1980 BOSS CS-1 Compression Sustainer

Model Description:

Most BOSS effect pedals are instantly recognisable and this special little blue stomp box is no different. The BOSS CS‑1 Compression Sustainer was the Japanese Roland company’s first compact compressor pedal and was produced only between 1978 and 1982. The internal construction of the CS‑1 is different from later CS‑2 and CS‑3 pedals; something technical about photo couplers apparently, so they are like chalk and cheese. The reputation of these distinctive early pedals was built on its classic ‘squishy’ sound and durable build, which has only helped to push them more into the vintage ‘collector’ market, fuelling used values as a result.

Pedal Description:

This pedal appears to date from approximately 1980. For what it’s worth, this particular CS‑1 sports the so‑called ‘desirable’ features that make absolutely no difference to the sound, including the black ‘Made in Japan’ label on the base and the silver screw that allows access to the battery. It is in far better condition than most vintage pedals of the era, although the paint does show a few minor scuffs. While it doesn’t have its box, everything else is original. In action, the effect is more pronounced and less ‘transparent’ than, say, the MXR Dyna Comp while being less in‑your‑face than some other models. Compression is a relatively subtle effect that depends a lot on the guitar, amp and playing style. Appreciation of its qualities is therefore very much a matter of personal taste. I think it’s cool and groovy.


  • Made in Japan by Roland Corporation in 1980
  • The ‘Level’ knob controls the output volume
  • The ‘Sustain’ knob controls the amount of compression
  • The ‘Normal/Treble Mode’ toggle switch controls the overall tone/EQ
  • BOSS treadle footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • LED ‘Check’ light to indicate when the effect is in use
  • Standard ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • External 9V DC power supply or 9V battery
  • Black ‘Made in Japan’ label on the base of the pedal
  • Silver battery compartment thumbscrew
  • No box or instruction manual

Detail Gallery:

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