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Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal Reviews

4.0 stars based on 31 customer reviews
Questions about the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal?

Questions about the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal?

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  • Drew Pierce
    from Dudley, NC March 10, 2017

    The Secret Ingredient

    If you're like me, you may have messed with this pedal and had mixed feelings initially. I didn't quite know what to make of it but decided I'd hold onto it. I bought a Way Huge Swollen Pickle and was boosting it with another overdrive when I remembered the SD1 sitting in a box. I swapped it in for what I was using and was quite blown away, it compliments the Pickle perfectly, tonally and visually. I can keep the tone bassy and still have it cut through with the SD1 switched on. Even if you aren't happy with this pedal as an overdrive don't knock it, it makes a great upper-mids boost.

  • john roll
    from staten island, NY December 8, 2015

    one of the top 10 and lots of fun

    I give Boss SD 1, 5 stars because its sounds and operates at around $200 + at only $49 bucks.Yea Ive got a few high end pedals like Fulltone, Radial and others collecting dust on my board but my TS 808 that I bought new in 1980 has always ended up the top dog.The SD 1 is not likely to usurp that title BUT lately I find myself more and more tapping it in instead of the TS 808.I keep it right in front of the TS, not to use in conjunction but because its just a little more aggressive in tone, great with humbuckers. The TS 808 is more creamy and with that mid range hump is just classic. The SD 1 is VERY similar and has a sweet spot with the drive at 2 o'clock and the rest at 12 o'clock that the TS can't match. At this price and this quality everybody should squeeze one into that board.Thanks much to Mike Harris for that shipping favor.Love the 59,talk to you soon.

  • Customer
    from May 29, 2015

    Smooth and Creamy

    Wow! I bought this pedal having listened to only a few demos on YouTube. I thought it sounded a bit sub-standard. I was tossing around between this and a Electro-Harmonix Soul Food. But in the end I went for the Super Overdrive and I am really impressed. This pedal is really smooth and very expressive at hi-gain and low gain settings. This is the first Boss pedal I have bought and I am amazed.

  • Damion
    from WICHITA, KS May 16, 2015Music Background:
    Love the electric guitar.

    Great Overdrive Effect

    I saw the 'Tone King" on 'YouTube" do a guitar review, and he said he has had one of these for twenty years. So for fifty dollars, I thought I would try this one out. Well, with my Marshall DSL40C with a speaker upgrade (Vintage 30) this pedal sounds nothing less than studio professional. Very record-able. I lean towards a clean sound with slight breakup, and this does the trick in spades. I have bought twenty pedals so far, and if I could go back, I would have bought this one first. I like it a lot. Enough to leave a review. I do like my reissue tube-screamer, but this Boss SD-1 just has a little more edge off the bat so to say. Or at least it really likes the Classic Gain channel on the Marshall amp. I highly recommend for the nice clean overdrive sound.

  • Ken Grimmett
    from United States April 3, 2015

    Boss SD-1

    This is a great pedal. I use it more now than my DS-1. Great tone and versatility. I now use the DS-1 for the extra boost/drvie.

  • Mark Galloway
    from Oklahoma City, OK January 23, 2015Music Background:
    Professional Musician for forty years.

    Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal

    This is a great pedal. I am using it on my pedalboard in conjunction with my Tube Screamer. I have the drive pretty low, around 9:00. It gives the clean signal a little break up. Sounds like a pushed Fender amp. I then stack the Tube Screamer on top of it for more intense sustain and added gain.

  • Bronsen
    from Erie, PA, USA August 9, 2014Music Background:
    Guitarist/Vocalist, Music Student, Performer

    Simply the best. Ever.

