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June 2017 Giveaway

Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal Reviews

3.5 stars based on 20 customer reviews
Questions about the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal?

Questions about the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

  • Will
    from May 24, 2017Music Background:
    Gigging Guitarist

    Very Underrated, Great for THAT Sound

    The CS-3 is a fantastic compressor and a classic. It unfortunately seems to get some negative reviews which it really doesn't deserve - it does a specific sound and does it well. I currently own the Diamond Comp and JHS Pulp n Peel. Both are amazing and definitely do things the CS-3 can't, but neither comes close to the CS-3 for fat, chimey arpeggios and twangy leads. Darker compressors like the Keeley and the Dyna Comp can get lost in a mix (though both are fantastic.) The CS-3 can be dialed in to be darker, but it really excels at cutting through a dense mix. Overall a great comp and the best in this price range for sure.

  • Don
    from TEXAS November 16, 2015

    just what i was looking for

    this is a great pedal, it will take me awhile to learn how to make it sound the way I want it to but it's great

  • Karl Hance
    from Bangor, Maine March 16, 2015Music Background:

    Highly Versatile

    When I started using my Boss Compression/Sustainer pedal (and after some knob tweaking) I couldn't believe how versatile and useful it is. Makes me wonder how I ever got by without one. Excellent product from Boss as always.

  • WTD
    from San Antonio March 3, 2009Music Background:
    Blues,Gospel R&B

    CS-3 Compression Sustainer

    Great Pedal for Blues & R&B.I use mine with a American Standard Strat thru Fender Twin tube and Peavey Solidstate Trans Tube pratice amp.Good Tone. Great Sustain.

  • Glenn Chicoine
    from Waldron, AR September 18, 2016


    I’ve recently started using and learning this Boss CS-3 Compresssion Sustainer Pedal with an Ovation Custom Legend and a Fender Acoustasonic amp. I’m trying this pedal in church music for “singing out” and sustain in my melodic lines, as well as for variety in the sound of my chording.

    It’s been more than adequate, although an imaginary “infinite sustain” does not occur, of course—and is not claimed to occur—while yet one can dream and eke out sweet spots. No matter: the sustain and the volume increase capabilities of the pedal are really helpful. And the pedal generally is excellent in its response and dialings, though the settings with this equipment remain elusive. That is, it’s difficult to adjust the guitar preamp, the amp, and the pedal for desired and sometimes realized effects.

    As far as the chording: there is a ‘moment of setting’ with this pedal and equipment that is truly marvelous. There is a scintillating evenness that brings forth so many hidden notes and nuances that it is as though you are playing a different instrument. At the that moment you produce a rich candy shower of variegated ethereality.

    'Nuff said?

  • Customer
    from Florida January 14, 2016

    CS-3 Compression Sustainer

    The Boss CS-3 gave me that xtra punch and sustain I was looking for without changing the tone of my Les Paul. Great pedal.

  • John Mihalik
    from Healdsburg,Calikfornia USA August 31, 2013Music Background:

    Clean suppression you can control, endless sustain!

    Great compressor with easy adjustment of level,attack,tone and sustain, this does it all at a super price! I put it to work immediately and it bumped my old pedal off the board!
    It is amazingly versatile and can add depth to your tone that is rich without being muddy. Think of it as a sound enhancer.

  • compLOVE
    from Dayton, OH October 28, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer/Pro Musician

    comp with tone

    I bought this pedal with my first ever guitar amp (a marshall MG series half stack), and several amps and 5 years later I have finally found the settings that do your guitar justice. The key is to work with the attack and sustain knobs to dial in the right kind of compression. When I first bought this pedal, I thought: "WOAH! attack! I want my attack to be all the way up!" of course what I thought attack meant back then does not agree with what I now know attack to be: how fast the harsh transients are hit with compression. So don't turn the attack to "max" because then there will never be time to compress unless it's the last drawn out note of a song. And of course don't turn the attack all the way to minimum because then you get way too much compression and it really cuts down on the output of your amp and palm mutes and quieter picks don't come out whatsoever. And the sustain knob is pretty straightforward. ANOTHER key part is the level knob. I speak from experience that the level knob should be set so that when you turn the pedal off, there is NO change in volume. I had the level on this thing all the way up and it was nothing but horrible noise and hiss coming out of my amp.

    But this review is called "comp with tone" for a reason. I have A/B'ed my guitar tone bypassing and compressed a million times, and I always choose the compressed signal. Just some mid-range bite (my tone knob is in the low mid setting. go figure!) that beefed up my sound, and not to mention, this pedal really does add tremendous amount of sustain to chords. I would give it a 5star rating but the level pot fell off and its just a pain to have to readjust it without the indentation when some band mate has screwed around with my pedals.

    For the price this cannot be beat. But don't take my settings and apply them to your guitar, because unless you have the same setup (koa tele through pedals through BBE 482i through Fender Hot Rod Deluxe with Groove Tubes), this pedal will not work the same for you. You need to set aside a good two hours with this pedal, understand the different settings, and dial in the right kind of compression. And the great thing about this pedal is that it is not a one trick pony: it will work great with all of your amp/guitar situations. I am done rambling.

