Guitar Gear Review: Boss Blues Driver BD-2 Waza

Just a quick one for anyone who is considering the Boss Blues Driver BD-2 Waza Craft pedal. Used it at a 3 hour duo gig on the weekend (guitar/drums). Just ran the Gibson 335 thru it and then into my old Fender Twin Reverb. Left it on the whole time (actually only the second two sets because i used an od-1 for the first set).

The BD-2 Waza is a really great pedal. You can set the dials so that it sounds like the pedal is not even engaged which i think is a great starting point to add more or less of whatever the pedal offers. The frequency response is nice and wide. To be honest, I have not even tried cranking the gain past 12 o clock. For me it works brilliantly as a “tone enhancer”. I can dial in just enough edge to bring out the harmonic content when i’m playing softly and add some dirt when i dig in on the strings.

It has a very natural attack and decay sound and the compression is excellent. It allows much more dynamic range (and im talking about the old school definition of dynamics as it refers to volume) when playing than the usual TS based drive pedals. Pick softly…clean as a whistle. Dig in..add some dirt. It worked well also when I rolled back the guitar volume to move that clean/dirty point down a notch or two.

I ran the pedal in stock mode all day. I have only quickly tried the “custom” mode briefly at home. I am guessing that the fatter, lower mid boosted custom mode would be better suited to single coil axes, but seeing as my strat is with the luthier i have not yet had the chance to try it in that configuration.

The BD-2W has a lot of treble presence just like the regular BD-2, but there is no annoying buzz or hint of artifice. This in itself is pretty unusual as pedals in general give the game away with some kind of resonant frequency generated by the diodes clipping. This one sounds really natural. More unusual was the fact that I was able to run my Fender Twin Reverb with the presence switch engaged. If you ever want to find out any or all natural shortcomings of a pedal, i would say run it thru a Fender Twin Reverb. There is really nowhere to hide. Flip the presence switch and its like 3am and the bar staff have turned on the lights and you suddenly lose your beer goggles. The Boss Blues Driver BD-2 Waza held up great even with the presence on. In fact it was able to turn my twin from being its usual amazing clean and warm self into a whole other animal…a rich and wide open dynamic amp, with just the perfect amount of grit and “zing” at whatever volume or intensity was required for the song.

I could roll up or down the tone controls on the guitar as well as the volume and it all came through in a most organic and natural way. It is just a great thing to be able to fill a big space with all the headroom needed, but also have dynamics and dirt all controllable by a combination of picking technique and guitar controls. I know that you can get this same feeling when you have a really sexy tube amp and no pedals, but i have to say that using this pedal to get the same result did not have me wishing for anything.

So ive only had the pedal for a few days, and only used it on one gig so far. I have not tried it as a boost into lower wattage amps, nor thru an amp that has much of its own natural breakup (i.e. a Marshall). However, in the unforgiving environment of a big wattage, big headroom Fender amp, the BD-2W really excelled.

I would recommend it to anyone with a fender amp whether it be a Deluxe or all the way up to the big old cannon that is a Twin Reverb. In the real world of gigging in various venues, we dont always (actually very rarely) have to opportunity to get our amp cooking at the volume that is suitable for the venue. Having one of these in your gig bag means you can get a killer, natural, touch sensitive tone with your preferred amount of hair and dirt at any volume.

I would also highly recommend it to anyone who has tried a regular (or modded) blues driver in the past and liked the general tonality, but found some annoying traits like a fake rattle sound in the note decay, or a certain annoying ear piercing buzz in the treble to try out the waza version. Boss really nailed it with this one. It is one of those rare pedals where you can just use it to make your sound richer and more harmonic without losing anything.

Thank you to Guest Contributor Cam Kinsey for this review