    This pedal is the only overdrive I use. It has literally become a synonymous representation of my lead tone. Probably one of my favorite pedals out of the 11 I use on my board. I keep the drive half way and the level a little more than halfway up and let my amp and guitar do the rest. Also, this thing is sweet paired with a phaser and/or a nice echo. I use my Ibanez DE7 with this thing all the time when I'm improvising. It just sounds natural to me. It's got a solid build it's responds well to a crybaby. I got this pedal for 15 bucks because I just wanted a pedal. Now I wouldn't trade it. If you're into fusion/blues/jazz/rock/funk or anything of the loud but not insanely loud spectrum this will do the trick. Honestly though, I don't think it would be good for metal players. I mean, it would do the trick maybe but it sounds too spread out for the type of distortion I hear with metal players. If you can afford this (this is also the cheapest pedal to buy new that own) take a chance. If you don't like it I understand because everybody has their own ear, but a lot of guitarists that I've played with that come in and out of town share a brief moment of brotherhood with myself, simply because we figure out that we both have the same weapon of choice for leads and dirty rhythms.

  • Ben B
    from Colorado, USA December 27, 2013Music Background:
    Former touring musician, Recording engineer.

    My Go-To for Over Ten Years

    An excellent pedal. I've had mine for around 13 years now and I've never felt the need to look anywhere else. I play a Les Paul standard into Vox or Fender amps and the SD-1, paired with a good delay and a little wah and reverb has helped me to create a signature tone that has earned many compliments.

    The key is proper gain-staging--I match the level knob to give a small boost to the amp volume, keep the drive between 9 and 1 o'clock depending on the amp, and I like the tone slightly to the left of the middle. A great pedal for less than $50!

  • Jeff
    from Florida March 15, 2012Music Background:
    Piano and Guitar player.

    Outstanding

    I purchased this pedal to go along with the Metal Zone pedal I recently purchased. This pedal gives great distoration, but at a lower level than the Metal Zone. I now have a full spectrum of overdrive with both pedals at my disposal. You cannot go wrong for the money, this pedal is simply a great value.

  • yerkool45
    from San diego,CA U.S.A January 2, 2012Music Background:
    live playaa! not a bedroom wanker....

    Step on it and Wail!

    This is by far one of the best boost pedal I've ever own without spending over $50,without killing your tone, and it also beat out those high $ pedals as well. The secret lies in how to set it up. Level Knob at max,Tone knob at 10'Oclock and Drive knob at 9'Oclok which I use as the level knob. This goes in front of My awesome Boss OD-3 which I use alot for rhythm work. And when solo spots come up during live gigs I step on the SD-1 and go at it baby! I need to buy another one of these and another Boss OD-3 for my smaller set up I'm building soon.....

  • Matt
    from June 29, 2015Music Background:
    Rock and blues guitar

    The Stomp box every guitarist needs

    The Boss SD-1 is one of those Boss stompboxes that seems to have been around forever. That means two things 1) every guitarist has one and 2) most guitarists don't include it in their rig. Why because there are pedals out there with more aggressive attack or different sounds BUT here's the thing this box has a lot of subtlety which is easy to miss by turning everything up to 10. I use the level to lift my playing from the rhythm to the riff or solo. Most of the time my drive level will be between 3 and 6 with the sweetspots about 5. I also often use this pedal as a preamp for say my BluesDriver BD-1 to give several options from grungy to crunch to howling at the moon. A great pedal, commonly overlooked but a classic for all the right reasons.

  • Tim
    from Everett April 13, 2015Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Best pedal for the price

    This pedal is the best pedal I have ever purchased for less than a 100 bucks. Drop a 20 dollar mod in it and you have a 300 dollar boutique pedal that you'll be in love with. If this one come up missing I will buy another one from Sweetwater without hesitation.

    Great product.
    Not one complaint.
    Thanks Sweetwater, you guys are the best!

  • Dan Guillette
    from Hayward , WI December 16, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Boss sd -1

    Nice sound for not much money. I like it

  • Josh
    from Indiana October 1, 2014Music Background:
    Guitar Player/ Writer

    Boss SD-1

    I'm pretty content on this pedal. It does a good job.

  • Joe Faraldi
    from New Jersey April 3, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Unbeatable OD - Like a TS without the mud

    I've tried to like the Tubescreamer but man, it just sounds like mud to me. No matter which one I try, they all seem to pull down too much of the high end while putting a blanket on the low end dynamics.

