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Picture of Boss DS-1 grit mod
The Boss DS-1 distortion pedal is a simple and cheap pedal with a fizzy high pitch distortion and a very scooped mid, the perfect starting point for some playing around.

In this instructable I'll show you how to mod your boss ds-1 in only three steps and alter it's sound character radically. I call it the grit mod and it's part all-seeing eye mod and part my own half assed tonestack mod.

Step 1: Swapping the clipping diodes

Picture of Swapping the clipping diodes
The ds-1 has two clipping diodes before the distortion stage, D4 and D5.
By exchanging one or both of these to LED, the character of the distortion is changed to a softer less fizzy distortion, more "tube like" as some like to say.

I started by desoldering D5 and exchanging it with a LED, the result was a more growling distortion with a lot less gain, instead of breaking into crazy fizzy distortion right away the distortion knob went from almost clean with some dirt to full on distortion with a bit of fizz on top, it also made the bass response better, and the dynamic range got a lot bigger, you can go from clean by rolling off some volume on your guitar and by playing a bit harder it starts to break up.

After successfuly swapping D5 I decided to go ahead and alter D4. This time I did it the all-seeing eye way by desoldering the +side of the diode, soldering in the +side of a LED and then soldering their loose legs together.
this gave me a bit more gain, some more volume on the volume knob and a softer more fuzzlike top end.
GerardO61 year ago
hi there. when you added an adjustable resistance parallel to R16, do you take out R16? or do u leave it in there and add the potentiometer to R16? thanks for this great post!!
d34dmeat (author)  GerardO61 year ago
I just left R16 in there, but if you can remove it ant use a 10 k pot, that's much better
Torabisu771 year ago

This is a great DIY...thanks :-) I have used IRF520 MOSFETS for the D4 n D5 which sound amazing.....but.....Did you wire the 250KOhm Potentiometer replacing the original resistor?

d34dmeat (author)  Torabisu771 year ago
I did it the lazy way and just soldered it on in parallel because 220k was what i had lying around, it would be better with a 6.8k replacing the original
Thanks for the answer. Appreciated!! I will do the same as you have done but will add a mini 250K OHM A Curve potentiometer....should be fine....that way I can fit next to the tone on the volume side after doing the Keeley MOD....may work....see what happens....

Any sound samples of your MOD??

What kind of sweep do you get frequency wise?? Low mids to mids to scooped sweep??

Thanks for your time


Tokyo Japan
d34dmeat (author)  Torabisu771 year ago
Sorry no sound samples and it's not a frequency sweep, it works like a tonestack so it basically cuts the mids like a parametric eq, the larger the resistance the more it cuts. My solution with the parallel pot is not optimal since most of the action comes at the end of the pot's travel so I would really recommend using a 10k pot and replacing R16. Good luck with your project!
So do I just change the diodes to LEDs
d34dmeat (author)  Mutatedmexican4 years ago
yes, just make sure you put them in the right direction

in the original schem you have two parallel diodes, going to opposite directions. that is the key, you have to put the diodes in the same manner, one going to a to b and one from b to a, but it doesn't matter if they don't match the symbols on the pcb, as long as you have two diodes going to opposite directions.

d34dmeat (author)  Renegadrian4 years ago
that's very true, they basically connect to the same two points in the schematic but they clip opposite sides of the waveform, some argue that having unsymetrical clipping is more pleasant and that's why I modded them differently.

Nice idea! Thanks for sharing!

d34dmeat (author)  MsSweetSatisfaction5 years ago