Boss HR-2 Harmonist

Boss HR-2 Harmonist

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HR-2 Harmonist, Octaver/Harmonizer/Whammy from Boss.

7 user reviews
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Boss HR-2 Harmonist tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Boss
  • Model: HR-2 Harmonist
  • Category: Octavers/Harmonizers/Whammies
  • Added in our database on: 04/19/2004

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Boss HR-2 Harmonist user reviews

Average Score:4.3( 4.3/5 based on 7 reviews )
 3 reviews43 %
 3 reviews43 %
 1 user review14 %
Value For Money :

MGR/Steve's review"Boss Boss HR-2 Harmonist"

Boss HR-2 Harmonist
I bought a Digitech Whammy a year ago because I needed a harmonizer, but the whammy is only a basic harmonist, you have to do most of the work yourself. I was always looking to buy the HR-2 but could never find one, Boss discontinued them back in the late 80's. I finally found the HR-2 a few weeks ago at a pawn shop that I was going to sell a few of my pedals to, and the HR-2 is in perfect condition! Not a scratch on it and works flawlessly! The pedal I have has to be at least 15+ years old and still be in almost perfect shape and work like new, you know Boss is doing something right when their pedals last for years and years. The HR-2 didn't come with the box or manual, but I really don't need either, as long as the pedal works and looks great. Mine cost me about $126, I don't know how much they went for new back then, but if you find this pedal buy it right away, you will probably never get a chance to buy one again unless you get it off ebay. I tried out Boss's other harmonizers, the PS-3, which is only a basic harmonist with delay (why did they add in delay and get rid of the key you are playing in to make the pedal an intelligent harmonizer?) I also tried out Boss's new PS-5, it really isn't work it at all, doesn't sound as good as the HR-2 and costs more than it should. The PS-5 is really a crappy version of a Digitech whammy put in compact pedal form, which wasn't a good idea.

1st off, if you put the HR-2 after your distortion, you better get a Y cable to put into the detector in, because the distortion will distort your signal and the HR-2 will have a hard time figuring out what note you are playing and what note it should be playing, which produces a wierd sound, stray notes ringing on and off trying to hit the right note it should be playing. But, if you use a Y cable or use a tuner pedal that is 1st in your setup, use the 2nd output to go to the detector in input of the HR-2, then use the 1st output on the tuner to go to your other pedals so when you use the tuner it mutes your guitars signal when using the tuner. If you use the detector in from a tuner that is 1st in your setup, you won't have any problems, the HR-2 will hit every harmony on the dot, such a great pedal to have and use, especially if you know how to use it right like I do, then you can play things that would take an extra one or two more guitarists to play with you. The pedal has two voices, voice A and Voice B, you can pick any interval for either one, from 1 octave below, 6th below, 5th below, 4th below, 3rd below, detune, 3rd above, 4th above, 5th above, 6th above, and 1 octave above. Voice A and B have their own separate volume also, so you could use one or both harmonies. As long as you know what key you are in and what interval you want to use and what sounds best with what, you won't have any problems. You can get amazing sounds out of this pedal. Using this pedal, you can play stuff that would really take 2 or 3 extra guitarists to play, that's if they could even handle it themselves. That's why I had to buy this pedal, I can't find anyone else who can handle actually playing guitar, I'm not talking about little power chords and 4 notes solos, I'm talking about real, full chords with occasional power chords (with the 3rd in there), twin lead guitar riffs and solos, and melodic solos and also fast, crazy solos that most can't play or ever even seen some soloing techniques. The HR-2 takes care of me searching for another guitarist for now, it can handle playing in 3rds with me either on the rhythm part and solos. You can get the best sounding harmonies with this pedal. The tracking on this pedal is really good as long as you use the detector in.

I wish Boss would bring them back into production! They haven't made a single good harmonizer after the HR-2, the PS-3 is basic and the PS-5 is basic and intelligent, but you can only add one voice since they added in the stupid whammy bar sounds.

This pedal is proof that Boss makes some of the best pedals, my HR-2 is over 15 years old and works like new and looks like a brand new pedal. Most vintage pedals are a lot better than new digital crap.

The HR-2 is Boss's 1st and best harmonizer, you can add in 2 voices. The PS-3 and PS-5 only adds one voice. The digitech whammys are all basic pitch shifters. The difference between basic and intelligent pitch/harmonists is this. Basic: simpler pitch shifter that adds in the interval you select to your signal, it adds the interval in directly without harmonizing it with the key you are in. Intelligent: detects you signal pitch and adds correct harmony(s) to the notes you play. An intelligent pitch shifter does take more musical knowledge to use rather than a basic pitch shifter. Bottom line: The HR-2 is the best intelligent harmonizer you can find that is in pedal form. It can almost take the place of 1 or 2 more guitarists, but takes some thought and musical knowledge. You're not going to find a pedal better than or like the HR-2.

This review was originally published on

yoTrakkz's review"very classic pedal"

Boss HR-2 Harmonist
Te Boss HR-2 Harmonist is a great pedal for harmonizing that has been out for years, we still use this pedal and have been for over ten years and it works great!


I use a Yamaha guitar And I warm up with all the lights of my Fender Hot Rod. I would glue before OD and distortion, and my clone Fuzz Factory afterwards. Why then? Because the fuzz has a dirty sound that does not fit well with the harmony and function is more appropriate to detune sounds a little neat. However much the Super Bend distorts the sound, but before the fuzz is great!


