Launched in 1978, the Boss DS-1 remains the longest production-run guitar pedal in history, and one of the best-selling, too. These accolades are owed to both its affordability and availability – you can pick one up for around $50 from most guitar stores with a pedal department.
But do these titles earn it respect amongst the guitar community? YouTuber KDH doesn't seem to think so.
As he explains in his latest video: “I think this little guitar deserves a lot of respect, but sadly, not everyone agrees. There seems to be a little bit of snobbery in the guitar pedal world, and when it comes to a mass-produced, cheaply-priced and easy-to-get-your-hands-on pedal like this, that just doesn't tick any of their boxes.
“The air of exclusivity with this demographic is a big seller, and this doesn't have any of that. I'm talking about the guys who would spend five grand on a pedal because of its supposed tone.”
So how does one inject a little exclusivity into such a readily available distortion pedal? Why, combine it with one of the most sought-after, of course: the Klon Centaur.
Designed in the 1990s by Bill Finnegan, the Centaur quickly gained an almost mythical reputation amongst pedal enthusiasts for its dynamic, midrange-rich drive, however it was discontinued in 2009.
“I think we've figured out what our target demographic want,” KDH says. “They like exclusivity – limited numbers – mystery in what components are used, and a nice paint job. I think we can do that.”
Using a replica Klon Centaur housing, the YouTuber gets to work reinventing the DS-1. He begins by giving the chassis a brand-new bright orange paint job, before inserting the DS-1 circuitry and adding some Boss knobs.
Finally, he adds the rubber footswitch pad from his now-empty DS-1, before adorning the Frankenstein pedal with some fresh 'Distortion DS-1' lettering.
And just like that, the Boss Klon DS-1 Centaur is born. “Admittedly, it's not as pristine as it could be, but it does what it set out to do,” KDH explains. “It's the only one in existence – it's rare.”
Whether KDH will go on to sell the pedal remains to be seen, but it'll have to go some way to beat the $2,000+ prices currently fetched by Boss's recently launched TB-2W Tone Bender…