“This is going to sound really f**king strange”: Joe Bonamassa says his go-to BOSS dirt pedal is the Metal Zone – here’s why the blues ace rates the metal monster

Joe Bonamassa and the much-loved Boss MT-2 Metal Zone
(Image credit: Boss / Scott Legato / Getty Images)

Joe Bonamassa has revealed his favorite BOSS dirt pedal is, somewhat surprisingly, a legendary high-gain distortion developed for metalheads, the MT-2 Metal Zone.

It’s fair to say that if you’d have asked us to predict Bonamassa’s favorite BOSS distortion pedal, the Metal Zone would not have been high up our list. And yet that is exactly the choice he makes when put on the spot in the new issue of Guitarist magazine.

“My favourite BOSS dirt pedal – and I know this is going to sound really fucking strange – is the [MT-2] Metal Zone,” reveals Bonamassa. 

“Being a child of the ’80s, I really dug the Metal Zone. I was a Metal Zone guy. I thought you could get some cool midrange things out of it with a clean amp. Just because it’s called the Metal Zone, that doesn’t mean you need to run the gain all the way up.”

We’re pretty sure Bonamassa is not alone in using the Metal Zone outside of the genre. Indeed, the unit is one of the firm’s best-sellers, having shifted some one million units since its launch in 1991. 

Boss MT-2-3A 30th Anniversary Metal Zone

(Image credit: Olly Curtis/Future)

As the blues rock ace points out, while it was developed to make heavy riffing and saturated sounds really sing, the MT-2 is packed with killer tones

For a start, there’s a three-band EQ with a parametric mid control (meaning you can tweak the effected midrange), plus a 15dB boost or cut on each band, offering a lot of flexibility, and some surprisingly smooth sustain – all of which are considerably more universal tools.

Incredibly, the BOSS MT-2 also found fame outside of music back in 2022 – when its schematics were repurposed online by conspiracy theorists as faked evidence the Covid-19 vaccine contained an implanted 5G chip.

Sadly, we can confirm the vaccine and subsequent booster shots did not come with a BOSS pedal – otherwise, we would have a pretty respectable signal chain going by now. On the plus side, the MT-2’s brush with fame did inspire a Clutch track.

As you may know, the MT-2's maker, BOSS celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, announcing a glittering trio of compact pedals to celebrate.

This month, Guitarist magazine includes a free supplement dedicated to 50 Years of BOSS. Click here to download it as a digital version or here for a 'digital page-turner' on Issu.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.