Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive

SD-1 SUPER OverDrive, Overdrive pedal from Boss.

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All user reviews for the Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive

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Average Score:4.1( 4.1/5 based on 28 reviews )
 12 reviews43 %
 10 reviews36 %
 3 reviews11 %
 2 reviews7 %
Audience: Anyone
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Jerald's review"Great overdive!"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
Same JRC4558 chip as Tube Screamers but sound very different. Has tons of overdrive. Almost a distortion sound. Bitey OD for people that need more dixt/Hi Gain tone. As opposed to Ibanez Tube Screamers you loose some bass/low end but nothing that can't be dialed in on the amp. Great price at $50 new now!

Fireguy8402's review"Mediocre, but beats TS."

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
The Boss SD-1 is a very basic overdrive pedal. It has familiar settings, one tone knob to adjust the EQ of the pedal, one knob for overall volume, and one knob for the amount of gain. The pedal can be powered by 9 volt batter or external AC adapter. Dimensions of the pedal are Boss’s typical 2.4" x 5.1" x 2.9" and it weighs about a pound.


It’s a Boss, reliability is a given. The pedal is built very sturdy, with a nice stomp plate switch exactly like every other Boss pedal that has been beaten to death over the past 20 years. I have never heard any issues with quality control on these pedals. I wouldn’t worry about any Boss pedals breaking on you. Boss may not always have the best tone, but it won’t let you down. It’s a very straightforward layout and the knobs seem sturdy and hold your settings well. The housing and jacks are metal and seem like they would hold up to a good amount of abuse.


Some people would consider this an Ibanez Tubescreamer clone, while it does sit pretty close to it; there is a little bit of a difference. The insides are similar to an old Tube Screamer circuit, but Boss adds an additional diode in the clipping section. This results in an asymmetrical wave that produces a little more low end response than that of the Tubescreamer’s symmetrical clipping. The SD-1 doesn’t have as much of a midrange honk to it as the Tubescreamer either. I would much rather use this as an overdrive or a boost, where the Tubescreamer I find only usable as a boost into an already driven amp. I wish Boss had split the tone into high and low control knobs.


Overall this pedal is a decent basic overdrive. I prefer it to the famous Ibanez Tubescreamer, but I would probably look at other pedals to fill the same tone requirements as the SD1. I like the Digitech Bad Monkey because it splits the tone into two separate knobs, allowing for more tweaking. The Transparent Overdrive from Danelectro is also above this in my book, not only for the split EQ section like the Bad Monkey, but for overall quality of sound and for the fact that this pedal is in the same price range and it is true bypass. Boss isn’t known for having the best drives, they are more famous for their delays and modulations, but this one isn’t too bad really. While not very natural sounding, it’s worth the price and very reliable if the sound is what you’re going for.

yoTrakkz's review"cheap price great sound"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
The Boss SD 1 is great for 40 bucks, what more could you ask for. Give it a try and you will see how great it sounds for a very cheap price. This pedal is great for blues music, I generally set my settings at around (Level 50% Tone: 60% and drive 90%) That’s what works best for me. But you will have to play with it, because if you have all the knobs turned up its really noisy. Only complaint is the distortion bleed-through, but I don't use it on settings that high . It comes in a yellow and black color which is a good combination that you will never forget to use because it sticks out.


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.


Overall, 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.
Give this pedal a shot, you cant beat it for 40 bucks!

nickname009's review

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
This is the classic yellow overdrive pedal with a level, tone and drive controls. Classic asymmetric overdrive. What I would consider the opposite of the the classic tube screamer.


You don't really need a manual for this, 3 knobs and you're ready to go.

Level controls the overall output.
Drive controls how much gain you want.
Tone shapes the sound from dark to bright.

Obviously for electric guitar, there are 2 or 3 main uses for the pedal.

1. As a clean boost

2. As a mild bluesy overdrive

3. As a high-gain metal boost

Simple ain't it?


1. As a clean boost:

Ok so though this is an overdrive, it's strength does not lie as a clean boost, though it CAN be used as one. It can do so but it will generally add some compression along with a bit of dirt even with the drive knob down. It is not transparent like some other pedals, it sucks up quite a bit of the original signal, whether this is good or not of course is subjective to the user. Most players say it is a tone sucker.