  • Jay
    from MN. March 31, 2017Music Background:
    Musician since 1964


    I use this pedal on my acoustic guitar for bringing out my leads when we play live. Excellent!

  • Charlie
    from NYC February 16, 2017

    Where have you been all my life?

    After over 40 years of playing guitar I finally bought a Boss Compression Sustainer.
    The CS3 is a great pedal. It evened out my sound and the extra sustain is a dream come true. I ordered this from Sweetwater and as always it arrived here before I expected. I immediately hook the CS 3 to my pedal board and I am blown away by what this pedal does.
    Like I said: "Where have you been all my life?

  • Customer
    from June 6, 2015

    Does exactly what is needed

    It's not the world class compressor you see in studios, but serves its purpose quite well for the $. Mainly good for live situations IMHO, it provides just a little bit of oomph when needed, especially if you use several pedals in your chain that can sometimes take away from your tone just because of the physics of it all. I typically use this pedal right after my distortion or overdrive pedals, or right before I send the signal back to the amp. I typically place this pedal after my distortion or overdrive pedals. Of your amp has a dedicated effects loop, this pedal works best, as the signal is maintained better rather that an inline-before-amp-input where volumes and gain will fluctuate. The steadier The signal, the better it performs in my observation.

    The limiting function is fairly harsh at times especially if you are using a clean channel. The limiting capabilities work better with over-driven or distorted tones, as it can lasso up what can quickly become out-of-control harshness that sometimes plague distorted tones where the sound spectrum of your tone is all over the place, especially at louder volumes. If you play heavy rhythms at loud volumes, this pedal in the limiting setting can tighten up the sound, and can save your speakers from rattling themselves to death.

    If you are looking for a transparent compressor, you will be better off with a higher end boutique pedal. But if you are needing a quick, go-to compressor/sustainer/limiter in your live setup, this pedal will work quite nicely for the price point.

  • Larry
    from Lakeview Ohio July 20, 2013Music Background:

    Very nice and useful pedal.

    Never owned one before, but wish I had. Gives you a warm fat sound and beefs it up. Will own this for a very long time.

  • john b. torchyn
    from bradenton fl. usa September 17, 2011Music Background:
    on and off again pro musician

    boss cs-3 compressor

    rounds out the special leads where you lead a litlle more lenght to your notes, and adds that sweet spot that you need from time to time very effectively!

  • Customer
    from July 24, 2014

    Boss CS-3

    Great pedal. The sustain is great and the attack is great also. Wish I would have bought it sooner.

  • Jack Bigham
    from Northport, AL July 12, 2014Music Background:
    Pro guitarist, 50 yrs

    Acompressor in a pedal

    The CS-3 gives you smooth sustain without changing the original sound. The compression produces a fatter sound with a more even level.

  • J.C. AmericanDeluxeStrat
    from Tazewell,TN March 8, 2011Music Background:
    21 Year Musician

    Theres Better out there

    I purchased this CS-3 hoping to create better sustain in my crunch mix but was not impressed with this effect. The only noticeable effect this pedal created was a volume boost. The attack knob cranked over 50% created a nasty slapping sound when combined with my delay pedal. After having it for months in my pedalboard chain and not using it I decided to replace it. Spend the money get something a little more useful.

  • Gregg Hanpeter
    from Detroit, Michigan US December 26, 2014Music Background:
    Always a student!

    I like and Dislike

    I like this pedal because it does exactly what it is supposed to do and easy to find your threshold.

    The downside for me is important because it sounded poppy to me. I've even tried settings from people that say it made it not as bad but it still drove me crazy.

    I gave it an average rating because of that one issue. Otherwise it worked great.

  • Bryan caruso
    from SUWANEE, GA February 25, 2013Music Background:
    recording/live sound/producer engineer , musician

    sound killer

    if you are very picky about your tone, do not get this pedal. the tone knob on this thing ruins the eq of your normal tone. its horrible. othe than that, it does its job, wish it was more versitile though. if they got rid of that tone knob and made it a ratio knob, this would be a good pedal.
    i love boss pedals. my pedal board is 95% boss pedals. this one is just a major bummer to me. I regret buying it.

  • Richard Richard Lewis
    from United States October 24, 2013Music Background:
    started playing guitar in 1959

    comp pedal from sweets!

    I'm not real happy with the tone of it. My old one was much better. There's not much too it.

    from California November 22, 2010Music Background:

    Ends don't justify the means...

    I've never liked this pedal at all. I've used it when it was the only option, but ended up just turning it off because it never helped my tone more than it hurt it. I found it to be harsh, noisy, and not musical at all. Many guitarists I've talked to share the same sentiment. It just comes across as harsh and uninspiring.

    I've also used a Maxon CP101. It's quieter, and seemingly adds zero tonal coloration. It seemed to be everything I wished the CS-3 would be. But, I chucked that pedal too for a Keeley Compressor. The Keeley is noisy and adds a certain tonal coloration, but that coloration is welcome on my board any day. Both are great alternatives I'd recommend checking into before you go with a CS-3.

Questions about the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal?

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