Who uses Boss pedals?

If you play the guitar, chances are, you’ve probably owned a Boss pedal in your career. Even if you haven’t owned one yourself, you’ve probably seen the iconic little colourful cuboids gracing a sticky stage floor or illuminated music shop cabinet. 

Perhaps the most used guitar stompbox around, there are loads of artists who have integrated a Boss effect into their pedalboard! Today I’ll talk about some who have…

Instead of talking about Kurt Cobain and Steve Vai, I’ll hopefully be able to introduce you to some less widely known Boss users!  

Boss DS-1

The best selling distortion pedal worldwide is the DS-1! So you can expect to find this orange thing everywhere. This is a very popular first guitar effects pedal thanks to its price point and durability.

One of my favourite recent DS-1 players is Mark Speer of Khurangbin. Speer has the tone and distortion barely on and the level absolutely cranked whilst he’s playing. Usually leaving it on for the whole show, Speer manipulates the overdrive and distortion levels primarily with the guitar volume knob. 

Check out Evan Finds the Third Room for their signature washed out slightly overdriven sound.

Boss BD-2

Next up is the Blues Driver! The Blues Driver is a versatile overdrive pedal going from a nice clean breakup to full saturation depending on how you dial it in. 

Playing a left-handed sparkly Jaguar, Courtney Barnett is a fan of the BD-2 and you can hear it littered about her albums and live performances. Courtney has a really cool conversational vocal delivery style with a sweet overdriven guitar sound. 

Perhaps influenced by the name of the aforementioned pedal, ‘Everybody Here Hates You’ has a few bluesy solos where you can hear the BD-2 in full effect! 

Boss TR-2

Onto the green one. Tremolo is an effect that has been used since the ‘60s. It’s an effect that manipulates the volume of your guitar signal. Quite simple really! 

There were a few different players I wanted to mention whilst discussing the TR-2 but I decided to go with Stuart Braithewaite of Mogwai. The 1997 album,  ‘Young Team’, is littered with the TR-2, no track as evidently tremolo-y as the start of ‘R U Still in 2 It’.

Boss PH-3

There is a long line of bass players who also dabble with Boss pedals! As a modulation effect, we have seen a few iterations of the phase pedals through Boss’ history. We are now onto the PH-3 and it is still being used by a lot of cool artists today. 

Stephen Lee Bruner, otherwise known as Thundercat, is an American bass guitarist who plays a crazy looking 6-string Ibanez bass. Thundercat’s sound is a fusion of funk, jazz and pop and has some amazing bass hooks.

Bruner uses a PH-3 which you can see and hear on this version of, ‘Them Changes’ on Tiny Desk concert at minute 6:25. 

Boss JB-2

The last pedal on today’s list is the Boss JB-2 Angry Driver. One of the newest boss pedals, the JB-2 marks a historic collaboration with Boss. It is their first brand collaboration with another brand, ever! 

The JB-2 combines sounds from the Boss BD-2 and JHS Pedals’ Angry Charlie. There are a lot of different overdriven tones you can get with this pedal and it sounds awesome. 

The only player I’m yet to discover using this new pedal is Dream Wife’s Alice Go. Dream Wife are high energy Pop-Rock and Alice uses the JB-2 through a Marshall (a JCM-900 4100 I think). 


And that will do us for today! Shout out to Boss for making affordable pedals that have helped shape a lot of popular music both past and present. 

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