• 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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86 Responsesso far.

  1. Rich P says:

    Hi Bjorn, I’m having a trouble getting my head around the dynamics of going between the rhythm and high gain lead sounds that one hears when listening to live performances and how to set the pedals accordingly.

    I often see DG playing rhythm during verses and choruses and it is often inaudible in the mix. Is it set that way at the soundboard or is he just rolling the guitar volume right back on his Tube Driver (BD-2 for me). And what is being played, does it tend to be just simple power or barre chords to provide some texture to the other instruments, given that he’s occupied with singing as well.

    Then, when the high gain solos come in, there’s a huge jump in volume to take the place of vocals. Is this just a case of switching a Muff or a boost pedal on or is there also somebody sitting at the desk anticipating the solos and pushing a slider accordingly?

    Hoping you can help with how this all works in practice. Rich.

    • Bjorn says:

      Apologies for the late reply. It’s a bit of both I guess. He’s using the guitar volume a lot to control both gain and volume. Looking at his pedalboard alone, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of volume boosting going on. He’s using the volume pedal for leads and I also suspect that the sound engineer is very hands on for all solos and dynamics during the show. Back in the days, they also used to send solos from both David and Rick in the Quad system, which required a lot of tweaking on the sound board during the show.

  2. Jeff says:

    Hello Bjorn,first,thank you so much for the site. I’ve been lurking on it for about 10 years,your reviews are always spot on. So,thank you so much for the work you put into it for everyone. One question,with the Laney amp & custom ’69 pickups in mind. If you had to replace the blues driver with something a bit better quality,but with the same tone/sound,what would you suggest? I love the tone of the bd2 but when the gain is higher than 10:00 the drive has a spattery quality to it that is driving me nuts (bad pun) thank you & God bless.

    • Bjorn says:

      That’s part the nature of the BD2, at least the stock model, and how it will react to the Lionheart, which will compress higher gain to some extent. I guess a modded BD2 will do better but my favourite overdrives with the Lionheart is the Buffalo TDX and Vick Audio Tree of Life. They sound amazing with the amp. It’s also worth checking out the EHX Crayon, which is kind of a mix between the Tube Driver and OCD tonewise.

      • Jeff says:

        Thanks Bjorn. I’m using a 5 watt blackheart as my home setup ,and a marshall plexi as my main rig.Both are nmv amps with a adequate amount of headroom,not ideal.My blues driver is a keeley modded one. I’m attempting to create the clean powerboost tones as well as the tube driver tones like the solo on poles apart as a example with one pedal. You mentioned the crayon,do you think the hot wax would be worth looking at to cover both? Thank you for your time.

  3. Liberato says:

    Hi, I’m a fan of gilmour and like so many I’m trying to emulate according to my personal taste and as much as possible his sound. I’ve seen all your videos on YouTube, and I’d love to get your opinion on some pedals and sound setting since you’ve had the chance to try them. In particular I liked the reviews on the boss ds2 and on the baffalo t dx. They are two pedals from the sound and the price range very different. It is well known that David used several muffs to which he matched powerboosters or a tube driver. Now, being the buffalo a clone of the tube driver would it be the best choice? Or the boss maybe with a slight modification can make better by spending less? Which one is more suitable for slightly distorted sounds? (example the only shine on you crazy diamond) And can it also be used as a big muff booster (i own a jhs muffuletta)? Or would you even recommend a totally different pedal, perhaps more similar to the powerbooster (I’m not aware of similar pedals, I would appreciate suggestions)? Thank you in advance for your possible reply and congratulations on your work on YouTube, I really like your content, keep up the good work.

    • Bjorn says:

      What amp and pickups are you using?

      • otarebiL says:

        Amp: Marshall jcm 800 lead series. Pickup: fat 50, fat 69, seymour duncan ssl 5

        • Bjorn says:

          The Boss BD2 is hard to beat and it will go nicely with your amp. So will the Tueb Driver or TDX from Buffalo FX. They’re very similar, although the Boss has a tad more mids and compression. Do also check out the EHX Crayon for similar sounds.

          • JMurad says:

            Hi Bjorn – can you please share your amp settings for this video? Or your general amp settings for Gilmour tones? I saw your page with his HiWatt settings, but I’m curious if yours are the same on the Laney. Thanks!

            • Bjorn says:

              The Lany is a very different sounding amp so Hiwatt settings would’t apply. I can’t remember the settings I used for this clip but I usually use the clean channel, bright mode, bass and mids around 3:00, treble 9:00 and tone 12:00.

  4. David says:

    Hi Bjorn! I wanted to ask you about pedal stacking, because I’ve been getting a great Gilmour tone using my Laney Lionheart L20t, and FOUR stacked drive pedals, one of which is a compressor. I’ve been going into my MXR Dynacomp mini, into a BD2, into a T-Rex Hobo Drive, into the Vick Audio Tree of Life. The BD2 is always on, as is the compressor. Then I’ll either add in the Hobo, which I have at a lower gain setting, or the Vick (high gain), or sometimes both. Is it crazy to run drive pedals this way? Do you ever stack more than two gain pedals? Does Dave?

