« Boss GT-3 »Published on 05/19/10 at 15:00
I purchased this unit when I was working at a now defunct music store in middle Tennessee. Saw it at a Namm show and was impressed. I was getting fed up with the squirrel-y nature of my pedal board at the time and since I was gigging all the time and getting some road work, I needed something that sounded great and was TOUGH. It turned out to be the most consistent and usable piece of gear I have ever purchased in 20 years of professional music making. I am not sure how much I paid for it, but it was 3% above wholesale. I think it was around $200-$250 dollars in the mid-late 90's.
ANALOG DISTORTION!!!! That's what makes this unit a gem. All of today's multi efx floor units use digital circuitry to create their distortion flavors. Today's floor boxes have TONS of amazing bells and whistles, while ignoring the fact that digital distortion is just not what pro players use. Ever heard a pro player in an interview say how much they love their modeled distortion? Me neither.
The distortions on the GT3 are created on a green boards inside the unit that copy the circuits of various Boss stomps. You want a DS-1? The circuit is there. You want a Metal Zone? The circuit is there. Not a modeled replication, but the real thing. And to me, that is worth the price of admission alone. And there is a BUNCH of usable distortions in this box. Everything from touch sensitive light overdrive, to blues crunch, to 70's rawk to metal to shred and everything in between.
Also, the first thing I did when I got the unit was to test the bypass and see if there was any change in tone. I did an a/b test with the guitar into the unit into the amp vs. the guitar into the amp. No change in tone. Just like using a single Boss stomp. No loss of dynamics either. Boss is known for how clean their bypass is on their individual stomps, and they did it with this unit. Can't say the same for many of the multi's I've tried over the years.
The other thing I like about the unit is that while there aren't as many crazy efx as you find in multi's today, there is plenty of usable stuff. The choruses, delays and reverbs are clean, clear and crisp. They use a separate green board inside the unit for the digital stuff. Digital time based efx and analog distortion. The way God intended.
I don't use the 'gimmick' efx such as the slicer and the vowel effect very often. But they are in there and work great. And programming patches is a breeze at this point.
Depending on what gig and rig I'm using, I use the unit on the 'front end', in the amp's efx loop, or the 3 cord system that goes like this: guitar>GT3>distortions>amp>amp loop out>GT3 loop in>time based efx>GT3 loop out>amp loop in.
The only nick on the unit is that the Wah kinda sucks. I put my own wah in front of the unit. The synth tracking is weak, but this problem is prevalent in all boxes that work with analog guitars. A uni-vibe is noticeably absent. But if you use the basics; distortion, chorus, flange, phase, delay, reverb, modulation, whammy, envelope, ring modulation, eq, this box is the best multi that has ever been made.
Almost 15 years and close to 2,000 gigs and not one problem. Not one. A look under the hood reveals a simple design and construction that is part of the GT3's toughness. Nuff said.
There are a ton of these things on Ebay and Craigslist. And they are cheap. And while they don't have all the crazy 'gimmick' efx that today's multi's have, the GT3's efx palate is full of top notch, usable stuff. And since it doesn't suck tone, you can use your own stomp favs with it. I believe that this box is the best multi ever built. I have tried all the Boss multi's, Digitech's GNX, and Vox's tone lab stuff, and the GT3 has the best FEEL and USABILITY of anything I've tried. I know a few pros who have put them in their pedal boards just for the distortions! This pedal is in my opinion, an underrated classic.
If you've ever looked at a multi and said 'I'll never use HALF of that!' and then said 'Jeez, what does all that stuff do to your signal?' then check the GT3. You'll be glad you did.
This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com