Some of my favourite Boss Pedals

The Boss compact pedal - such a great design and deservedly still on top. The effects giant has helped shape the sound of generations. Of course, we now live in a time where new effects brands with hot ideas start every week (day?) - but still, I get giddy when I play a Boss pedal.

It could be the nostalgia, where Boss pedals bring me back to my teens, where I played an Ibanez ST300 through a Boss OS-2 into an enormous Yamaha solid state amp. But I think it's more, a lot of Boss' designs are just extremely good, and half of my pedalboard, even now, is still Boss pedals.

So, these are my favourites:


The PS-2 Pitch Shifter and Delay

Boss PS-2 Pitch Shifter / Delay


This is a gritty machine of wonderful noises. It creates its polyphonic pitch shifting by very rapidly modulating a delay chip (it's like repeatedly turning the delay time knob on your analog delay pedal in a very precise and wickedly fast way). The feedback knob allows you to let the pitch shifting cascade. Since the amount of pitch shift is not quantised, you're not limited to sounding in tune, and you can create some great chorus sounds.

The delay is a basic, good sounding digital delay. The cool thing is that it has separate delay lines for each of its three speed ranges, and keeps its content in the delay chip when you switch speeds (as long as your feedback is up high enough). This means that you can play or loop something, and then switch the delay speed range for a faux-granular sound. Very cool. The PS-3 is great as well, losing some of the grit but adding reverse delay and double pitch shifting.


The MO-2 Multi Overtone

Boss MO-2 Multi Overtone

Another pitch-shiftery pedal. The MO-2 mainly seems to be an organ sound generator,  but it can do a lot more. The lower harmonics setting adds a nice thickness to the mids, good to make a solo stand out. The upper harmonics setting will get you a great octave-up Radiohead sound.

The coolest thing, however, happens when you plug a dummy jack in the stereo out. Now, the chorus / detune function becomes a pitch vibrato, like in a VB-2. Together with the pitch shifting, this gives you a great synthy vibrato sound.

Radiohead in a box, really.


The PQ-4 Parametric Overdrive

Boss PQ-4 Parametric Equalizer
So, this is one is rare and really expensive on the used market. It's known for being the only time Boss ever used the number 4 on a pedal. It's a four band parametric equalizer, with bass, low mids, high mids (treble really) and high (presence, really). With both mid controls, you can set the frequency where the level knob will be most effective. This allows you to dial in your mids much more precisely than with a 7 band slider EQ. As far as I can tell, there's also a lot more gain on tap than in the GE-7.
And that is where the cool stuff happens: EQ pedals always seem a bit boring, but this has so much gain, that it can really pummel your amp. It's an excellent boost pedal, that you can really tune to your guitar and amp. I like to use it as a strong mids boost for leads, or I dial the bass, low mids and overall gain up - this takes my tube amp into fuzz (power amp fuzz!) terrain. Of course, you can also use it to match output levels of different guitars, to create strongly effected sounds or to slot your signal right into the mix. To me, it seems both more powerful and easier to use than a GE-7, which is why I like it a lot