Boss Waza Craft Blues Driver BD-2w
Boss effects are perhaps the most popular effects pedals company, world wide. Something being so popular often can bring upon many undue negative criticisms. But Boss is not the Backstreet Boys of pedals. They've remained popular for so long for good reason. Generally offering many very affordable pedals. You'll find them on pedal boards and floors of musicians just starting to pick up their instruments to touring professionals. Though Boss is always trying to push forward with innovation, a few pedals have stayed in production for many years. These are all time classics that have been relied upon ever since their initial release. There are however certain pedals no longer made, and certain modern features many players feel Boss pedals lack. This is where the new Boss Waza Craft series of pedals comes in. Using all high end components, true bypass, and a tweaked version of each pedal. A blast from the past and a step to the future all at once.
We at Rogue Guitar Shop are proud to bring you the new Boss Waza Craft Blues Driver! The original Blues Driver has always been one of my favorite overdrive pedals. Featuring discrete cascading FET drive stages, mimicing a tube amplifier and open tone. Given I tend to prefer FET drives, this has everything I look for in a drive. Like the original Blues Driver, the BD-2w features Volume, Drive, and Tone controls. But like all the Waza Craft series of pedals, the BD-2w has a toggle switch marked S and C for Stock and Custom respectively. Essentially Stock provides the classic tones we all know and enjoy while Custom is a tweaked version of the circuit in some way or form. Apparently created by some of the people with the best ears at Boss Japan. Like all Waza Craft series pedals this one features true bypass, a previously unheard of thing in the realm of Boss.
I must admit as a disclaimer; Expect extreme bias, as the Blues Driver is one of my all time favorite pedals. That said, it was never perfect, but is anything? After the tubes in my amp warmed up, I plugged in the BD-2w with the Volume set all the way up and the Gain all the way down. The Tone control was left in the center or flat position. All because I wanted to experience how the lovely transparent boost settings sound compared to a standard Blues Driver. The sounds I heard were exactly like those standard BD-2 boost settings. Unlike a Tube Screamer variant, the Blues Driver leaves the mids more or less well alone. This is an excellent thing for Marshall style amps with a mid hump and with Vintage 30 style speakers. This thing packs the ability to massively boost the front end of your amp. Even on the clean channel, I was able to coax some overdrive from my amp with just the boost setting. Try it and you'll see why so many people love to use boosters. But of course with the Blues Driver or BD-2w you get a lot more than just a simple booster!
Knocking the Volume control back to about 1:30 or 2:00, the Gain up to 9:00 and the Tone back to 9:00. I was still able to get a bit of a boost on my amp, like I said this thing has tons of volume on tap. This setting with the neck pickup of my Strat styled guitar is one of my all time favorite Blues Driver sounds. Just beautiful woody bluesy sweetness, I enjoy it even more than the OD from my amp, it's that good. I could use it in this setting for hours, but I wanted to dial in some more intensity. I tend to prefer to keep the Tone around 9:00 for my Strat. So I dial in my next favorite setting with the Strat styled guitar. That would be with the gain full up and the Volume and Tone in the same positions. Why jump to such an extreme? The Blues Driver features excellent guitar volume control cleanup! With the guitar volume control you can get anywhere from clean, to light breakup, to blues drive, to practically full on fuzz sounds! The Toggle switched to C added a little more midrange and sort of made the tone a bit more hi-fi. Kind of added a slight plexi or Voxy character to the drive, very cool. We love boss at Rogue Guitar Shop, and this just further helped cement that.
This is the ultimate Blues Driver, period. Everything you love about the BD-2 and more. If you've never given the BD-2 a chance, give this version a try. You're likely to be pleasantly surprised. However, for humbuckers, I'd only recommend the use of lower output ones. As higher output ones tend to drive it a little bit too much and limit the versatility. Not recommended for mid-scooped amps, except maybe the C setting. However you'd probably be better off with the Boss Super Overdrive.