• David Gilmour on a budget – BOSS BD-2

    In this video I’m presenting one of my all time favourite overdrive pedals, the classic Boss BD-2.

    The BD-2 has a transaprent tube amp-like tone, with a hint of mids and compression but a very open and dynamic character. It’s a very versatile overdrive capable of producing anything from clean boost to crunchy overdrive and near fuzz.

    The BD-2 is a very convincing and easy to get alternative for David’s 70s Colorsound Power Boost and the 80s/90s/00s Tube Driver tones.

    I’ve set the BD-2 up for a fairly high gain setting, with the volume slightly above unity 10:00, the tone slightly rolled off 9:00 and the gain at 3:00. I’m using the guitar volume to adjust the amount of gain to demonstrate that this pedal can pretty much be used for all puposes, with just this one setting.

    I’ve added a hint of delay (TC Flashback tape 440ms) and at the end of the clip, a Mooer ElecLady flanger for those late 70s tones.

    As always, let me know what you think in the comment field below.

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42 Responsesso far.

  1. Mike samson says:

    Interesting.., and very. Nice. Thank you.!

  2. Gustavo Checcoli says:

    Hi Bjorn, the BD2 in the regulation that you suggested works well as main overdrive on a fender hot road? I wonder why Bd2 and the amp has medium sculpted, will it pierce the mix in a band situation?
    Another issue: keeping the overdrive setting on Bd2 and putting it after a big Russian EHX muff, will work well as a booster? or do I have to change the Bd2 setting?
    thank you!

    • Bjorn says:

      The BD2 is fairly flat sounding or full range but it should have enough mids for it to cut through. Depends on your amp settings too obviously. It’s a great booster as well but you probably need to adjust the settings if you need it both for overdrive and boost. As a booster, you probably want to set it cleaner.

  3. piazzi says:

    I have both BOSS BD2 and Mooer Blue Mood

    To my ears, they sound the same. Mooer had a phat switch — maybe clone of Keely BD2 mod — that adds a slight amount of mids

  4. Lukas Schmidtke says:

    Thanks Bjorn for this review, and everything else on this site. I’m planning on getting a BD-2 with the (italian) MCE Germanium-mod, anytime soon. For anyone in Europe, interested reading this: Check them out on https://www.facebook.com/mceaudio/ …. it’s only 25€ !! listen to the modded pedal on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obRn6ErB5NE …. Cheers to everyone! I’m not getting paid, just being enthusiastic :)

  5. Bender Rodriguez says:

    I apreciatte a lot your job. Greetings! I’ve got one, just after seen you rewiev. It works really really great with my Katana 100 in clean channel. It sounds worst with the Vox AC4Blue. The same I can say on green russian.
    Another question is: when you say ” in front of X pedal..” what it means? Between that pedal and the amp or between that pedal and the guitar ?
    Thanks a lot!! Greetings again!!!

    • Bjorn says:

      Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different amps. The reason why you find the VOX not as suitable for those two pedals is that they both need a bit of mid range and compression to get that smooth tone and the Vox is quite the oposite. All explained in the feature.
      You can stack pedals in different ways depending on what you need. Having a booster in front of a high pedal (guitar > booster > distortion > amp) will add to the gain or distortion. Having a booster after the high gain pedal, which is what David does (guitar > distortion > booster > amp) adds to the tone and compression.

    • piazzi says:

      I can attest to what Bjorn says by experience gained based on the information provided on this site

      I have a bugera v22 which has a very clean clean channel, The EHX Russian reissue sounds like meh on it. Catalinbread karma suture sounds much worse

      I put the V22 in triode mode (its default is pentode), and that helped a lot

      then either pedal with gain around 9 going into a Wampler Tumnus Deluxe opens up nicely and give nice sounds

  6. Daniele says:

    Hi Bjorn, i just took a Fender hot rod Deluxe and i’m working to find good tone using a tube screamer clone first of the Big muff Green russian. The sound is not very smooth and it seems too fat. Could be a good idea try to replace the TS9 with a Blues driver? How does It sound with Fender Amps? Do you advice me some overdrive pedal particular good for the hot Rod Deluxe?

  7. Don says:

    Could you do a review on the EHX Soul Food? That pedal sounds heavenly and is great for Gilmour.

