Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Boss BD-2 questions

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by 66Satellite, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. 66Satellite

    66Satellite Tele-Holic

    Aug 1, 2010
    Picked one up used last week and LOVE it. I had thought that the Ibanez Tube Screamer would do this for me but I like the BD-2 a lot more.

    Two questions:

    1. The tone knob doesn't seem to do a whole lot. Is that cause I play at lower volumes?

    2. What else sounds like the BD-2--but even more so? I know there are mods...

  2. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Great, great pedal.

    Tone knob - most rigs, it gets parked at 9:00 or lower. Above that and it's serious ice-pick.

    Mods: my take is that most remove the magic. You either need to go relatively minimal (Indyguitarist), do a much deeper overhaul than most (MHP), or frankly, just leave it alone and set it in a way to maximize its utility.

  3. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    On #1- It seems that many folks think that 'unity tone' (where Pedal ON w/guitar>amp = pedal OFF) posistion of this knob is about 9-10 clock, or else things get bright/picklelly!;) I think my Blues Jr. (my main gig amp) is actually a little on the midrangey side, so I actually run my BD-2 at 11-12 clock...

    ON #2- this is a trick answer (at least IMO)- I happen to think the Blues Driver does its best thing at high Level/ and low (10-12 clock) Gain settings (which is at a lower level, before the actual BD-2 distortion circuit is really working), where the pedal is providing a boost that rides between clean and dirty, with a fairly transparent EQ. In other words, if you love the sound of your guitar>clean amp tone (I do), and you want to keep this sound and add some breakup, the BD-2 is perfect. By contrast (once again, IMO) a Tube Screamer changes your tone to something very solid and focused, that really cuts through a mix, but I happen to think it sort of kills your actual original guitar>amp tone. It's not a bad sound, but it just gives you that generic Tube Screamer distortion/eq.

    Where the BD-2 'falls down' (and this is what many mods address) is the sound of the distortion created at the pedal's higher Gain can be mushy on the lows and fizzy on the highs. So I just stay away from the Gain knob past NOON and use a Rat clone for more distortion. (I don't mod the Blues Driver as I love what the pedal does, don't want to ****** that up...)
    OTOH I do think a BD-2 does a pretty good fuzz, with BD-2 Gain and Tone controls cranked (Level where you need it) and guitar Tone ctrl OFF.

    One more thing, I seem to really work a BD-2 best with it ON all the time, (all BD-2 controls at NOON), I set my amp volume to where I am getting enough clean volume with my guitar volume knob about 1/3 up (here it does not sound like the BD-2 is even on) and then roll into OD by just turning up guitar volume. It has just always worked better for me this way, than kicking on an OD pedal, BUT a lot of this has to do with the older blues/country/R&R I play, where there is NOT a lot of distortion involved, to begin with.

  4. 66Satellite

    66Satellite Tele-Holic

    Aug 1, 2010
    Great info guys, given me a lot to think about. Mostly keeping all knobs between 10 and 12 now. Again, great little pedal.

  5. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Also, I have one amp that's relatively dark. In that one, the "ample" treble available from the BD-2 helps. And the slight "fizz" I hear from having the tone knob close to noon with that amp, disappears in our band mix anyway. Enjoy the pedal.

  6. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I have been using a GC/MXR Classic Distortion (just to change things up, its really more of an OD; also modded to be brighter than stock- there is a treble increase as Gain is increased...), pretty much the same way as I use a BD-2 (as stated earlier, always ON). At home (when just practicing alone) it sounds very raw and distorted with the Gain at 1:00, but at gigs, I have Gain at 3:00 and it comes out sounding just perfect- like a pissed-off Champ!

  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Ha. Never piss-off a Champ, unless you want some good tone.

  8. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Nov 3, 2006
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I just have to second everything Chiogtr4x said. The Blues Driver is great around 10:00'ish. Too much gain and it fizzes out. Most criticism of the BD is because folks try to crank it up too much. That's not its strength.

    I also use a Rat, a Turbo Rat actually, for higher gain stuff.

