Boss effects pedals are easily one of the most recognizable and widespread stompboxes in use today, reaching iconic status as a staple of the music industry. Although many have tried to replicate their recipe for success, few are able to create pedals that meld Boss’s signature balance of tone, quality and affordability. Today, we're taking a look at the BD-2 Blues Driver, an OD pedal that certainly seems to follows Boss's mantra. While the price is certainly right, how does the rest of the pedal fare?
If you’re familiar with Boss’s popular distortion stompbox, the DS-1, think of the BD-2 as a much tamer member of the family; an overdrive/boost pedals instead of distortion, although it can certainly deliver a good amount of grit with the gain knob turned up.The first thing you’ll notice with the BD-2 Blues Driver is its high quality construction, something many players might not expect due to its relatively inexpensive price tag. It’s built solid and has enough weight to it to make the entire package have a premium feel. It’s certainly a pedal built to take the beatings of the live stage.
Boss themselves describe the BD-2 as a pedal meant to provide the kind of warm overdrive and emotive distortion usually reserved for 30-year-old tube amps, a creamy yet crunchy tone associated with blues guitar. While it does lack a bit of the warmth and responsiveness that most players associate with tube amp overdrive, the BD-2 is able to deliver a surprisingly wide range of subtle to moderate distortion. If you’re willing to invest a little more, Boss also offers the BD-2W which is essentially a beefed up Blues Driver equipped with analog circuitry that delivers a warmer tone with a bit more sustain. But with that said, there are numerous fans of the regular BD-2 that certainly love what it offers, not least of which is its affordable price tag.
While its grit and overdrive might not be perfect for everyone, the BD-2 really shines as a clean boost pedal. With the gain knob all the way down, the BD-2 cleans up almost completely, allowing you to use the level knob to either cut or boost the signal volume. Add the fact that the BD-2 is affordable, durable and quiet, it has all the makings of a great boost pedal, possibly edging many dedicated boosters thanks to its ability to add distortion on demand.
While it might not be able to stand toe to toe with boutique level pedals as far as emulating tube overdrive is concerned, the BD-2 won’t cost you upwards of $300 either. But that aside, the BD-2 is easily one of the top bang for your buck pedals out there, able to control your onstage volume, drive the front end of a tube amp or work as a moderate distortion pedal in its own right, delivering versatility and value like few other stompboxes can. For less than $100, the BD-2 is well worth the price of admission and then some.
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