Boss SD-1 mods

Boss SD-1

The Boss SD-1 overdrive pedal is a great pedal for the price. It’s really well built and available in almost every guitar store. Also it’s very cheap, you should be able to find the pedal on the 2nd hand market for around $30. But many people don’t know that a couple of simple mods can greatly change the tone and character of the pedal.

The Boss SD-1 overdrive

Before we give you some great examples of Boss SD-1 mods, I’dd like to talk about the background of the Boss SD-1 pedal and some common problems while modding it. The Boss SD-1 is based on the Ibanez Tubescreamer circuit. There are countless overdrive pedals in various price ranges on the market, that are based on the exact same circuit. That should give you an idea of the range of possibilities that can be achieved with this circuit. On the other hand, the circuit of the pedal does have a certain layout so there are boundaries to what can be done. It will always remain an overdrive within the tubescreamer family. So please keep that in mind.

The stock pedal is already quite nice. It has twice the amount of gain compared to the Ibanez TS-9. While some people really like this, I think it makes the low gain sounds hard to dial in (especially when you are using your feet to control the gain knob). Another characteristic of the Boss SD-1 is that it removes a lot of bass and high-end signal from your tone. This makes the sound very tight. This is why many mods are aimed at ‘opening up’ the sound of the pedal. Also many mods are aimed at lowering the noise floor by adding higher quality components.

Boss SD-1 to Ibanez TS-808 conversion

The first mod that I heard about was converting the Boss SD-1 into a TS-808 pedal. Although the circuit layout is very similar, the values of the components are quite different. For example the drive pot on the SD-1 is 1MOhm while the TS has a drive pot of 500kOhm.  I have found two instructions to perform a conversion yourself, one by Erik Hansen and a three part mod that I found one through Google Images (I don’t know the source of this one).

If you do not want to perform the mods yourself, you can also send your pedal to Analogman. He has a great reputation when it comes to pedals and mods, but of course that comes with a price.

Boss SD-1 Overdrive with Monte Allums SD-1 modMonte Allums Boss SD-1 mods

I first heard about Monte Allums through his Boss Bluesdriver H2O mod. His mods are very affordable, and easy to perform. You should definately check them out. I did the Boss SD-1 mod and was amazed with the difference. It opened up the sound of the pedal, made it a lot smoother and added bass to the tone.

Keeley 5-star mod

Another well known mod on the Super Overdrive is the Keeley 5-star mod. Some people say this mod turns the pedal into a Fulltone Fulldrive. You can purchase a modded SD-1 through the website of Robert Keeley or you can find instructions on how to do the mod yourself here.

FuzzCentral mod

The website of FuzzCentral offers a great mod that you can purchase for a small amount. You should get the instructions in PDF format. But the last time I tried it didn’t work and could not get the instructions. Please check if you can purchase it from them first. But if it doesn’t work, you can find the contents of the pdf here.

Mod the Boss SD-1 into a boutique overdrive pedal

Some really smart people figured out how to mod the SD-1 into expensive boutique pedals. Here are some of the instructions:

  • Turn the SD-1 into a Clay Jones Overdrive. Instructions are written by analoguru on freestopboxes.org
  • Turn the SD-1 into a Lovepedal Eternity. Instructions are written by BAMF on freestompboxes.org.

Other great resources

Here are some other great resources on modding Boss SD-1 pedals:

  • Premier guitar published a five part article about modding tubescreamer and super overdrive pedals. It was written in 2012 by Brian Wampler and it’s a great read. Check it out here.
  • If you want to read more about the history of the SD-1 pedal, check out this great post on the gear page by vanguard.