Top 10 Rarest Boss Guitar Effect Pedals: Myths and Realities

Introduction

Boss effect pedals hold a special place within the coveted sphere of guitar equipment. With their unique tonal characteristics, cultural significance, and limited availability, they are musical gems that continue to influence the soundscapes of contemporary music. In this article, we’ll journey through the top 10 rarest Boss pedals, exploring their distinct qualities, debunking prevalent myths, and making educated predictions about their future prices. These are the coveted objects of desire for collectors and musicians alike, each carrying a piece of Boss’s rich sonic legacy.

1. Boss TB-2W Tone Bender

Based on the legendary Sola Sound Tone Bender MK II, the TB-2W was a collaboration between Boss and Sola Sound in 2020. Limited to just 3000 units worldwide, the demand for this high-quality reproduction has outstripped supply, leading to skyrocketing resale prices. Given its limited production, excellent craft, and Boss’ reputation for durable pedals, prices are likely to continue climbing. One myth surrounding the TB-2W is that it contains original NOS transistors, but in fact, it features carefully selected modern transistors for consistent performance.

2. Boss SP-1 Spectrum

Introduced in 1977, this is one of the original three Boss compact pedals. The SP-1 is an EQ/booster pedal, best known for its use by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Given its place in music history, and its rarity, the SP-1 often fetches four-figure sums. However, the myth of an ‘original tone secret’ has inflated its value. Its price is likely to remain stable, driven by its historical significance and scarcity, rather than any unique tonal characteristics.

3. Boss DS-1 Black Label

Made in Japan during the early years of Boss (1978-1982), the Black Label DS-1 is revered for its warmer, more dynamic tone than later iterations. Prices have been rising due to scarcity and increasing demand. The myth is that all Made in Japan (MIJ) DS-1s have the black label, but that’s not accurate. Only early models do. The popularity and continued price rise are anticipated due to the increasing rarity and iconic status of the MIJ DS-1.

4. Boss DM-2 Delay

Another early “Made in Japan” pedal, the DM-2 is known for its warm, analog delay. Despite the subsequent release of a Waza Craft version, the original DM-2 maintains its allure due to its MN3005 BBD chips, responsible for its unique tone. The notion that all DM-2 pedals use these chips isn’t true – later models used MN3205 chips, causing slight tonal differences. The DM-2’s price is expected to rise as analog delay pedals continue to be revered in the guitar world.

5. Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal (Made in Japan)

Released in the early 80s, the HM-2 is the defining pedal of the “Swedish death metal” sound. The Made in Japan versions are notably rarer and offer a slight edge in tone over the later made in Taiwan versions. Myths about the HM-2 often exaggerate these differences, but most guitarists won’t notice. Prices are likely to rise, driven by the continuing popularity of the “buzzsaw” tone.

6. Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz

Known for its association with Electric Wizard, the FZ-2 was a commercial flop upon its release in the 90s but has since gained a cult following. Its unique, extreme fuzz tones are hard to replicate, which keeps prices high. It’s often mistaken as an all-purpose fuzz, but its unique voice is more suited to certain genres. As stoner and doom metal continue to grow, so too will the value of the FZ-2.

7. Boss SG-1 Slow Gear

Another of the original compact pedals, the SG-1 mimics the sound of a violin’s bow on strings. Its unconventional effect has been reissued by other manufacturers, but original units are still sought after. A common myth is that the SG-1 cuts signal completely, while it merely reduces volume dynamically. Its price will remain high due to its uniqueness and the growing popularity of ambient music.

8. Boss VB-2 Vibrato

Produced for only a few years in the 80s, the VB-2 was largely overlooked until recent years. Its true pitch-shifting vibrato has made it a coveted pedal for experimental musicians. The misconception is that it’s a simple tremolo pedal, but it offers much more depth. As more guitarists explore soundscapes, the VB-2’s price is likely to rise.

9. Boss DC-2 Dimension C

Released in the mid-80s, the DC-2 was a stereo chorus pedal with a uniquely rich sound. Despite the Waza Craft reissue, original DC-2 pedals are desirable for their nostalgic, lush chorus tones. Some believe it to be a standard chorus pedal, but its sound can’t be precisely replicated by modern pedals. Given the resurgence of 80s music styles, its value should continue to grow.

10. Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble

The CE-1 was Boss’s first-ever pedal, which makes it a significant collector’s item. It’s famous for its lush, warm chorus and vibrato, making it a staple of many famous recordings. The myth that the CE-1 is identical to a Roland JC-120’s built-in chorus isn’t entirely accurate – they’re similar, but the CE-1 is warmer and more nuanced. The historic importance of the CE-1 alone should see its price steadily rise.

Conclusion

These top 10 rarest Boss pedals have left an indelible mark on music history, and they’re much sought-after for both their unique tones and their roles in the annals of guitar effects. The future should see their prices continue to rise – not merely as effects pedals but as treasured pieces of musical heritage.

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