The Boss Pedal Power Story
Dolphin Music on Mar 13, 2012
In The Beginning
From its humble beginnings over 35 years ago back in 1977, BOSS has built the best pedals by adhering to these key principles:
- Reliable and tough aluminum die cast bodies.
- Pedal switches that withstand the 1,000,000+ repetition durability test.
- FET switches to eliminate the clicking noise of conventional mechanical switches.
- Non-slip rubber bases.
- Easy-to-install battery compartments.
- LED indicators.
- Battery and AC power.
The famous compact pedal line-up began with the classic OD-1 Overdrive which is now in its 3rd incarnation as the BOSS OD-3 Overdrive. This pedal has not changed in anyway since then and has firmly established the design for all other BOSS effects pedals that followed. It’s a massive affirmation to BOSS that this design has lasted well over 30 years, with the same metal chassis, rubber foot, recessed knobs and FET switching - all mentioned in the video - are all to be found on the huge range of BOSS pedals now available to this day.
A Brief History of Design
In 1977 BOSS released three pedals. An Overdrive Pedal (OD-1), a Phaser Pedal (PH-1) and a Parametric Equalizer called the Spectrum (SP-1). The BOSS DS-1 was released the next year, in 1978. Also released in that year was the T Wah (TW-1) pedal.
Their first compact Chorus Pedal (CE-2) soon followed in 1979, and their first Flanger Pedal (BF-2) shortly thereafter in 1980. Their modern day counterparts have been improved on in every way possible with the BOSS CE-5 Chorus and the BOSS BF 3 Flanger but again the basic design has never changed and the sound has only gotten better. Check out the BOSS BF-3 Flanger and the CE-5 Chorus Ensembles in these audio clips.
In 1983 BOSS released a world’s first in the DD-2 Digital Delay. This was the first mass-produced digital delay in a compact pedal format and went on to be hailed as a classic. Now BOSS have the DD-3 Digital Delay and DD-7 Digital Delays to fly their flag. The Boss DD-7 Compact Digital Delay Pedal takes all the best features from these predecessors and adds greater creative potential with Modulation Delay mode, classic modeled Analog Delay mode, longer delay times, and much more. As you can see from the image below BOSS have retained the design again on the DD-3 over 10 years later.
This retention of classic design is again apparent when in 1987 BOSS released nine new pedals, including the Turbo Distortion (DS-2) which is still looks the same and is available to this day. In 1991 came the Heavy Metal (HM-2) distortion pedal which became an integral part of many styles of heavy metal music from then until present day.
BOSS has had many “world firsts” during its illustrious 35 year history. Among these highlights have been the first-ever Chorus, Overdrive, Digital Delay, Reverb, and Pitch-Shifter pedals. BOSS has built its reputation by connecting with the guitar fraternity as a whole. They listen and then react to what players demand, while also creating new designs and sounds to bring each new pedal firmly into this century, giving the user exactly what they didn’t know they needed yet. It’s this future forsight that has helped BOSS sell well over 10,000,000 pedals worldwide and shape the sound of some of the best and biggest songs in modern times.
The modern day BOSS introduced COSM (Composite Object Sound Modeling), which is Roland’s proprietary version of digital modeling technology, into their AC-3 Acoustic Simulator pedal back in 2006. BOSS has since released several pedals using COSM, including the FBM-1 ‘59 Fender Bassman Pedal and FDR-1 ‘65 Fender Deluxe Reverb Pedal in conjunction with Fender USA. Taking all the best bits from Fender’s Classic Amps and squeezing it into a classic stomp box.
All BOSS compact pedals use a “buffered bypass” type of silent foot switching utilizing Field Effect Transistors (FETs) to avoid clicks and pops. While not “true” bypass, the buffered bypass has the advantage of preventing signal loss due to long runs of cable, while keeping original guitar tone intact. Only the very best components and circuitry are used in BOSS pedals. No corners are cut, no compromises are made — these pedals are built to sound great and take a pounding.
The Future is BOSS
As the company look to the future they have again become the leading light in the world of effects pedals and modeling. The RC Loop Station Range is set to become an instant classic. The addition of the RC-3 Looper Pedal into the compact range will no doubt be re born in years to come in another guise and BOSS will be leading the way.
It’s by no means an accident that Boss has become the world’s leading effects manufacturer and they will always continue to reinvent themselves successfully.