I started a new series last week for brand-specific pedalboards. It’s a series because today I’m adding the second entry that I’m cleverly calling Brand-specific pedalboards—the Boss guitar pedals build. I’m a marketing genius! I could have started the series with Boss pedals for several reasons. Obvious reasons for me would have included the fact that my first two guitar pedals were Boss pedals—I still have them both—or that Boss is a brand most guitarists would have heard of. I don’t like being too obvious or predictable though. So here we are with the second entry in the series. Let the continued dreaming of perfectly designed pedalboards continue.
Boss probably make more guitar pedals than most of their competitors. This made it easy to easily fill a virtual pedalboard, but also difficult to narrow down the selection to a manageable number. I did my best to keep it relatively simple.
The guitar pedal I would start with would be the tuner. From there, the build would follow my usual pattern of distortion into modulation. For the most part.
TU-3 Chromatic Tuner
I won’t go into too much detail with this pedal because this pedal pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a chromatic tuning pedal that sits on your pedalboard before—in my opinion—all other guitar pedals. There are two visual styles to the tuning results and there are options in regards to visual brightness which can come in handy in a live stage environment. It just makes sense to be able to tune your guitar without having to unplug/plug your guitar mid-performance with the Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner.
MT-2 Metal Zone
This is a guitar pedal that divides many people. To some, this pedal is terrible. To others, it’s the best metal tone you’ll get from a guitar pedal. Excluding the argument around tone comes from your amp/playing and not your pedal/s, I’d love to get distortion from this pedal. You don’t need to have the gain maxed out or the mids scooped all the way out. Used sensibly, I could see this pedal really allowing a player to switch between a nice clean tone in the amplifier to a brutal metal tone with one quick pedal stomp.
It’s also worth mentioning that I’m actually not looking for a pedalboard for stage play. I’m a bedroom guitar player. Being able to get brutal metal tones at much lower volumes is easier with a pedal like the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone.
The metal guitar bands I was listening to in the 80s knew how to use a flanger. It’s still a modulation effect type that I like to use from time to time. It’s just fun. The Boss BF-3 Flanger guitar pedal option is a sturdy one and it does all I need a flanger guitar pedal to do. It also includes a Gate/Pan setting option so you can be as subtle or futuristic in style as you like. Of course if I’m going to turn this on, I’m going to lean towards the futuristic.
Go hard or go home.
There are other pedals to use for subtle. More on what I’d choose for subtle in a moment.
CH-1 Super Chorus
This is what I like to use for a subtle modulation effect.
I’ve always loved how chorus can add something beautiful to both a clean and overdriven guitar sound. When playing alone in a bedroom setting—I’m still talking about guitars by the way—a good chorus guitar pedal can make a guitar sound much bigger than it really is. I’m therefore of the opinion that this pedal combined with the Metal Zone mentioned above would be a huge effect for somebody practising their metal guitar at home.
Practice doesn’t need to sound bad. A high quality sound has to improve the inspiration of a practising guitarist. That’s an amazing benefit to a pedal like the Boss CH-1 Super Chorus pedal.
NS-2 Noise Suppressor
It’s worth mentioning that it’s likely that your amplifier is going to have unwanted extra noise when using a highly overdriven setting on a pedal like the MT-2 Metal Zone. The harder you push an amplifier the more noise you may experience when you don’t want noise. For those moments that you want no noise, a perfectly placed noise suppressor—or noise gate—is a must-have guitar pedal. The advantage of a guitar pedal like the Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor is its ability to put pedals like the modulation pedals in an effect loop. Therefore pedal placement on the physical pedalboard isn’t as important as how you connect it to the other guitar pedals on the board.
There is a possibility that your amplifier includes reverb. If it doesn’t, a pedal like the Boss RV-6 Reverb can be a very handy addition. Even if the amplifier does have reverb the RV-6 Reverb guitar pedal can be worthwhile on account of its varied reverb types—most likely more than your amplifier comes with.
At the end of the pedalboard, reverb is often that perfect guitar pedal to perfect the guitar tone you’re building. You may not be playing to a live audeince in an arena, but there shouldn’t be anything that stops you sounding like you are.
There you have it. More pedals than last week, but Boss simply has more to choose from. Could I have gone bigger? Absolutely. It would have been easy. But for playing guitar at home, this pedalboard layout would give me options for days. Of course, if I ever chose to take this pedalboard to a live environment, it would be all that more impressive. Start small, allow for big.