Instructables
Picture of Modify Your Boss DS-1
Every guitarist at some point has at least tried Boss's DS-1 distortion pedal. Most People are immediately disappointed. This over hyped pedal sounds really thin with no punch. Sales people at guitar center will say something like its a "great beginner distortion pedal". Its been my experience that most of the people that work at guitar center are useless. So, always research and get information from multiple sources.

The DS-1 is actually used by many artists including Joe Satriani, Kurt Cobain, John Petrucci, and Steve Vai to name a few, BUT most of the big artists don't use the stock one. Why? Cuz it sucks!

The good news is this pedal is simple enough to modify!! In this instructable I will show you step by step, with lots of pictures, how to perform Robert Keeley's DS-ULTRA Mod. Check out the PDF


 
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Step 1: Supplies

Tools-
Soldering Iron/Station *I LOVE my Weller WESD51 I got for Christmas but it is a bit overkill :]
Eye Protection
60/40 Rosin Flux Core Solder
Wire Stripper
Desoldering Equipment
Third Hand *Something to hold the circuit board while you work; friend, vice, ect.
1/2" and 7/16" Wrench
24 AWG Hook-Up Wire
Flush Cutters
Drill *Anyone want to give me one? :]
1/4" and 7/64" Drill Bits

Components- Kits available at http://www.maxwellaudiodesigns.com/#!mod-kits/c1b2j

24 AWG Hook-Up Wire
1.0uF 50V Stack Metal Film Capacitor x 4
0.1uF 50V Stack Metal Film Capacitor x 5
0.047uF 50V Stack Metal Film Capacitor x 1
47.0pF Capacitor x 1
220pF 50V Monolythic Ceramic or 220pF 500V Silver Mica Capacitor X1 (I'd go with the ceramic one, its
2.4k 1/4W Resistor x 1
20.0k 1/4W Resistor x 1
1.5k 1/4W Resistor x 1
On/On SPDT Switch x 1 *Only if you intend on doing both mods. I got 50 on ebay for $15 w/shipping.
3mm Blue LED x 1 *Optional
3mm Red LED x 1 *To incorporate both modes you need a total of 2 red LEDs. I reuse the one I replace with the blue one.

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benJ804 months ago

Hi James,

What brand do you use for resistors ? (The links does'nt works)

Thanks

Best

AaronS1 benJ802 months ago

The link should work now. I had to update my quantity available (I was sold out).

jbravo64 months ago

Hi guys, with the actual stock boss DS-1, is possible to do these MODs???

thanks

regards

Mxzx7 months ago

Well I tried taking it apart, running with just the Seeing Eye Mod (no Ultra) and it still has the hum and flashing LED's with the distortion knob up. I checked all the solder joints and nothing is bridged. I took wires out of D4 and D5, without D4 and D5 diodes (which were clipped before I got the pedal), the pedal sounds normal? Any ideas would be great!

Thanks!

Mxzx7 months ago
Thanks for the reply, I'll def give that a shot and report back.
I did the ultra mod too, and put the other LED in the "Dist" letters. They both exhibit the flashing when the ultra is engaged and dist knob past 3 o'clock.
Mxzx7 months ago

Hello, just did the mod and it worked the first time!! I have two issues though, when the distortion is turned past 3 o'clock, the seeing eye led starts flashing like it is picking up the 60 cycle hum or something, pedal makes noise at that point too. It is also very bassy, any way to cut that down some?

James Haskin (author)  Mxzx7 months ago
A lot of people, myself included, have had trouble when reassembling the pedal. Sometimes a wire gets pinched or a contact bridged. My first step in trouble shooting would be to see if the mod works properly outside of the enclosure. Best of luck.
AlpK made it!8 months ago

Thank you very much! That was my first DIY projet and "It's alive!"

IMG_20140223_121912.jpg
James Haskin (author)  AlpK8 months ago
Awesome! I wish you good luck on your journey as you explore the world of DIY.
ectobass8 months ago

A couple of comments. In the removal instructions it isn't clear that you need to remove D4 for the ultra mod. Also, you could use a diamond file to widen the holes for D5 so you can fit the 24 AWG wire and the D5 in the same holes. One caution on reassembly. It looks like the tone pot lead can hit the case of the switch if you aren't careful. Similar situation for the other pots hitting the case (ground) of another pot if they are not lined up. Great mod! Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together.