Super Bend is why I bought this gem at the base. So the famous Whammy effect, we hear from Rage Against the Machine and especially for Muse! I was interested also to a tone bender or more sounds Clavinet example (oh yes another icon that uses the Whammy: Hervé Salters). It is possible to adjust the bend on a number given octave, tone, an octave above, below a (mono or right and left!) And modulations funny.

With the Detune I use a clean sound or a slight overdrive (I use the BD-2) is wonderful! The effect is to double what you play the same thing slightly above or slightly below, as if you were given a fraction of discordant tone. We choose the fraction of a tone above and / or above, the balance and then ... Enjoy! After I get my distortion sounds to give some interesting synth pads with my guitar.


I like the originality and quality sound effects and Detune Harmony. At the beginning I did not like the harmony because it is clear in his ugly, you really learn to use it wisely, I think she is great! I sought a Whammy effect and Im not disappointed, great! I highly recommend you try this out, and for the price you really cant beat what you get with the quality of this box. You will love it for sure. Buy It!

iamqman's review"Another one bites the dust"

Boss HR-2 Harmonist
Boss came out with this harmonizing pedal back in 1994 and it was a pretty big hit. This pedal had some good functions to hit that made it fun to find great octaves harmonies with two different harmonies. This pedal was design for guys to find interesting new effects to add to their rig. this pedal unlike most effects including delay, phasers, chorus, and flangers this effect tackled the need to take an existing guitar line and double or triple it with a chorus of harmonies. This would essentially give you a wide range of possible tones within one little pedal.



Effect level knobs for A/B: These knobs are used to independently adjust the volumes of parts A and B. If either of the knobs are turned completely off, then you only have a 1-part harmony instead of a 2-part harmony.
Voice switches A/B: These knobs adjust the harmonic interval of voices A and B. You can select any of the following setting for each voice, A or B, independently: -1 octave, -6th, -5th, -4th, -3rd, detune, +3rd, +4th, +5th, +6th or +1 octave.
Key switch This knob allows you to select the key that corresponds to the song being played. The HR-2 then creates 1-part or 2-part harmony parts automatically.


Controls: E. Level, Voice A switch, Voice B switch, 12-way Key Switch
Connectors: Input, Detector In, Output A, Output B, AC Adaptor
Current Draw: 75 mA (DC 9V)
Recommended AC Adaptor: PSA Series


You can set this pedal up to match the key to which you are playing and allow that harmony to either be played above your octave or below the octave and the great feature of having one play above and below at the same time. This was great for getting Brian May/Queen type harmonies. Queen used to pull off vocals harmonies and Brian May would also pull off guitar harmonies and used a pedal similar to this one to get that effect.

I find this pedal suits best for lead line playing. I don't really like how it sound when you play a full chord. It sound very unique and interesting when you are soling or playing some sort of lead playing. It is a fun pedal and can give you hours of exploring different tones and effects.


This pedal is not disconnected and is only available on the used market. You can check the classifieds for what they are going or you can pickup the newer model the Boss PS-6 which has an array of features that top this pedal. I feel that the newer one is more user friendly and has more to offer the guitarist.

moosers's review

Boss HR-2 Harmonist
The Boss HR-2 Harmonist is a pretty unique and interesting harmonization pedal designed for use with electric guitar. While this is suitable with any electronic instrument, I've only used the pedal with electric guitar, so this review will be focused on this application of the pedal. The pedal has two 1/4" inputs and outputs, and can be powered by either a nine volt power supply or battery. The HR-2 was discontinued about ten years ago and isn't rackable since it is a stomp box.


The configuration of the Boss HR-2 Harmonist offers up a lot of options, but I didn't find it hard to use at all. Like all Boss pedals of this size, it has four separate parameters. The HR-2 has knobs for effect level, voice A, voice B, and one for choosing the key you want for harmonizing within. It has a lot different keys, but not all as it doesn't offer up any sharps or flats, but does have minor and major. I've never seen a manual for the pedal, but unless you're a beginner or are having some sort of technical problem, I don't believe that one would be necessary.


I've used the Boss HR-2 Harmonist in tandem with a Fender Stratocaster and a '65 Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier. This should work pretty much the same no matter what type of set up you are using it with, as I don't feel that it would respond differently in different rigs like an overdrive pedal might. As far as how the pedal sounds, this definitely does its job quite well. While maybe not the most realistically used pedal in all situations, when it does work, it works very well. It has a pretty clean sound quality overall like most Boss pedals, but doesn't have the best tracking, which could be one of the reasons it was discontinued.


While the Boss HR-2 Harmonist is no longer being made, the same idea is in a new pedal known as the PS-5. However, if you'd like to get the HR-2 as it has some features not found on the PS-5, I'd bet you could find them used, but it might cost you a bit of money as these aren't the most readily available pedals. I'd encourage those interested to do some research on the HR-2 as well as the PS-5 and other harmonizing pedals to see what might work best for you...

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  • Boss HR-2 Harmonist
  • Boss HR-2 Harmonist
  • Boss HR-2 Harmonist
  • Boss HR-2 Harmonist

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Other names: hr 2 harmonist, hr2harmonist, hr2 harmonist, hr2, hr 2, hr 2harmonist, harmonist hr 2, HR-2

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