  9. dr_tom

    dr_tom Tele-Meister

    Sep 21, 2013
    I never got the BD-2. Kept mine for a year then sold it. Just found I couldn't make it work for me. Good luck.

  10. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Clarkdale, AZ
    I do the same thing - always on - only with the BD-2 gain at 10:30.

    The BD-2 can't do everything. No overdrive pedal can. But like many other pedals, you have to spend some time learning how to use it with your particular rig. Many players who have given up on it probably didn't spend enough time with it, similar to the learning curve of a Rat.

  11. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2010
    Fullerton CA
    I didn't like the BD-2 tone control, either.
    Even the Keeley mod didn't do much for my ears.
    But it depends on the amp, and probably everything else.
    I picked up a MOOER Blues Mood on a whim, and so far it poops on the Boss. The tone control actually seems to work, and it's subtle "Fat" switch (Keely mod copy-cat) is so far not needed. Now, that's a Les Paul into a stock DRRI, so YMMV.

  12. Diagoras

    Diagoras Tele-Holic

    May 18, 2013
    I agree with what others have said earlier in the thread.

    I only use the BD-2 for light gain/boost, and I pretty much leave it on all the time in my current band, with all the controls somewhere around 10-11 o'clock. It works better for my sound than any other pedal I've tried, and I wouldn't dream of modding it.

  13. Rusty

    Rusty Tele-Holic

    Mar 27, 2003
    Bridge p/u
    still never pulled the trigger on one after all these years :^\

    still curious though!!!

    if you remember at this point, what were you hoping to get from the BD, and what was the most frustrating part of it??? thanks for any help!

  14. prebend

    prebend Tele-Holic

    Jan 28, 2013
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    I had two of them and so had the Keely Mod done on one. I thought it improved it. Made it fuller, smoother, removed some brittleness. Either way it's an excellent pedal.

  15. telefunken

    telefunken Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Dec 27, 2004
    North Hollywood
    I had a stock BD-2 and I just couldn't bond with it. Then I had the Keeley mod done to it and it's a lot better, Fuller and less brittle.

  16. micaiah

    micaiah Tele-Meister

    Jan 17, 2012
    Burlington WA
    have it love it and use the above as well vol at 12 to 1ish tone 0 and gain 10 to 10:30ish as well great stack tone with my kalamazoo gold and T-rex mudhoney

  17. peavey30

    peavey30 Tele-Meister

    Jun 1, 2010
    The Netherlands
    I totally agree with Chiogtr4x

  18. sclitheroe

    sclitheroe Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Oct 11, 2013
    Hamilton, Ontario
    My take on the common refrains regarding the BD-2 being "brittle", "ice picky", and "fizzy" in some configurations is this: if you listen to a lot of classic blues, a lot of their tone is, in fact, brittle, sharp, and with some top-end fizziness to it - that's the sound of classic, non-master volume blues. A lot of it is so sharp it'll take your ears off :)

    It's not a modern sounding blues tone; it hearkens back to Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King, and guys like that. The fizz that people complain about is also adding some girth around the treble on the high notes that you hear abundantly on those old recordings.

    Go listen to "The Sky Is Crying" by Albert King, and tell me if you think the BD-2 would play in that space - it definitely would.


  19. TeleFool75

    TeleFool75 Tele-Meister

    Mar 7, 2014
    I just got one stock a few months ago cheap on eBay and I love it more than my FD2 and Keeley Luna. And I'm not a big Boss fan. It's at the front of my chain always on. I always keep the tone below 9:00 because like others have said, it sounds like a jigsaw any higher. Use it as mainly as a low gain lead boost but I have it in front of the volume pedal so I can get some fuzz out of it when I'm in a Gilmourish mood.

  20. leonard d rock

    leonard d rock Tele-Afflicted

    Modders>what does C9 of Bd-2 do? removing it opens up the pedal, kinda like the C6 mod of the sd-1. all the other nice characteristics of the bd-2 remain. C9 is in keeleys bd-2 mods btw

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