    • Bjorn says:

      Nothing is crazy as long as you get the tones you want and need. Obviously, stacking several pedals can cause noise, too much gain and compression etc. I often have three gain pedals going, like a compressor and Tube Driver and a second overdrive, like the Charlie Brown, for a bit of gain and presence for solos. David often does something similar, with compressor > Muff > TD.

      • David says:

        Yes, it’s true, there is some noise with the gain setup I described. But I love the tones. I think I have to figure out a way to get there the way you describe… compressor and 2 drives, instead of 3. It pains me to say this, because it’s always been my favorite pedal, but I’m thinking of taking the BD2 off the board. The HOBO turns out to be a really great low gain pedal. Anyway, you’re a tone genius, Bjorn… I think I just wanted you to tell me it’s not crazy. Thank you.

  5. Uwe says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Please what would be your choice to emulate the Tube Driver at a budget price? Boss Bd 2 Keeley modified version ? ( if yes what would be your setting included phat switch ? Strat with CS69 used ) or any other pedal in the same price range?
    I m playing trough a 1973 Sound City head like you used to.

  6. Douglas Echaiz says:

    How do you set the Mooer ElecLady ?

  7. Tim says:

    Hey Bjorn, I’ve seen you mention that the BD2 can cover for a Power Boost. I just picked up a Vick Audio Rams Head 73 and also have a silicone Fuzz Face. I want to try copping some tones with the BD2 (actually the Mooer clone). Can you recommend some rough settings to get me in the ballpark?

    • Bjorn says:

      The settings obviously depends on your amp, pickups etc but a good place to start for boosting is level around unity, tone 10:00 and gain at edge of breakup.

      • Tim says:

        Thanks man. That’s kinda close to what I came up with on my own with the Blues Driver so at least I’m on the right track. I’ve also been experimenting with a Timmy after the 73 which is pretty cool too. You have any thoughts on stacking a Muff with a Timmy?

  8. Jason says:


    I ordered the Green Russian muff and it sounds awesome with my setup. Thank you for your expert advice!


  9. Jason says:


    Great website! I have a Marshall JTM 60 and a BD-2, and I’m considering getting a Big Muff. Does the BD-2 work well with Big Muffs as a boost / compressor? If so, which Big Muff version would you recommend? Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! Not sure if you need to boost the Muff on a Marshall. It’s a pretty aggressive, compressed and mid rangy amp… even when set clean. But yes, the BD2 is a great pedal to stack with Muffs. I’d check out the EHX Green Russian or something similar based on the 90s Sovtek models. They often work better on Marshall and similar amps.

  10. Francesco Cagnacci says:

    Hi bjorn. could you help me to use this pedal? I love it as an overdrive and sometimes use it as a fuzz but I wanted to try and use it as a booster and overdrive to stack it with my distortion pedal (mxr super badass distortion). any suggestions? Should I place it in front or before the distortion and what kinda settings I should use? I have an hiwatt t40 combo with settings similar to gilmours and a strat with custom shop 69 fender pickups. thanks a lot

    • Francesco Cagnacci says:

      I use the distortion as a muff boosting bass (2 o clock), scooping the mids (10/11 o clock) and adding a little bit of treble (1 o clock)

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on what tones you want and how you want to boost the Badass. A booster in front adds more gain. A booster after, adds more EQ and volume. Try this for a start: volume sligtly above unity level, tone 9:00-10:00, gain 9:00. You might want to tweak that depending on how hot your pickups are and how you’ve set the Badass.

      • Francesco Cagnacci says:

        Thank you very much! I changed the settings to the badass to mids at noon so when I engage it I don’t lose volume and I use the bd2 as a gain booster for solos! thank you very much

  11. Jeff says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    Could you please give me some suggestions for a good old fashioned blues tone signal chain setup. I don’t have a blues driver but do have most other pedals that you’d find in David’s setup. Thanks


  12. Fabio says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    how do you compare the BD2 with the Wampler Plexi Drive? Differencies and similarities between the two?
    Thanks in advance.

  13. Is the Robert Keeley modified version?

  14. William Walton says:

    Just seen this vid, looks like he had a humbucker added to his strat in 1974

  15. Will Fly says:

    I know you mentioned some pedals only work with certain amps. Will the BD2 work pretty well with any amp, or do you need hot tubes for it to sound right? Thanks!

  16. Mike samson says:

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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 :)

  20. 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

  21. 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?

  22. Don says:

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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-

  27. 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.

  28. Bib says:

    What was the song u played ?

  29. Michel Giroux says:

    Excellent demo!!!

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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. -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.

  34. 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.

        • Robert Horton says:

          Hello Bjorn,
          Do you think the boss bd2 would be an appropriate pedal for my fender twin reverb amp running into a celestian v30 1×12 speaker. Using an epiphone les paul with coil splitting buckers push pull knob set as single coil. I hear the bd2 is mid humped but also read its mid scooped, so not sure? Thanks for your advice and assistance. Ty, Rob h.

          • Bjorn says:

            Yes, I think it will work nicely. The amp is fairly bright though, so I’d be careful with the tone control on the pedal. The BD2 is more of a full range overdrive, meaning that there’s very little going on EQwise, as opposed to a TS, which has very little bass but a lot of mids.

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