2. As a mild bluesy overdrive:

Decent. Though the tone is generally thin with the tone knob at noon. Picking attack is also enhanced and the ice-picky sounds are accentuated. It's a very mild gain which is fine for the blues idea, rolling the tone knob to the left will darken the sound if though the tone knob is not completely sensitive, it will muddy up quick if rolled too much.

3. As a high-gain metal boost:

This is what made he sd-1 famous! The classic JCM 800 setup for medium gain boosted with the sd-1 makes it the classical high-gain/metal setup! There are plenty of debates out there which suits what amp. In my opinion, for any amp with a vintage-like tone, the boss sd-1 suits them very well. Yes noise is an issue in this aspect, but again it depends on the user. I would have to get a noise gate. This is what I would call normal however. Since every boost I know, adds noise and feedback. It's asymmetric clipping gives it that edginess that vintage amps do not have, offering a well balanced tone. While, tubescreamers would suit better for modern amps.


What I like most about it is the uses for boosting amps to get that high gain saturated sound from vintage marshall-esque amps.

It's dirt cheap as well nowadays. Nowadays there are many mods available, the sd-1 is kind of like the honda civic of overdrives. Everybody has a different mod to put into it. And though it can be modded to be more versatile, I think the core sound will always be inherent in the sd-1.

I do not need to talk about reliability with boss pedals. Everybody knows how sturdy they are!

I currently don't own one. Though if I did ever need one again, I would get a standard, un-modded version. I like things simple and don't like to over analyze when it comes to tone and I hate tweaking. I've worked with the original sd-1s and a variety of modded ones and have come back full circle to realizing that although the modded ones are amazing. I'll always be happy and suffice with a stock sd-1. It's like always seeing an old friend that's always and will always treat you well! :)

darkwolf291's review"Good OD Pedal"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
One input, one output, a volume, drive, and tone knob. How much easier could it be? It also has a standard BOSS style center negative 9V DC jack. It uses a buffer bypass (and not a good one).


Plug in, set the knobs where you want 'em and get playin'. It couldn't be easier to use. Wanna use it as a boost? Volume dimed, gain low, and set the tone to your personal taste. The TONE knob isn't that responsive though. It takes a big turn to get any noticeable change in tone, which can be annoying because you can't get a large selection of tones from it, but it's still workable.


This is a decent pedal stock. It can go from thin, crunchy, trebly gain, to thick, smooth OD. when used as a boost, it is somewhat transparent, but still colors the tone. I keep the tone around 1 o'clock, and the gain around 9 o'clock. This gives me a nice, crunchy, style OD. A bit like Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. This is not a true bypass pedal. It connects the input jack to the output jack using a buffer. The buffer isn't a very good one though. It causes some somewhat noticeable tone suck, which causes some treble to be lost. It's too dynamic either. It's more dynamic than some pedals, but it's nothing like a Honey Bee Over Drive by BJFE, which could be one of the most Dynamic Overdrives out there.


This is a good OD pedal. The tone knob is not very responsive, but with a quick, no soldering needed mod, it opens up and becomes a better pedal. This is a great pedal to mod. a few mods and it goes from a decent pedal to awesome. Stock, It's a decent OD for a good price.
King Loudness04/18/2011

King Loudness's review"Definitely a super overdrive pedal!"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
In essence, this pedal is simply designed to do what it says... it's an overdrive pedal that gives a bit more kick than just your average tube amplifer's overdrive tone. It has level (volume), tone, and drive (amount of gain) controls.

The pedal is basically your standard Boss enclosure, with a durable metal casing (painted in a really cool bright yellow), 1/4" input and output jacks, and an adapter jack for a Boss PSA adapter. It isn't designed to be anything more than a basic stompbox, so there aren't any MIDI or computer editing based parameters.

As they say, simple is the way with things like this.


It's a very simple pedal. I received it as a present from my parents when I was 8 years old and even at that time I had no problems dialing it in. Because it only has three controls, it's quite easy to dial in. It was my main source of overdrive tones (in conjunction with a clean or mildly overdriven amp) for about 4 years straight.

There really isn't too much more I can say about the setup. It's not a very high gain pedal, so I often used it in conjunction with a mildly overdriven tube amp in my younger days for sonic satori. Definitely a very easy to use pedal, and when you integrate it into your rig, it sounds killer!