DenVeR7774 years ago
Thanx James! This is very useful instruction. But I've got a problem: Dist knob at low values work perfectly, but when I rise dist value to 12h low level signal dissapear and it's treshold rise with dist level. Another thing is there about 3,5-7v dc on a input jack, its also depend from dist level. Can anyone tells what i do wrong? Sorry for my english.
Hi guys,

I know I'm little late, but I just did this mod and ran into the same problems. The distortion knobs works to about 1-2 oclock then starts to attenuate the signal. At max distortion it will only work if the guitar is played really hard. Soft notes don't go through at all. I returned the Diodes to the originals, leaving everything the same and it still acts the same. Any hints?

Any help would be very appreciative.

Thanks!
Hi,

I Andrew, any feedback on your problem.
I stricktly follow the instructions and have the same strange behaviors with volume and distorsion knobs after modifications!

Thanks!
Hi guys,

Any update on this knob compression problems ?
I really followed the instructions step by step.
I can't believe that only 3 of us have the same behaviour ...

Thanks
BrMr JeppyMod11 months ago
Any update? I have exact same problem. Please help
I don't have that pedal. Cause I have a pedal that does 50 different effects.
Hello! I'm trying to find all the components to make the modification, but in my country it's very difficult to find the monolythic capacitor, or the mica capacitor. Is it possible to replace it with a standard ceramic capacitor. Another question: the 47 pF is a standard ceramic capacitor? Bye!
zyroth1 year ago
I did this mod last week and ended up with the problem where the level button would actually lower the output when passed 2 o'clock mentionned by DenVeR777, Andrew Gartshore, JeppyMod

I double checked my components and everything was correctly placed with the specified values.
When I opened by DS-1 to check the components I noticed that the UltraMod switch casing was touching one of the solder points on the Tone knob PCB. The casing of the pedal is a ground and since the switch is attached to the casing I suspect it was inadvertently grounding that part of the circuit.

I detached the switch from the pedal casing and tested it.  Guess what?  It works fine.
I guess I drilled the hole for the switch a tad to close to the Tone knob
The mod works pretty well thanks! However the sound is a bit thin for me, and the distortion just to rich in the high end. To be honest I prefer the mod by Pedaldoc which I installed last year in my other Ds1 and gives a much darker sound.
Dominchio1 year ago
Hi James, I might be a bit late...
thanks for your brilliant tutorial although I am a bit confused (I'm also new to soldering... :-)
I'm going to do just a Ultra Mod, but am confused as for what to do with D5 and D4.
Do I need to de-solder D5 diode and leave it empty since I am not going to use the switch?
Additionally what do I do with D4?

Thank you any help would be appreciated. D.
 so i tried this mod.  minor issue....  the seeing eye led doesn't light up, and i get no sound at all.  when i turn it on it picks up a radio station.  I had an issue getting r39 out and it may be i ruined the connection because it just wouldn't solder right.  this is my first time ever doing something like this so i'm a little lost.  any ideas would be appreciated.
It picks up a radio station? Whoa.
I'm with mrmerino... I don't think picking up a radio station with your pedal is covered by the warranty (just joking). You're probably going to have to start over and try having a cleaner soldering/de-soldering technique. You may have used parts that were faulty, of the wrong value, or just accidentally put in backwards (guilty on multiple counts). Best of luck!
Finished this Mod today, sounds killer. I couldn't quite find the exact parts listed here, but honestly ordered as close as i could from Small Bear Elec. and they all worked great.

Definitely worth taking the time to do this mod. would never use this pedal before now it has a home on my pedalboard. Especially when you drive it with a OCD you get some awesome lead sound to push you out in front of a rocking band.
blacknoise3 years ago
I've done the mod, and it sounds awesome!

The only problem I'm having is the bypass. It seems to work (the blue led goes out) but I still hear the distorted sound slightly (like some of it is leaking into the clean signal) and the signal is very quiet and also changes when I move the volume/gain control. It felt like something snapped when I was tightening the nut on the volume pot, but I could't see any broken parts or solder joints...

