Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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BOSS DS-1 Distortion Guitar Pedal, Black, 40th Anniversary Limited Edition


  • Very durable
  • Responsive
  • Modern and fancy design


  • A bit too noisy
  • Not that powerful tone

Just like everywhere in music industry, when it comes to the effects pedals, there are certain brands that you come across no matter where you look. The reason for this is their reliability. The customers who have grown to love certain pedals, appreciate the hard-work of the company and keep coming back to the manufacturer. One of those prominent brands is, of course, Boss. Even though there is a whole controversy around them, they know how to create quality products that can emit ethereal sounds.

They have been around since 1977 and their legendary DS-1 was produced in 1978. This pedal has outsold any other stompboxes from Boss and has travelled through numerous legendary rigs. To celebrate the 40th anniversary in 2017, the brand brought out DS-1 Limited Edition. This version was produced only in 2017, but luckily some sellers still have them (thumbs-up to that). If you want to find out all the information about this unique piece of equipment, stay with me and I will make sure to cover everything you will ever need.


Let’s be honest, the feature set of DS-1 Limited Edition is not far cry from the original. In fact, the whole circuit is rather similar. However, when it comes to design, this pedal is probably one of the most distinctive ones from Boss. Their colorful palette is substituted with black, sleek chassis here. The surface has gold lettering and gold cap knobs, accentuating the dark design and bringing out the main idea behind the appearance. DS-1 Limited Edition has a silver vintage thumbscrew that exposes the battery compartment and makes the battery changing process a child’s play. More importantly, this little fella is built like a tank just like its predecessors.

No matter how much abuse you will force onto it, it will still be ready to rock anytime. That feature is probably the most characteristic to Boss and has remained unchangeable from model to model. DS-1 Limited Edition shares its control panel with the original and offers user-friendly appearance. This stompbox can be powered with 9V battery or additional power supply, making its utilization even more convenient. Even though it might not seem like the most versatile pedal out there, its capabilities are more than enough to achieve the diversity of tones.


As I have already mentioned, Boss has taken a slightly different turn in terms of control design. Their typical black encoders are substituted with gold caps that are visible from far away. The color palette allows you to make some adjustments even on poorly lit stages, as those gold writings just shine from the universe. The control set itself is intuitive and so easy to understand that if you let your toddler fuss around (hopefully you will not), he’d nail some amazing sounds.

All we have here are three knobs: Tone, Level and Dist. The first one acts as an equalizer and balances out the bottom and high-end frequencies, making your distortion sound more distinctive. The second one sets the volume of the device and makes sure everything blends perfectly with the rest of the chain. And the third one is the main ingredient for the perfect distortion recipe. It modifies the amount of said effect and allows you to be as subtle or crazy as your heart desires. You just have to tweak these knobs, stomp on your pedal like it is the end of times and let the DS-1 do its magic.

BOSS DS-1 Sound

Speaking of the magic, this pedal has spectacular sound. With just one knob you can achieve the sonic versatility that is not sometimes found on even more sophisticated units. As you start turning it slowly, you start to hear the slight break up that appears at the beginning. As you rotate the knob further and further, the amount of girth increases and you are left with the most beloved and unique distortion. In a few words, the tone of DS-1 Limited Edition is classic, something both novices and professionals will enjoy.

When you mess around with Tone, you can add brightness in the higher settings and make your distortion searing. But as you dial it down, you start to hear the rich bottom-end that punches through the whole sonic spectrum. DS-1 Limited Edition has the perfect amount of sustain and is amazing for rhythm playing. It does change its characteristics depending on the amp you plug in but that is only natural. Once you get experimental and pair it with other effects, you can easily create distinctive and well-defined pieces. Or you could follow the path of early Joe Satriani or Kurt Cobain and set up your chain accordingly. Either way, this pedal will deliver a performance that can be tailored to your own music and style.


Even though DS-1 Limited Edition is not too different from the original, its captivating appearance and uniqueness will force you to splurge for one. It will be especially attractive for those who you have their eye on limited edition pedals. This user-friendly stompbox is something you cannot go wrong with. It is durable as hell and extremely convenient to use. Unless you are looking for sophisticated features and fancy extras, DS-1 Limited Edition will be the perfect fit. I guess you just have to try it out and let your ears be the judges. Good luck!

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