The world of guitar still holds so many secrets, even despite all the information that’s available to us free of charge these days. And even when you feel like you’ve learned everything that there is to learn about the history of the instrument, you’re immediately surprised when presented with new information about something that you never thought about. While we’re at it, one of the biggest names in the guitar gear industry has produced so many different products that we bet even their own engineers don’t know about some of them. We’re talking about Boss and Boss pedals, the devices that pretty much changed the game in the electric guitar world.
While these days we still have an abundance of their old products that are still in production, there are plenty of other pedals that have been discontinued for one reason or another. While we’re aware of some of those, like the DD-2 delay that got its improvement in future versions, most of these pedals are left forgotten and are somewhat obscure to people who are not avid collectors. This is why we decided to do some digging through history and bring you obscure discontinued Boss pedals that are actually great.
SG-1 Slow Gear
Although a pretty simple one, the SG-1, or the “Slow Gear,” pedal is pretty difficult to come by in this day and age. Bearing the reputation of one of Boss’ rarest products of all time, it was produced only during the late ’70s and the early ’80s.
Essentially, it’s a volume swell effect and can find a practical implementation for sections where you need your guitar to sound a little like a violin. There are only two controls on it, one for sensitivity and the other one for attack. Being this rare, it’s obvious that it’s highly valued among collectors who are willing to give quite a sum for it.
TW-1 T Wah
These days, Boss has quite a useful AW-3 automatic wah that can even be paired up with an expression pedal. But its direct predecessor has been unrightfully forgotten, the TW-1 T Wah.
Also referred to as the “Touch Wah,” it altered your tone, or “opened” and “closed” the wah, according to the dynamics of your playing. You could set the sensitivity and depth, along with one additional control that sets the effect to go “up” or “down.”
Sold between 1978 and 1987, it was pretty revolutionary for its times. It was succeeded by AW-2 and, as we already mentioned, AW-3. Let’s move on with the Boss pedals!
While we’re mostly used to Boss’ easily-recognizable pedal design, the company’s BF-1 Flanger pedal was in a completely different casing. And it had a pretty long run, being sold between 1980 and 2001. There have been some aesthetic and technical changes over the years, one of which was the implementation of a new operational amplifier, but its tone and functionality remained the same over the years.
This particular flanger pedal model is not as rare compared to other products that we mentioned here since it was produced for quite a while. However, it still remains pretty much unknown for the wider guitar player circles, which is a shame since it really worked well.
PW-2 Power Driver
Boss pedals are probably best-known for the game-changing distortion models like the DS-1 or MT-2. But interestingly enough, one amazing distortion pedal kind of got lost along the way, the PW-2 Power Driver.
They were produced for less than one year during the 1990s, with a total of about 19,000 units made during this short period. However, the commercial success wasn’t really that great, so the stock lasted for almost a decade.
PW-2 was an overdrive with more accent on tighter bottom-ends and low mids. There were three basic controls that you find on most overdrives, along with a “fat” control that added power to the lower-end areas.
PD-1 Rocker Distortion
While we’re used to conventional distortion stompboxes that you just turn on and off, the approach with the PD-1 Rocker Distortion was not only unconventional but very innovative as well.
This is the same kind of casing that you find with some of the Boss volume and expression pedals, bearing the rocking part as the gain control. And it’s a rather useful concept as you can increase or decrease the gain depending on the song’s dynamics.
Unfortunately, there’s not much info on these pedals even to this day and they’re quite rare. PD-1 was made during the 1980s but it seems that it wasn’t really commercially successful. Nonetheless, its concept is still rather interesting and we do hope to see more pedals like this in the future.
DSD-2 Digital Sampler/Delay
We’re all familiar with Boss’s amazing digital delays as they’ve become a “standard” over the past few decades or so. But their DSD-2 was a little different from the classic Boss pedals. Although probably not that impressive in the context of the modern-era guitar gear, this Digital Sampler and Delay was a game-changer back in the 1980s when it came out.
And as its name suggests, it was more than a standard delay effect. First off, it features up to 800 milliseconds of delay time, which was a lot for a simple pedal back in the day. Additionally, you could also sample and do a loop of up to 800 ms of your playing. As we already said, this doesn’t seem that impressive now, but it was quite a turn back in the 1980s.
The DB-5 Driver pedal takes us all the way back to the late 1970s, before the time of Boss’ now-famous compact pedal casing design. Marking the company’s first-ever distortion pedal, it was produced and sold during the time of the company’s legendary CE-1 chorus. But despite this, DB-5 still remains somewhat obscure among other Boss pedals.
Packed with rather useful controls and features, it was more than just a simple distortion pedal. The pedal came with an onboard compressor, a 5-band EQ, and three basic modes of operation. You could use it as a distortion device with a 5-band EQ, as a compressor and an EQ without distortion, as well as solely as an EQ device. Just imagine how innovative this was for a compact device back in those times.
FT-2 Dynamic Filter
What we know as the wah-wah effect is just frequency filtering. The automatic wah effect is essentially a dynamic filter, which is the case with Boss’s old FT-2 pedal. But although in some way similar to the T Wah that we mentioned above, the pedal not only had more controls it was also compatible with expression Boss pedals.
Adding in this device to the mix, you’d have an option to use it as a regular wah pedal with its movable foot controller. And knowing that it was made during the second part of the 1980s, the concept was pretty innovative for the era. What’s more, you could create your own unique wah tones with it.
MZ-2 Digital Metalizer
While we’re familiar with MT-2 and HM-2 pedals, it seems that everyone has completely forgotten about this gem among Boss pedals – the MZ-2 Digital Metalizer. This pedal is more than just a distortion effect as it also adds chorus and delays into the mix. The pedal was released sometime during the late 1980s, which an era of experimentation. So it comes as no surprise that we had this unusual combo in one pedal.
It’s not that hard to find one, although the pedal itself is really underrated and overlooked. This harsh-sounding distortion also found its way into David Gilmour’s rig. It came with 6 different modes of operation, five of which combined distortion either with chorus or delay. The “Digital” in its name came from the pedal’s digital delay chip.
And finally, we have another amazing distortion pedal that kind of got lost along the way. The product in question is XT-2, also known by a clever and very suitable name Xtortion.
Known for their super-famous DS-1 (the pedal that’s still their most popular product), Boss felt like taking it to a new level by adding a 2-band EQ instead of a tone knob, a contour switch, as well as a “punch” control which could give some additional boost to the mid-section of the audible spectrum.
But despite this pedal’s innovative nature, it didn’t really perform as well as the company has expected. Which is really a shame, since Xtortion really did perform well in many different settings.
We hope that you’ve learned something new about Boss pedals today and that you’ve enjoyed this article. Stay safe and have a good one, folks!