Any ideas?
First off, I have to say good job on the instructions.

I'm really new to this kind of stuff so please forgive me if I get a bit confusing. I'll try to explain to the best of my ability.

I had first bought different parts and put everything together and it had distortion and was working, but it didn't have the sound I was looking for. Also, the distortion knob wasn't working. It was more of a fuzz effect. Another problem is that the 0.047uF capacitor in C11 was too big and was sticking out of my pedal. So I went back and bought the ones that were on here that you provided a link for and got most of them, except one which would be the capacitor on R39. I'm sure it's the same one it can hold. I was excited to hear how it would sound and when I tried it out, the red light was on and flickering pretty fast. The more I turned the distortion knob, slower it would blink. It also had a constant buzz and would get higher tone whenever I lowered it and speed up the noise. It would do the opposite when I turned the dist. knob the other way (low and slow vibration sound). The red light also would get brighter as I turned the switch by the tone. I did everything how you said it and am a bit confused. If you could possibly help me out, I'd appreciate it very much. Let me know if you need further explanation. Thanks
thrilli4 years ago
Umm. I have a kinda stupid question here :/ ... Should the original diodes from D4 and D5 be completely replaced by the LED-Diodes used to both mods (not be used in conjuction with either of the LED-diodes). So I just connect the wires for the switch and for the ASE-LED to the places they are supposed to go (ASE LED Wires to D5 ans the Ultra switch wires to D4) and the original diodes become obsolete? Everythings seems to work flawlessly (Except the Ulrta switch which was a REALLY crappy quality and has connection faults with it). It is just that the overall gain went down a lot and the switching doesn't seem to do much (just a slight change in volume and definition). Did anyone else experienced similar? I know i can boost the gain by changing several different resistor values and such but I'm just wondering if this was to be expected when doing this mod. Oh and BTW i did differ from these instructions by also changing by C10 -> 0,022uF to rid the harsh top end, didn't help at all :( sry for the long post
Hello Thrilli,

I did this full mod and it worked out great and sounds awesome. This is for you or anyone out there:

It sounds great but still a little harsh with a Strat. I heard you can change the C10 cap. Have you tried using another cap to warm up the sound beside the .022uF cap?

Thanks!
rdlpz3 years ago
I studied your procedures and thought them too difficult to attempt in their entirety. So I changed just the D4 and D5 by substituting the 3mm red LEDs and found that just that simple change improved the sound. The sound is now less harsh which was my main complaint with the original pedal. I was able to do this without removing everything from the pedal case. The C2 and C3 changes can also be made simply without removing the pcb completely from the case. Will the .1 and 1.0 uf stack metal film cap changes to C2 and C3 also improve the sound without doing anything else?
matteo3203 years ago
hey thanks for the guide! it has completely transformed this pedal! great instructions made the mod a breeze! thanks
Like A Boss3 years ago
You can’t modify me.
Like a Boss!
Hi, first i want to thank you to teaching us these wonderful mod, i have a question for you i dont reuse de red led that is hidden in the box, i used a blue one, will these affect in anyway the tone ???'
thanks again
_olarlite3 years ago
Done. Thanks!
Thanks a lot..........It sounds great!!!!
mwilhoit3 years ago
Performed the mod last night and it worked perfect. Thanks James
asdfcrow3 years ago
What's an estimate for the total price for the components?
thinking about doing this mod; I have the tools..
ak7005 years ago
 Does the internal LED (the one that replaces the diode) lit up when the pedal is in operation? The reason I am asking is that when I switch to ultra-mode the sound doesn't change at all ( the seeing-eye LED stops working but the sound remains the same). Also my sound seems a bit compressed even at low distortion levels. At high distortion levels it becomes very crunchy (in a bad way)
Any ideas how to debug?
Cheers
Hello ak700,

My pedal works great but I also notice alot of compression before the note. Have you figured out how to reduce this or eliminate it?
James Haskin (author)  digitalmike1013 years ago
I've got S.D. Active Blackouts in my Schecter and to adjust the compression I just roll the volume (on the guitar) down until I get it where I like it (or none at all). You'll see the difference in the LED as well. Sorry for the delay in response guys :(
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