  8. Dave says:

    Great article! I can definitely vouch for the Keeley BD-2 mod for everything from 80’s to “Rattle That Lock” Gilmour. Roll off the tone knob, crank the gain and you can get his current tone for Sorrow and C. Numb. It almost turns into a fuzz! Add some chorus and you’ve got David’s 80’s and 90’s tone! The added headroom means you can stack it with a big muff or similar too.

  9. jeff Conrad says:

    Like most of us, I have several drive pedals floating around my gear boxes. I never really saw a need for the BD2 because I feel like I have everything covered. But your little demo and review have opened my eyes and ears to how much this little pedal can do on its own. I’ll definitely be picking one of these up, if for no other reason, just to have on my small rig. Cheers

  10. Scheckter Barreto says:

    Hi, Bjorn.
    Did you know the Anogueman blog post about Gilmour’s 2006 New York show? He mentioned the use of Celestion speakers in one of the WEM Cabs, mixing with the Fane in the other one. Is that correct? I don’t remember reading anything about it here.

    • Bjorn says:

      Yeah I saw that. I haven’t seen any comments on this from the Gilmour camp but I think AnalogMan mentions that one WEM cab had Celestion 75s in it. David also had Marshall cabs in 94 with Celestions.

  11. deniel b. pierrick says:

    hi- i am leaving a comment to say thank you for sharing your knowledge. i find myself looking at this site every day. cheers-

  12. Bernie Heerey says:

    That’s thee tone I love for slow atmospheric solos. Was you playing loud or was that just the magic combination of 69 pickups, Amp settings and the BD. Great playing as always Bjorn

    • Bjorn says:

      I wasn’t playing very loud. Too loud for a living room I guess but nothing near earshattering :) I guess it’s more about finding the sweetspot on the amp so that it can provide a nice platform for the pickups and pedal to shine. The amp is set clean but with the preamp pushing the tubes enough for a bit of that tube compression. I spent some time finding the right setting for the volume and tone and I use the guitar volume to control the amount of gain.

  13. Bib says:

    What was the song u played ?

  14. Michel Giroux says:

    Excellent demo!!!

  15. Thank you for that. I’m still There!
    Great feel and phrasing and of course…TONE.

  16. James Tea says:

    I have to say after buying dozens of non-Boss pedals, if I ever have to do it over again I will probably go back to Boss for the following reasons: Good sound, internal battery, large surface area switch and above all,,, Silent switch! the pedals I have with the exception of my delay are all traditional loud switches. When I’m recording in my room through a mic the switch sounds are audible and friends have commented, also they are no fun to use barefoot.

  17. G Jarvis says:

    Which Blues Driver would you recommend?

    • Bjorn says:

      The stock Boss model is very good but there are lots of clones and modified versions out there. I think most of them sound more or less the same with small variations. Usually with a slightly warmer top end and more balanced lows.

  18. -phil says:

    Awesome Bjorn! great playing and demo.

    Glad you took time to do this one. I’m a huge fan of the BD-2 and have THREE of them. One has the Keeley fat mod. I have a Butler Tube Driver and also Ibanez (Butler) Tube King. The tube pedals are great but have a large footprint and can be temperamental when used with other pedals at times. But yeah, the BD-2 is a very versatile and easy to use overdrive and works quite well as a straight up clean boost with the drive control on low settings. Anyway, I use the BD-2 in place of the tube pedals to good effect and it stacks well with other pedals.

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! IMO the BD2 is an excellent alternative for most of David’s tones. Maybe apart from the typical fuzz and Muff tones. It’s very easy to set up and you always get great tones with it.

  19. Ofir says:

    Mr. Bjorn, great tone and great playing! A hint on the amp settings (eq., volume, channel) and the flanger’s would be highly appreciated. Ofir.

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! I’m using the Laney Lionheart dirt channel and brigt mode, with the bass and mids around noon, treble and tone around 9:00. The ELady is set with the rate around 2:30, colour 9:30 and the range off. You’ll find the BD2 settings in the clip :)

      • Ofir says:

        And if I learned something from you, you set the drive channel on the verge of breakup…correct?

        • Bjorn says:

          Yes, how much depends on your pickups but you basically just want the compression of the tubes being pushed… not actual overdrive.

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