmer, more mellow type of distortion. As soon as you put it into two, you're kind of activating... Which is the whole reason it's called the DS2. In two, you're going to get more of that biting distortion. You're going to get that mid-range boost that we talked about earlier. And that is what makes it perfect for any sort of lead work.

So yeah, anything else, Eric, you'd like to share about this one before we jump into a demo?

Eric Wilson:
No, I think we'll go ahead and go to the demo. I'm going to go ahead and use the Les Paul for this one, and then into the Iridium.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect, so we're going to get the setup guys, and we'll see you on the other side.

Scott Schwertly:
(silence)

Eric Wilson:
All right, that's the Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion. Gets kind of all the 90s grunge and 80s tones that you could ever want.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, this thing's insane. I absolutely love it. If you guys are looking to pick one up, you can get one brand new for about a hundred bucks. I think I got mine used for maybe around 60 or so. You can find them all over the place. Pretty easy to pick one up, whether it's Facebook Marketplace, Reverb, et cetera, wherever you shop. Yeah, if that's the tone you're going for, you definitely will not be disappointed.

All right, well there you have it guys. That is the Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion. Join us next time. We're actually going to be talking about a looper pedal. In fact, I don't believe we've actually talked about a looper pedal yet on this podcast. So, specifically, we're going to be talking about the Electro-Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper. I've had this for probably the last maybe month or two. And yeah, I've enjoyed it thoroughly. It definitely has not disappointed. So excited to talk about this one in the next episode.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, that'll be good. I always love having a looper around. And it just makes coming up with different ideas a lot easier when you don't have to open up Logic.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, yeah. That that's for sure. So, well, good deal. Well, I'm excited to talk about it. Until then guys, have a great day, have a great week, and we will catch you in the next one.

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