1980 BOSS OD-1 Over Drive

Model Description:

At first sight, the BOSS OD‑1 Over Drive seems like a normal Japanese effect pedal. However, looks can be deceiving. The demure little yellow stomp box is one of the original now‑vintage incarnations of the ubiquitous and massively popular overdrive pedals from the late 1970s and early 1980s. If ever there was a classic BOSS overdrive pedal, this may well be it. The Boss OD‑1 Over Drive was the first Boss compact pedal as well as one of the very first overdrive pedals ever made. The OD‑1 was in production from 1977 to 1985 and set the industry standard for valve‑like overdriven guitar sounds emanating from a compact pedal. The OD‑1 even beat its major competitor, the classic Ibanez TS‑808 Tube Screamer Overdrive Pro by almost a year. The original BOSS OD‑1 shares much DNA with the much‑lauded Tube Screamer, including the use of the same JRC 4558D integrated circuit (although early OD‑1s featured an RC3403 op amp chip). For the tech‑heads out there, the BOSS OD‑1 pedal uses asymmetric clipping whereas the TS‑808 affects the positive and negative halves of the waveform equally, reportedly giving the OD‑1 a more natural sounding distortion. The modest OD‑1 provides access to the wonderful mid‑range crunchy sound, that when pushed hard verges on distortion rather than overdrive. Simplicity is key to its operation, with not even a tone control to contend with. While relatively pricey on the vintage effect market, the BOSS OD‑1 remains significantly more cost‑effective than equivalent Ibanez TS‑808s, probably due to the latter’s association with the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Pedal Description:

Here is an unassuming 1980 BOSS OD‑1 Over Drive. In addition to the JRC4558D chip, this example carries the distinctive identifiers of these much sought after early models, which include the silver screw for access to the battery compartment, the ‘long dash’ in the printed OD‑1 model name and the black ‘Made in Japan’ label on the base. Do these cosmetic features really matter, other than to picky collectors? Not really but they tend to add a great deal to used values. The crucial point is the sublime tones generated from your guitar, fed through a cranked OD‑1, and onward into the input of a quality valve amp. Alternatively, it can be used to boost an almost clean signal to push the amp into warm crunchy overdrive/distortion. On that criterion alone, this is one fabulous sounding pedal and a high bar to beat. From gentle compressed overdrive to gutsy distortion, it can add a natural, indefinable, elusive quality to your sound – a je ne sais quoi, if you will. This pedal is in great, all‑original condition with only minor little scuffs to the paintwork. That’s it, an honest, understated classic with a real kick. Undeniably cool and, with these features, quite rare.


  • Made in Japan by Roland Corporation in 1980
  • The ‘Level’ knob controls the output volume
  • The ‘Over Drive’ knob controls the amount of distortion
  • 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
  • 12V DC (BOSS ACA) power supply or 9V battery
  • Japan Radio Corporation JRC4558D op amp chip
  • Black ‘Made in Japan’ label on the base of the pedal
  • ‘Long dash’ model name
  • Silver battery compartment thumbscrew
  • No box or instruction manual

Detail Gallery:

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