Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 126

VG APPROVED GEAR

THROWBACK
THREE-FER
The Boss Box 40

F

or players of a certain vintage, there's
something gratifying about an oldschool compact Boss pedal at your feet. Even
with the evolution of more-sophisticated
pedals, those bright, uniform boxes reliably
recall a formative time.
Boss is celebrating its compact pedal line
with Box 40, a special-edition set containing
reissues of the three that introduced the
compact series in 1977 - the OD-1 Over
Drive, PH-1 Phaser, and SP-1 Spectrum.
Affectionately known as the "traffic light"
set, this throwback three-fer is a chance to
reclaim a piece of the past.
Like the originals, the reissues were
manufactured in Japan, and Boss took pains
to faithfully reproduce the early circuits in all
their buffered-bypass glory. Design specs were
followed closely and components tweaked
by hand to match original response characteristics. Whether a player is nostalgic for a

Price: $899.99 (street)
Info: www.boss.info

first-generation model or they rocked a later
Boss with more bells and whistles, they'll appreciate the classic tones and blissfully simple
functionality - two knobs and the truth.
The OD-1 was a groundbreaker in '77
and the first in the Boss compact line. At
a time when the smooth-edged sound of
an overdriven amp wasn't yet available in a
stompbox, the company secured a patent on
asymmetrical clipping-emulating tube distortion. Producing a soft, compressed overdrive,
the OD-1 fattens a lead line and enables a chewy
distortion for rhythms. A nice range of warm
saturation is available within the sweep of the
Over Drive control. The drive is tight in the
bottom, big in the middle, and versatile, while

VINTAGE GUITAR

126

January 2018

not especially transparent.
Though there is no Tone
control, you won't miss it;
instead, pick attack, guitar volume, and pickup
selection can be used
to draw out a biting
crunch, subtle buzz,
or soaring lead tone.
The PH-1 is dark
and swarshy, with
that rich sound
characteristic of
vintage phasers.
Distinct effects
are available
b y w o r king its Rate
and Depth
knobs. The
phasing
gets thick
as you twist
Depth past
12 o'clock
and transition to a subtler background wash by
dialing Rate back toward 9 o'clock. The Rate
slows all the way down to 16-second cycles
and up to 100 ms, which yields a Leslie effect.
There's a Uni-Vibe sound hiding in here, too,
not to mention a built-in dry/wet mix, with
the dry signal out front and never at risk of
being drowned.
Finally, the SP-1 Spectrum, with its circuit
borrowed from early Roland amplifiers, is
like a single-band parametric EQ. Frequency
between 500 Hz and 5 kHz can be selected
with the Spectrum knob and then emphasized or deemphasized using the Balance
control. The SP-1 is a bit of an odd duck
but Boss has always been good with usable
guitar EQ. A fixed-wah effect is easily dialed
in. Tee up a tone to cut through the band,
such as a high-mid boost for a honky, twangy
solo. It's also great in conjunction with the
OD-1 to hone in on feedback frequencies.
Boss indulged just a few modernizations
for the reissues, including a PSA-compatible
power supply with a protection circuit and
noise filter; reinforced battery snaps; and
an on/off LED indicator. It says these are
one-time-only reissues and that a total of
1,500 boxed sets will be produced. Upping
the ante for collectors, the pedals in each
have matching serial numbers and the
presentation includes a note from Boss'
president imprinted with the same number.
- Rich Maloof


http://www.boss.info

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 4
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 5
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Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - Contents
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