• David Gilmour on a Budget – Boss SD-1

    In this video we’ll examine the classic Boss SD-1. Is it capable of replicating David Gilmour’s Tube Driver tones?

    The SD-1 came out of the OD-1 – one of the first ever compact overdrive pedals. Like the Tube Screamer, it has a noticeable mids boost but a tad more low end and gain.

    The SD-1, like the Tube Screamer, needs a bit of hair from the amp otherwise it tends to sounds thin and dull. I’ve set the Laney Lionheart up for just a tiny amount of gain – not much but enough for the tubes to add a bit of compression.

    Is the SD-1 capable of replicating David Gilmour’s Tube Driver tones? Well, you tell me but for a fraction of the price of the Tube Drive and the fact that just about any guitar store carries these, the SD-1 offer a very affordable and great sounding alternative.

    I’ve added a bit of delay with a TC Electronic Flashback set up with 440ms and 7 repeats. At the end of the clip, I’ve added a Boss CE-2 chorus for a bit of that mid 90s flavour.

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

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17 Responsesso far.

  1. Jason Luong says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    The SD1 sounds great!

    What’s that last solo?

  2. Brad Roller says:

    I mean, what can you say? We at this community sometimes over think and over look these simple pedals. We have all gotten hung up in that “GAS” mode where expensive means best, or Gilmour used it so i have to have it, kind of deal, but here you have proven you could go to a gig, with your strat and amp, this over drive, a delay, and a chorus and cover almost all of davids tones. And people listening wouldn’t even know the difference. Awesome stuff bjorn! Keep it up bro!

    • Bjorn says:

      Thank you and good point! The “danger” of all this boutique stuff is that the quest for tone overshadows tone it self. And we forget that back in the 70s and 80s, none of these pedals were boutique or anything fancy. Boss, Ibanez, Electro Harmonix, MXR etc are used on so many classic recordings so why overcomplicate things? If you want classic rock then get a SD1 or Distortion +. Simple as that :)

  3. simalex says:

    this is a great demo — sounds great. the SD-1 is an underrated offering from boss.

    • Bjorn says:

      It’s one of the best selling pedals of all time but in regards to David’s tones I would definitely say that it’s underrated.

  4. Phil says:

    That sounds delicious. I can see a pedal purchase on the horizon :) Thanks for the video.

  5. Ofir says:

    Mr. Bjorn,
    Let alone your superb playing, the tone is absolutely devine. I guess you put the sd1 in front of the amp and pushed the clean channel a bit. Of course, this method would not work for bedroom levels. I wonder if I could get that tone putting the pedal in the effects loop and tame the clean channel volume with the pedal volume in a way that would push the preamp stage but would keep the overall volume suitable for bedroom playing. What’s your take on that?
    Enjoyed your review, Ofir.

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for the kind words! I used the gain channel actually. I prefer that with pedals to get a bit more compression and mids going on from the Lionheart. It wasn’t very loud but probably too loud for a bedroom. Not sure if the SD-1 will work in the loop as it has a lot of compression and mids. It might sound a bit flat but having boosters and gain pedals in the loop is a great little trick to beef up the amp without having to play very loud. Read more about that on my site.

  6. -phil says:

    Another great demo Bjorn and follow-up to the BD-2 episode. I have a couple of these with the most recent addition being an early “black label” that I got for $25. They sound great and stack well with other pedals (including the BD-2). Another Boss gem you might want to check out if you haven’t already is the OD-3. IMO the OD-3 addresses the age old complaint about Tubescreamer type overdrives (including the SD-1) having the proverbial mid-range hump. The OD-3 has a much flatter open EQ and is very dynamic. I actually have all 3 on my pedalboard most of the time along with a MIJ DS-1 (s/n 100!).

    I noticed that you keep the tone control set on the low side at approximately 9:00. I think this is key when using this range of pedals. i.e., BD-2, SD-1, etc. Depending on the amp EQ of course but in my experience they perform quite well when dialed in.

    Thanks again for the great demo and tasteful playing.

  7. Arya Boustani says:

    Thanks for the review. Sounds pretty close to 90s+ DG tone. It probably can benefit from an EQ pedal as well to make it more fat sounding and reducing some of that roughly 1.5k frequency sticking out. I’m wondering if a compressor like CS2 which is good for adding low-mid frequency body to the tone would help. It’s good that you have gain channel on Laney. I don’t have such option on Reeves Custom 50. I mean there is the drive knob that drives the last stage of the tube but it’s already loud with 8.5 o’clock and there is no master volume (downstream of the last tube). I have one that has PS but PS controls the voltage to the power tube and runs it in starved situation which sounds thin and to my ears not nice at all! It’s more loss than gain (literally :)) I think running SD-1 to another pedal (like Vick Audio Overdriver) perhaps can help in my situation. Any other downstream pedal you think could have that minor gain complementing role in this situation?

    • Bjorn says:

      What you hear is a pure recorded signal so it would obviously have sounded different with a bit of EQ and compression and in a band mix. Your Reeves should be able to provide a bit of breakup and compression on low volume as well. It has a lot of headroom but it certainly ads some grit when you crank the pre-amp volume above noon and towards 2-3 o’clock. Depends on your pickups obviously but you really don’t need much. Just enough for the tubes to compress the tone a bit and that will give you a much smoother and dynamic platform for the pedals.

  8. jeff Conrad says:

    I can’t make a rational judgement about the SD-1 because I have been using one for so long it just sounds like an old friend to me. Probably the biggest difference between the tube screamer and the sd-1 is that the tubescreamer can sound better into a clean solid state amp than the SD-1 which really only shines through a tube amp on the edge of breakup. Definitely, for the price, there’s no reason every guitar player shouldn’t have an SD-1. It’s a good cheap tool that will serve you well for several lifetimes.

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