Kurt Cobain’s Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal
Support your favorite online guitar chronicle by getting yourself some awesome shirts!Shop Now
The Boss DS-1 could arguably be considered one of the key elements of Kurt’s sound since he used it as his main distortion pedal basically throughout Bleach and Nevermind era. At some point during the Nevermind tour, he did make a switch to a DS-2 model, but it’s hard to determine when exactly this happened due to the lack of photos.
Also worth mentioning is that most of what is known about this pedal, and Kurt’s preference in regards to pedals, mostly comes from other sources and not Kurt himself. If you happen to come across an interview where Kurt talks about pedals, and which ones he preferred, be sure to forward it.
According to Jack Endino, who produced ‘Bleach’, during the studio sessions Kurt was playing through a Boss DS-1 pedal. Based on this, it is also likely that the pedal was used on the following tour between June 1989 and May 1990.
Kurt brought in a little closed-back 2×12 cabinet with two Celestions, most likely 70-watt models. He was using a little orange Boss DS-1 distortion pedal and these Univox guitars [Hi-Flyers] that looked like Mosrites.The Definitive Kurt Cobain Gear Guide By Chris Gill
By the time the band started recording ‘Nevermind’ in April 1990, Kurt most likely continued using the pedal. However, Butch Vig, who produced the album, and was interviewed in a 2005 documentary ‘Classic Albums: Nirvana – Nevermind‘, does not mention which pedal Kurt used exactly.
Furthermore, every single article from a well-known magazine that lists the Boss DS-1 as the pedal used on Nevermind doesn’t list their source, and always seems to quote Butch indirectly. If you by any chance happen to come across an interview from Butch (or from Kurt for that matter), where there are specific pedals mentioned, be sure to forward it.
DS-1 on Tour
As noted in the opening paragraph, the pedal was used for the entirety of the Bleach tour, and for the first couple of months of Nevermind. To see the photos, check out our Pinterest board at Kurt Cobain’s DS-1 on Pinterest.
GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.
In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)