In a slight change of pace from some of my more recent reviews this is of a pedal that I own. I didn’t borrow it. But as with all reviews I have not been paid to write this, the opinions within the following text are my own.
The Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is a budget overdrive pedal. It is very basic in design, enclosed within the standard Boss single foot switch box. It is a workhorse of a pedal. there are no frills, no elaborate graphics, and no gimmicks. This is not a bad thing. It does what it says it should, and as far as I’m aware Boss pedals are indestructible.
There are three knobs on the BD-2: level, tone and gain. They are quite self explanatory. The level as the name suggests controls the output of the pedal, keep It inline with your amp to colour the tone, or increase it to use the BD-2 as a boost. The tone alters the overall colouring of the tone, from dull and toneless, to cutting sound with the tone up full. The Gain as you would expect controls the amount of distortion that the pedal outputs. I would say that the BD-2 is very versatile as it can be used as a semi clean boost through to an almost grungy dirt. It does as you would expect produce some very nice sounds for a blues tone.
I have only used the BD-2 with a tube amp, so cannot comment on how it affects a solid state. It plays very nicely with a tube amp. If the amp is just on the point of breakup the BD-2 pushes it just over the edge and gives your sound a slight snarl.
My favourite way to use it is as a lead boost. I have my Fredrics Golden Eagle going into the BD-2. The Golden Eagles is always on keeping the amp just on the point of breakup, and boosting my clean signal. Then when I need a little bit more of a crunch the BD-2 pushes that extra bit. My only slight gripe is that the sound can be quite shrill if the tone is pushed too far. I’ve found that I like it set as it is shown in the photographs. It just rounds over the sound slightly without sounding to shrill.
At the price I got it for the BD-2 is exceptional value for money. I paid £25 for a used example (including postage). But even at full price it is one that I would consider. £85 wouldn’t break the bank and it plays very well with other dirt pedals. The BD-2 is something that is always talked about as something that a beginner should try out and I can safely say that I am impressed enough with it to recommend it. Its very basic, but if this is what you need it does the job. If you have a few dirt pedals and just want something a little bit more, before spending lots on a dirt pedal with more options, maybe try adding something like this to your board and seeing how it works with the rest of your set up.
- Relatively cheap, can be very inexpensive second hand
- Built like a tank
- Good dependable overdrive tones
- Can be battery powered if needed
- Graphics aren’t Boss’s strong point, so if you don’t like the visuals of Boss pedals look elsewhere
- Can be a little weedy, especially at the top end of the tone knob.