    In my opinion, this is one of the best Boss pedals out there. Less trebly than the OD-3 and fantastic across the entire sweep of the drive knob. Sounds great in front of both British and American flavored amps.

  • Dan
    from Michigan February 5, 2008Music Background:
    Active Musician

    Beats the Tubescreamer

    Fantastic gritty overdrive tones, beats the tubescreamer hands down. Almost the same circuit as the tubescreamer though - very moddable. At $50 there's no reason why every pedalboard shouldn't have one of these. Only complaint is the distortion bleed-through, but I don't use it on settings that high and like I said, very moddable.

  • A.Tuneman
    from MT April 11, 2017Music Background:
    Been using Boss pedals for years.

    Lean & Semi-Clean

    This BOX yields a low distortion level to a lower medium level. It can be used for rhythm with some dirt.
    It also can be used with other pedals or into an amp's overdrive channel as a dirty signal booster,
    which can increase the sustain noticeably. The level control can be set Below, Even with, or Above the
    instrument's normal level (when off) to provide a vol. boost. The tone control removes highs.
    This unit does not cover the DS-1 territory. It is mellower.

  • Matt
    from Tacoma, WA May 6, 2016Music Background:
    semi-pro

    good bargain

    For the price, you won't find a better overdrive. Pros: well-built, sturdy, and a fairly neutral overdrive that won't color your amp's tone (some say it adds a bit of high end, but I haven't found that to be the case so long as I work the tone control). Cons: not a lot of volume on tap and a touch noisy (all OD pedals are noisy to a degree).

    If you're running the SD-1 in front of a clean amp and are using single coils, you'll get more than enough of a volume jump when you step on the pedal. But if you run the SD-1 in front of a mildly overdriven amp and are using humbuckers, you'll have to crank the level knob all the way just to get a tiny boost.

    I have two other overdrives (Electro-Harmonix Soul Food and MXR M-66 Classic Overdrive), and the SD-1 compares favorably to both. It doesn't have nearly as much attitude or volume boost as the Soul Food, which provides a much tighter, more focused overdrive (think of a cranked Marshall JCM800), but again, the SD-1 is more likely to stay true to your amp's tone. Although I like the MXR slightly better (it falls somewhere between the SD-1 and the Soul Food), it's on the fritz (it died unexpectedly), so, assuming the SD-1 holds up like every other Boss pedal I've ever owned, that's a plus in its favor. For now, I'm using the SD-1 and the Soul Food on my board: one for neutral overdrive (SD-1) and one for extra sauce (Soul Food).

    All in all, a great value.

  • Customer
    from June 6, 2015

    Nice, smooth tone

    Pleasantly surprised with this pedal. I have a love-hate relationship with overdrives, with most of them being to weak to provide a decent drive, or completely overboard with too much mechanical dostortion. At its lowest setting, this pedal delivers a surprisingly musical drive. You can almost use it as a boost for leads, etc.

    Only thing keeping this from 5 stars, is that the tone knob is limited in spectrum, especially on the low end. I've used this pedal with an acoustic with some very interesting results, but dont expect to maintain the full frequency range of an acoustic while this pedal is engaged. Admittedly, this is not an acoustic pedal, but then again, I like to experiment. For electric instruments, it works really well, and holds up well sound-wise when compared with the original OD pedals from the 80s.

    For an overdrive, I've heard much worse for a lot more money. Overall, this a really good overdrive for the money.

  • dan caldwell
    from barberton, OH December 31, 2014

    great bang for the buck.

    I do not usually use pedals, a good tube amp should have a great built in overdrive, I kept reading how people like to use this pedal to boost the overdrive on their amp and I was curious to give it a try.

    first I will say just using this for the over drive sounds pretty good, not as good as the overdrive on my amp, it does sound pretty natural like the over drive on my amp but the tone is not quite as good but I think most people would be at least satisfied to quite happy with this pedal.

    now as far as boosting the overdrive on my amp, surprisingly its not any louder even if i have the level turned all the way up when my amp is on the over drive channel. on the clean channel when i turn this on with the level knob all the way up its much louder but for some reason that is not the case for the over drive channel.

    what it does do when using this with the overdrive channel on my amp, its basically just adding more overdrive which seems good for playing solos or just adding a bit more drive to the amp, it almost gets to the point of distortion instead of overdrive with this thing and the amp on the overdrive channel.

    i was expecting it to get louder when i turned it on in addition to my drive channel which would be great for playing solos but I guess I will just have to live with it only adding a bit more overdrive to my sound,

    overall I am happy with it, its a great pedal for not much money.

