“The SD-1 was my first important Boss pedal. I’ve always called it the $50 Marshall upgrade”: Tracii Guns reveals what’s on his pedalboard

Tracii Guns and his pedalboard
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

“When I started it was all about creating more gain and distortion. While I began with MXR pedals, the Boss stuff kicked that into hyperdrive for me – and the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive was my first important Boss pedal. I’ve always called it the $50 Marshall upgrade. My philosophy has changed over the years, but not by much. I still go back to my initial desire to emulate Jimi Hendrix, Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen.

“I still use Boss stuff. If you’re putting your board together with your ears rather than your eyes – you know Boss makes some fucking rad pedals. You don’t have to use the crazy boutique stuff to get good sounds. With that in mind, my board begins with a Boss Chromatic Tuner, which feeds into my OC-5 Octave, the brown one. Man, what a great pedal. I’ve always loved it.

“Next is – and all of these are Boss – my PH-3 Phase Shifter, which leads to the SD-1w Super Overdrive. I mentioned that earlier, and honestly, it’s still as essential today as it was back in ’88 during the first L.A. Guns record. I can’t stress how much I love it. But the big difference now is that I use the Waza Craft version. It’s such an upgrade. As much as I love my original SD-1, the SD-1w nails it.

Tracii Guns' Pedalboard

(Image credit: Courtesy of Tracii Guns)

“After that, I’ve got a Fuzz, which is also a Waza Craft [FZ-1w], and that feeds into the ST-2 Power Stack, which feeds into my DM-2w Waza Craft Delay. Again, that Waza stuff is the shit; it’s totally gnarly. From there, the Delay snakes up and over to another Boss Waza Craft, my CE-2w Chorus. Oh, and I’ve got this crazy RE-2 Space Echo; it’s the dark green one, and it’s just insane.

“These pedals have served me well over the years. There have been a few versions of the board, but it’s always been something similar. I have a tongue-in-cheek saying that ‘pedals make you a better player,’ but they really don’t. But they do make you more hirable because you can create more sounds. It’s like, ‘My Crayon box is bigger than yours.’”

If I had to chose one pedal for a full show...

“The SD-1w. When I hit the stage, I usually have my 50-watt Marshall with me, so if I want to pair that with only one pedal to get my classic sound, I need the Super Overdrive. But I love my Boss delay, so that’s the runner-up.”

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is a contributing writer at Guitar World, a staff writer for Copper and Rock Candy Magazine, and a steady contributor for Goldmine Magazine. In 2019, Andrew founded VWMusic, a successful outlet that covers music in all its forms. A guitar junkie at heart, Andrew is proud to have interviewed favorites including Joe Perry, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Steve Vai, Richie Ranno, Brian May, and many more. Some of his favorite bands are KISS, Oasis, Spread Eagle, and Starz.