Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Overdrive Pedal Review
• Amazon: Boss BD-2 Blues Driver
Pros: This is a very versatile pedal offered at a great price.
Cons: The BD-2’s distortion may be a little abrasive to some ears – unless you shell out extra for the Keeley Phat Mod.
Overall: The Boss version strikes a great balance between affordability, durability, and versatility. The Keeley Phat Mod warms the tone.
The Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is a relatively inexpensive overdrive pedal featuring high quality Boss construction. It is much tamer than its orange cousin the DS-1, but it can put out a fair amount of distortion with the gain knob cranked up. The BD-2 is designed to be more of an overdrive pedal. It cleans up nearly all the way when the gain knob is turned all the way down, and it offers a range of subtle distortion.
Even at low levels of distortion I found the BD-2 to be buzzy and unpleasant, though the tone control was able to ameliorate this somewhat. The Blues Driver is ostensibly designed to emulate tube amp distortion, but I noticed little of the warmth and responsiveness I normally associate with tube overdrive. Like many of Boss’s distortion pedals, the BD-2 is offered at a great price considering the quality of its construction. For a user that likes the sounds it offers, it could be too good a deal to pass up.
An endearing feature of the BD-2 is its ability to clean up almost completely. With the gain knob all the way down, a Blues Driver can become a very good clean boost/cut pedal, with the level knob adding volume past 12:00 and cutting volume before 12:00. The BD-2 is inexpensive, durable, and quiet, making it a great option for a boost pedal. It may even have an edge over dedicated clean boost pedals because of its ability to get dirty on demand.
The BD-2 is a very versatile pedal. It can be used to control onstage volume, to drive the front end of a tube amplifier, or as a distortion pedal in its own right, with a wide range of light to moderate distortion sounds available. There are also many modifications available for the BD-2 that can turn it into a dirt box that will compare favorably to much more expensive pedals.
Keeley BD-2 Phat Mod
If you have a few extra bucks to spend, Robert Keeley offers a modded version of the original Boss BD-2 Blues Driver. The modded version adds a “phat” switch that beefs up the bottom end a bit and gives a little warmth. The Keeley mod also has sweeter high-end than the Boss Blues Driver. Finally, the Keeley mod has a blue light rather than a red light. While the differences may seem subtle, I personally prefer and own the the modded version.