  • Paul Axtman
    from Kent Wa USA August 27, 2013Music Background:
    hobbyist/student of music and guitar

    boss sd-1 pedal

    I like the pedal, the free shipping, nice. I haven't had to use the free tech support yet, but it's also a plus for doing business with Sweetwater. Also, the candy in the shipping box, nice touch, thank you! Getting back to the pedal, I feel there is a difference between this overdrive pedal verses a distortion pedal. The overdrive pedal is creamier and bluesier then the distortion pedal.

  • Todd Larsen
    from Atlanta, GA USA August 8, 2013Music Background:
    semi-pro

    Very good for the price

    It's exactly what I expected. I use it to add more drive to an already overdriven amp, and I actually like it better than my TS9. It does add a lot more sustain, and drive, of course, but it's a little wooly on the low end. That's okay with me, I kind of like that sound. I think I may try a mod kit on this, there is a lot of possibility here.

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

    GREAT FOR LEADS BEHIND A FUZZ OR DISTORTION PEDAL

    I added the SD-1 to my pedal board right behind a BOSS BD-2 "Bluesdriver" the BD-2 creates a perfect crunch , then when the SO-1 is engaged it creates a perfect lead tone on my marshall tube amp. Alone the tone is not so great , but behind a good distortion or fuzz pedal this thing sounds amazing. Sounds best coming through a tube amp, looses a little of its bite coming through solid state. Bump it in on a tube amp with a little fuzz and you'll love the tone.

  • L. Clepper
    from Sweetwater, Tx. February 11, 2007Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

    I use this pedal in front of my amps own distortion as a lead boost. It works great for a volume boost without changing the sound of your amp. Great for fast ripping solos especially with a wah pedal. Noisy when cranked all the way up (all knobs), but just roll back off the drive a bit and your good to go. My settings are as follows:
    Level: 50%
    Tone:70%
    Drive: 90%
    Good for bluesy stuff too, with a little reverb in front of clean channel. I cant seem to find a reason not to own this thing, especially for the price. Its not designed for Death Metal. Sounds fatter than the Tube Screamer, IMHO.

  • Rick Rice
    from Buffalo, NY October 29, 2006Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

    For 40 bucks, the Boss SD-1 is the best Overdrive value on the market!

    The circuit is very similar to that of a vintage Tube Screamer, except for the addition an additional diode in the clipping section. The resulting asymmetrical wave pattern produced a deeper, richer bass response than the Tube Screamer’s symmetrical clipping section. The SD-1’s sound is also less focused in the midrange frequencies than the Tube Screamer. There is a negative to this pedal...with some guitar and amp combinations, when you max out the SD-1’s Drive and Level controls, you can hear some distortion filtering into your clean sound even when the SD-1 is turned off. This phenomenon is inconsistent; i.e., I have heard it at times…other times I have not! To remedy the problem, back off a bit on both the Drive and Level controls or perform a simple circuit modification improves the bypass circuit and eliminates the bleed-through.

  • David
    from Dayton, Ohio October 18, 2006Music Background:
    Gigging Musician

    Boss SD-1

    The Boss SD-1 is the best value in an over drive pedal on the market. It adds an awsome lead boost to my JCM800 and TS9. I would recomend it to anyone looking for an enexpensive drive pedal. the sd-1 is sweet!

  • tortillas_y_frijoles
    from May 7, 2013Music Background:
    Always learning

    Simple tone but not bad for the $

    I picked this pedal up for my home studio so the guitarists can change up thier sound a little when running thru my system.

    I would say you have to keep the tone knob up all the way to get some good lead-guitar sounds. You can set it up to give you a fuzz sound. But overall, it puts out a warm overdriven tone.

