Let’s look at some modifications that will have your DS-1 doing your bidding in no time.
Classic JCM-type Marshall Tones:
|D4||1N4148 Connected in Series to another 1N4148|
|D5||1N4001 Connected in Series to another 1N4001|
|R13||OPTIONAL - Change to 1k for tons of gain, if you do this, also change c8 to 1µF|
Modern distortion tones
|C5, C9||1µF films caps (in addition to R15 3.3k)|
Vintage distortion tones
If you like the general sound of the DS-1 but are looking for less highs and more of a tonal range change C10 to a capacitor with a larger value. Stock is .01”F for a frequency roll-off of 7.2kHz.
Less shrill highs
|LOCATION||CHANGE TO:||FREQUENCY ROLLOFF:|
All in all, the Boss DS-1 Distortion is an inexpensive pedal that can rival many of the best boutique pedals simply by changing the circuitry a little. While this may seem difficult, technical and out of reach, it really is very simple if you know what to change and where to change it. I hope that I’ve given you the knowledge and courage necessary to change your pedal from a mouse into a monster. Happy soldering!
Brian Wampler is an author, effects designer/builder and operates IndyGuitarist Custom Effects - IndyGuitarist.com and Wamplerpedals.com. His books include How to Build Effect Pedals, How to Modify Effect Pedals, and Advanced DIY Effect Pedals available at GuitarTone.net.