When I first got this pedal, I was using a G&L Tribute S-500 and various Yamaha and Tokai guitars into various and sundry Peavey, Yamaha, and Laney amplifiers. I used this pedal for a few years as a standalone drive unit in various jazz and blues projects until I started getting into more high gain tones around age 10 or 11 (ca. 2004-05). At this point I begun using the pedal more as a booster when running into a high gain amplifer to add more distortion and tighten up the sound.

Circa 2007-08, I wasn't using the pedal as much, and I had my guitar teacher at the time modify it for more gain and a midrange boost. When I got it back, I was blown away by the tone and proceeded to have him build me a few more pedals that were to compliment it. When all was said and done I was running three different gain boxes built/modified by him into a mildly overdriven amp. It was noisy... but it worked VERY well for the neoclassical shred I was playing at the time.

I haven't used the pedal very much since I started getting into more high dollar tube heads, but writing this review has inspired me to perhaps dust it off sometime soon.


All in all this pedal is great. It has served me very well for almost ten years and I've used it in every style imaginable at this point and it's held up great. Whether running it into a clean amp for a bit of dirt, into a mildly overdriven one to push it over the top, or as a high gain booster to give amps a serious headrush, the Boss Super Overdrive always worked great, and sounded, well, super.

MGR/Billy's review"Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
This is the 3 knob, yellow Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive pedal. My goal was to turn it into a more bass friendly overdrive pedal.

I bought this pedal through AMS American Musical Supply for $40. I ordered it and it shipped the next day. Great service as always from AMS! I bought it as an introduction to pedal modding.

I like the pedal because it is built so darn tough. It was easy to take apart and work on. I removed the C6 capacitor, upgraded the C3 capacitor to a .01uf metal cap and jumped the R10 slot with a bare wire.

What that did was make the tone knob sweepable and allowed more bass through the circuit.

Not much I didn't like about the pedal. I mean stock it isn't too great. It's very treblely, but hey for 20 minutes of work and $2 in parts you can have the pedal sounding as good as one two to three times in price.

Beyond tough. If you broke a Boss pedal, you're doing something terribly wrong!

With a little bit of work this can be a great overdrive pedal. If you're looking for a first pedal to mod, this is the pedal. You can turn it into a Tubescreamer easily. $40 brand new, you aren't going to find a better deal.

This review was originally published on
MGR/Erik L.11/14/2004

MGR/Erik L.'s review"Boss SD-1 SuperOverDrive"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
I bought it second hand for about 25 euros from a friend.

This pedal is very versatile. It gives a nice subtile overdrive sound on the clean channel of my marshall valvestate and a fat sustaining boost on the lead channel.
I use it most of the time for solos, to boost up my sound. It gives a very warm overdrive, much better then the OD-3, which I used for a while untill I heard the SD-1.

Nothing I think. Oh yes, it sounds better with single coil pickups than with humbuckers, but that's no problem cause I don't play humbuckers.

BOSS, so uhm, built like a tank, you can stamp on it, throw with it, smash some bottles of beer on it and it will still work fine

Nice pedal, warm sound, very sturdy, ...
I love it, it's the best overdrive pedal I ever used.

This review was originally published on
MGR/Andrew Edwards01/17/2004

MGR/Andrew Edwards's review"Boss SD-1 (Super Overdrive)"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
I bought this pedal off a friend used for 40$ Canadian.

The smooth thick tone you will experience is unreal with this little unit. It is also very easy to adjust and understand the controls on the pedal. After only a few minutes of tweaking with this pedal you will have found your perfect sound. The pedal is also built like a rock since it is a Boss pedal.

The color isn't the most attractive thing in the world but who cares anyways.

One word "Boss" so it's very tough.

This pedal is designed to have a thick blues/rock overdrive not thrashy distortion. I play in a punk band and I love the tone I've been using even thoug this pedal isn't meant for punk. If you like smooth thick tones then this pedal is definitly for you.

This review was originally published on

MGR/Sam's review"Boss SD-1"

Boss SD-1 SUPER OverDrive
I paid $45 at a used gear place as it sounded OK in the store (like most gear)

Nice yellow box...hard to misplace

It sucks ALL the bottom out of your guitar sound, leaving only a raspy, thin 80's vacuum cleaner tone

Built like a tank...sadly

Waste of $45. For overdrive, the Maxon OD 808 is far superior and worth the extra cash.

This review was originally published on