    If you want a heavy sound, this is probably not the pedal for you.

  • Bryan Cee
    from New Orleans, LA. April 14, 2012Music Background:
    Home recording enthusiast who loves his tube amps.

    Awesome...If you aren't afraid of the soldering iron.

    Can you derive a monster tone from this stock pedal straight in to an amp? Ummm...no. This pedal should best be thought of as a platform for modding.

    Stock I give this guy a 3.5 out of 5. And I'm being generous with that extra .5. I found there to be some useable settings and overall it's not that bad of a pedal. Basically it's a clone of a TS (even has the famed 4558 chip) with a few differences. Mainly the clipping. As it was unmodified, I could get a somewhat decent tone going. After a certain point with the Drive knob it becomes too harsh. The Tone control doesn't really do that much to help define the sound. Kind of vague on the tone adjustment. Not a whole lot of polish. It's just okay as it is. Think Black and White analog TV. Now if you want Stunning-color High-Def 1080p? Keep on reading.

    I give this guy a 5 out of 5 modified. For less than half the cost of this pedal (which is for parts and the R&D already done for you in a kit. Or you can do a lot of research on your own and spend a few bucks for the parts) you can modify this thing to be a Holy Grail kind of pedal. No joke. Total cost is peanuts when you consider many boutique pedals cost 5 times as much. Modified, there's more gain but yet it's smoother and more defined. It's more open and full. Bigger and just a quality tone to it you have to pay a lot more for from those guys who have made a business out of modding pedals.

    If you aren't afraid of a soldering iron, don't mind a little bit of work and a few hours of your time, BUY THIS PEDAL. You'll have a great feeling of accomplishment after you're done and get a funny feeling a certain someone charges a little too much for what he does to Tubescreamers.

    Fair warning: modding pedals is addictive. I'm only mentioning this because nobody warned me.

    If you are afraid of the soldering iron, find a buddy to do it for you. It is totally worth it in every way. But mod this pedal one way or another. Your Tone Quest will be over...well maybe not over over. It's never really over now is it?

  • Bryan Cannon
    from Owensboro, KY February 12, 2016

    Just Okay

    The Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive has been around a long time for a reason. It does basic overdrive fairly well and it is very simple to use. However, it has its limitations and drawbacks. I purchased this pedal mainly to use to give my normally clean signal some mild breakup. I wanted to be able to engage/disengage this breakup tone without having to readjust my preamp settings. Most overdrive pedals that I have tried with my setup will do this with only limited success. Most of them don't achieve a pleasing mild-breakup tone in my opinion. They tend to clip too aggressively and the mild-breakup tone just sounds harsh, not the sweet tone I am looking to achieve. The Boss SD-1 handles this mild-breakup much smoother than most of the overdrive pedals I have tried but it has one major drawback. When engaged, the SD-1 really alters the tone in my signal chain. It drastically cuts the highs and the lows so that my tone loses its quality characteristics. The tone knob on the SD-1 basically becomes a mid-tone adjustment, shaping the focus of my now much narrower signal tone. I suppose there are applications where this useful but it is not what I am looking for in my tone. I suppose that with heavier overdrive settings this tone alteration might be more beneficial or less noticeable, but for subtle overdrive tone it is not desirable.

  • Customer
    from May 29, 2015Music Background:
    Professional Guitarist

    Meh

    This is a very mediocre pedal. Tone is decent, but it's too light for rock and too heavy for blues. It doesn't seem to color my tonne when the pedal is disengaged, but when it's on it's nothing special. I wish I had saved the money for a Wampler instead of this.

  • Philly Guy
    from Philadelphia, Pa August 4, 2012Music Background:
    30 years playing guitar and bass

    Dated Tones

    I bought this pedal to upgrade with Monte Allums modifications. I did try it before I cut into into it and found it "boxy" with no bass. Compared against the new pedals from Blackstar ( I own the Blackstar Distortion pedal), these older boss pedals sound obsolete. Save your money until you can afford the new generation of overdrive pedals.

Questions about the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal?

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