40 Years of Boss Pedals




Located in London’s edgy Waterloo quarter, the House of Vans appears, on first impression, fairly unassuming. Accessible by a walk down the famous Leake Street, a haven for world class graffiti artists, the entrance is announced only by a small sign bearing the iconic Vans logo. Descending down into the tunnels beneath Waterloo station there is a distinctly subterranean feel to proceedings which is in keeping with the underground origins of the skateboarding subculture in which Vans apparel first made its name. The skate park is silent tonight though as a crowd of musicians, industry experts and equipment enthusiasts assemble to celebrate another bastion of modern culture, one as synonymous with dark and dingy basements as it is with packed out stadiums of excited music fans. This is the venue for the launch party of a week of events honouring the history and the legacy of the BOSS Corporation.

Originally founded in 1973, BOSS began producing its range of compact “stomp box” style effects pedals in 1977, starting with the OD-1 overdrive pedal, the PH-1 phaser, the SP-1 and GE-1 parametric and graphic equalizers, the CS-1 compressor and the TW-1 Automatic Wah Pedal. On entering the pop up exhibition commemorating 40 years of BOSS innovation you are immediately drawn to a large glass case containing one of each of the some 119 different models which the company has produced throughout its history culminating in the JB-2 Angry Driver, a new collaboration with JHS pedals, making its public debut this evening. Also on display is an impressive array of vintage BOSS and Roland gear which includes guitars, tape echo units, amps and synthesizers, all of which showcase the innovatory spirit of the BOSS engineers and designers. One of the most striking exhibits is the Strandberg V-BDN; a new model of guitar which the company says “fuses the compelling designs of Swedish guitar maker Strandberg with the advanced guitar synth and modelling technologies from BOSS”.


Arguably the centrepiece of the entire exhibition is a specially designed and produced piece by Burntaxe; a small Brighton based company which is taking the custom audio equipment market by storm with its advanced laser-etching process. The piece, manufactured at the Burntaxe workshop, consists of a wooden plinth on which are mounted 10 unique DS1 distortion pedals, each with their own serial number and engraved with an intricate design based on plans for the original DS-1 circuit board from 1978. The company’s founders Tom Lamont and Michelle Mealor are both in attendance and both beaming with pride that their creation is taking centre stage among such a prestigious collection. Tom tells me with great enthusiasm what it means to him to be given such an opportunity. “We were so honoured to be contacted by BOSS to create this piece for their 40th Anniversary, as an avid fan and user of BOSS effects pedals it’s really exciting to be a part of something like this”.


With the exhibition set to continue until the 17th of September, plus a range of performances, demos and workshops which are sure “to satisfy even the most diehard gear nerd”, BOSS are commemorating their past in style whilst looking to the future in anticipation of what is still to come.