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The Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive – Our Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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Are you looking for a new guitar pedal and have been looking at the Boss SD 1 Super OverDrive? Finding the best pedal for you takes time, and we want to find out whether this product really stands up to the hype. It has been around for quite some time, so maybe this means that it is a great product? We will discuss what exactly the Boss SD 1 Super OverDrive guitar effect pedal is and what the features are that make it so desirable and easy to work with. 

So read on for our Boss SD 1 Super Overdrive pedal review!

What Is The Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive

This pedal which has been around since 1981 produces the warm, natural distortion of an overdriven tube amplifier while maintaining the subtle nuances of a player’s picking technique. This is one of BOSS’ more subtle and smooth overdrive pedals, perfect for blues and rock. It should not be confused with a distortion pedal. People have been inclined to prefer the use  of the Ibanez Tubescreamer vs the Boss, however the Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive pedal is certainly versatile and unique to be still used today. It can be considered close in conception to this product, but in terms of tone, there is differentiation. In effect, Boss added a tone control to the original OD-1 Overdrive, so a little change to the old design. It is certainly beloved by guitarists across many genres since the late 80s. 

Overdrive pedals can also be used as a boost, to push a clean amp into overdrive which might not have enough gain, or indeed an amp on the edge of break-up into full-blown distortion. The BOSS SD-1 is famous for being used both as an overdrive and boost pedal.

The Boss SD 1 Super OverDrive Keeley Mod sits somewhere between a BD-2 Blues Driver and the full on DS-1 Distortion. This popular mod makes the SD-1 into a hard rocker’s dream, turning the pedal into a gainer and more open TS style overdrive that can reach distortion territory when dimed out. All components are upgraded throughout and a toggle is added for bringing a germanium diode into the clipping circuit to create harder drive and more compression. True bypass switching is added as well.

What Are The Main Features Of The Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive

Asymmetrical Clipping

It favors asymmetrical clipping, which gives a more of a balance between odd and even harmonics, which is different from your typical overdrive pedal.  It produces tube-like overdrive characteristics. 

So what this actually means is that you can produce richer sounds from your guitar, compared to the more symmetrical clipping in other overdrive pedals and this is maybe why it is favorable for guitarists around the globe. Compared to the Tubescreamer, it certainly generates more volume which is a plus. 

Boss’s parent company, Roland, have been incredibly clever in producing a patent on asymmetrical clipping, so Boss is the only mass produced guitar pedal that uses this unique feature.

The Boss Super OverDrive SD 1 can be used for both humbucker equipped electric guitars but also those single coil equipped guitars too, so as I keep mentioning it is a very multifaceted  product on the market. It will bring more color, rich & smooth sounds to your music and highly musical overdrive tones, what could be better than that for an artist? Are we not all looking for that crunchy or gritty sound that your fans love? 

DS-1 Collaboration Usage 

If you are wondering how to use the Boss Super OverDrive SD 1 to the best of its abilities, then you can team it up with the DS-1 Distortion, as this will balance out the frequencies, allowing for  gain-stacking, but remember you need to properly dial in your controls to make the tone actually sound different.

Further features of the Boss SD 1 Super OverDrive Pedal 

  • Genre-defining BOSS overdrive sound
  • Mild-to-moderate drive tones with focused midrange and tight low end
  • Ideal for use with clean and slightly driven amps
  • Also works great for bringing tightness and definition to high-gain amp tones
  • Stacks well with boost, overdrive, and distortion pedals
  • BOSS five-year warranty


  • True Bypass: No
  • Battery Cavity: Yes
  • DC in: Yes (power supply sold separately)
  • Input(s): 1 x 1/4”
  • Output(s): 1 x 1/4”
  • Input Impedance: 470K ohms
  • Output Impedance: 10K ohms or greater
  • Current Draw: 6mA (DC 9V)
  • Width: 2-7/8”
  • Depth: 5-1/8”
  • Height: 2-3/8”
  • Weight (including battery): 15 oz.

Famous Guitarists Who Used The Boss SD 1 Super OverDrive Pedal

There have been many guitarists who have favored this particular pedal, including; 

  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Steve Vai
  • Zakk Wylde
  • John 5
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Josh Homme
  • Richie Sambora
  • Reb Beach
  • Warren DeMartini

Pros And Cons 

Now this wouldn’t be a review without those pros and cons, so here we go. 


A considerable advantage to this guitar amp is that It is of good quality, extremely durable and does what it says in the product description. 

On top of this, the price is affordable when it comes to guitar pedals at around $62.99

You can get a clean boosted sound and it has a tone, level and drive knob which anybody at any level can use. 

In terms of durability, it is built like a tank andI assure you, it will remain with you for the rest of your career. 

The various genres it can be used for makes it a stand out piece of kit, as musicians from heavy metal, rock and blues all seem to be pretty sold on the Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive. So maybe you need to invest your money in this boss pedal. 


However, people have said it is hard to dial in the crunch and does not show its full capabilities with a small amp. 

Some have said that there is no in-between in the tone adjustment on this pedal and it can both flatten and weaken the signal from your guitar. However, at this price, you get what you pay for at the end of the day. 

I have to admit there are few cons associated with this product and you won’t find too many naysayers out there. 

Concluding Thoughts 

So that was our Boss SD 1 Super OverDrive review, what did you think? Do you agree and will you be more inclined to buy yourself a new Boss SD-1 guitar pedal? Of course, the final decision is yours to make – and you may have already bought one yourself, but we want to give you all the information here first. One thing is for sure, if you are searching for a pedal that will give you smooth, saturated sound for a great price, then the Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive is for you. 

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