The BOSS GP-10: An Effects Pedal to Love

By Danny Trent | Pedals

Last Updated on

It’s always a joy to review BOSS pedals. Let’s face it, these guys are experts. If they start doing it wrong, what chance does any other manufacturer have?

The GP-10 is one of their pricier models, but you know with BOSS that price is always relative.

Sure you can check out their cheaper models, but you get what you pay for, and I’m sure that when we start taking a closer look, the GP-10 will absolutely have justified its price tag.

We’ll take a look at it in terms of parts, construction, tones and playability.

Core Features and Specs

The absolute core feature of the GP-10 is its GK-compatibility. This means that if your guitar is “Roland-ready” as they say, with a Roland GK-compatible pickup, you’ll have access to an insane amount of sounds, from bass guitars to violins to synths.

It’s not just other instruments though, you can still make it sound like a guitar – but different types of guitar to whatever you’re playing. How about playing a 12-string off your six-string Strat? No problem. Play alternative tuning without retuning the guitar? Easy.

If you’re not already in possession of the relevant pickup, the GP-10 is available boxed with one.

Material Metal
Number of effects 89
Number of amps 30
Power Mains only
Loop length N/A
User-created effects storage 99

This will work well for…

The seemingly endless capabilities of the GP-10 suggest that it would be best used for gigging audiophiles.

I can see a working functions covers band with one in their van, especially one with a few members taking turns on vocals, and creating a need to swap instruments for certain songs. The GP-10 will allow them to swap instruments, without actually swapping instruments. That’ll save time onstage.

It would also be a useful tool for a home recording enthusiast. For example, if they were recording a demo, and it needed strings. Well, for demo purposes, using the GP-10 would be a lot cheaper than hiring a string section.

Does it do what it should?

Let’s take a look at the parts of the GP-10.

As is standard with BOSS pedals, this is made of probably bulletproof metal. They simply will never have it any other way. It’s why you never find the BOSS brand in the cheapest range of pedals.

It has four ‘main’ buttons for onstage operation with your feet, for selecting your desired preset, as well as a fine full-length expression pedal. It has a few other little buttons and a knob for you do adjust the settings and parameters of the various effects when you’re setting them up. Nothing too surprising there.

The back panel is pretty busy. This pedal has to cram in a lot of functionality, so it has to go somewhere! It includes:

  • Your power button
  • Two jack plugs each for input and output
  • A mini jack plug output for your headphones
  • A mini jack plug auxiliary input for connecting your phone or tablet, so you can play along with a track
  • A jack plug input for an additional expression pedal or footswitch
  • Your plug for connecting to the mains
  • A USB connection for connecting to your computer
  • The input for connecting the Roland-ready pickup on your guitar

Apart from the Roland connection, there shouldn’t be anything too weird about that list.

Construction

I shouldn’t really need to talk about the construction of a BOSS pedal, but in the interest of providing a thorough review, I need to say something.

It’s made from solid metal and built like a tank.

It’s weighty but not overbearing or cumbersome for bringing to gigs. It’s just comfortable.

In terms of the layout of the pedal, it has a backlit LCD screen with bright orange characters, so you can see what you’re doing and where your sound is at, even on the darkest of stages, when you’re struggling to hear through a drummer making love to their kit.

The buttons and knob are securely attached. As with any protruding knob on a pedal, you might want to be careful not to catch it on anything when you’re pulling it in and out of bags or cases at gigs.

Rocking the expression pedal back and forth, it’s as secure as you’d expect.

So yeah, like I said, construction quality is predictable on a BOSS. It’s not an excuse to throw it around though. You don’t want to risk the internal electronics becoming loose or shattered.

Tones

I never know where to start when it come to reviewing the tones on a multi-effects pedal. There really is just so much to cover. It’s pretty much impossible, so all I can do is hope to touch on some highlights that will inspire you to do more research to see if it works for you.

As an effects unit, all the standard sounds are here as you would expect: a bunch of different overdrives, distortions and fuzz; delays and reverbs; modulation effects like phase and flange; and filter effects, including EQs and wahs.

No surprises there.

If you’re even looking at the GP-10 though, those probably aren’t what you’re looking for – you can get them on pretty much any multi-effects pedal, many of which will cost you considerably less than the GP-10.

No, you’re looking at this for its GK compatibility

And honestly, the sounds from the instruments they’re trying to replicate aren’t bad. I mean, if you took audio sample of a few seconds of the GP-10 pretending your guitar is a bass, and a few minutes of a 60s precision bass, there wouldn’t be any mistaking which one is which.

But it’s all relative to the context of your playing. If you’re in a corporate covers band, the audience will be focused on the song rather than how accurate your synthesized sounds are, and will totally give you an A for effort.

Playability

The range of tones that are accessible through the GP-10 is the cornerstone of its playability. If you get bored or find yourself struggling to be creative with all it offers, well… I’d be very surprised! The creative opportunities are endless!

I mentioned earlier that the GP-10 would be useful for musicians putting together a demo. it comes with USB connectivity, so you can hook it up to your Mac or Windows PC and use it as an audio interface with your digital audio workstation (DAW) of choice.

Doing this, you can save the cash or the favors of getting in additional musicians, as well as the logistics of getting gear in and out of your home or studio. Best of all, you can play all the instruments yourself, without actually having to get them, pay for them, or learn how to play them. Win!

The ability to play alternative tunings through the GP-10, without having to retune your guitar is very useful. With many popular songs utilizing common alternatives such as dropped D, DADGAD, or open G, you can include them easily in your set, without having to retune, or have separate guitars for each tuning.

Pros Cons
●      It’s built like a tank

●      Pushes boundaries beyond your standard guitar effects that you find in similar units

●      Hassle-free way of accessing a range of sounds and intruments

●      The emulations of other instruments and tunings won’t fly with purists

●      It’s not cheap

●      It will require patience, practice, and likely lots of trial and error

Alternatives to the  BOSS GP-10

If you like the direction of the GP-10, but aren’t enthused by a particular aspect of it, there are a couple of alternatives that are very much worth taking a look at.

Firehawk FX

First up is Line 6, with their Firehawk FX unit. Line 6 are catching up with BOSS as a brand for reliable, well-built, great sounding multi-effects processors, and rightly so.

Ever the brand for pushing the relationship between effects, guitars, and technology, what the Firehawk loses in GK-compatibility, it certainly makes up for in the range of tonal options contained in this one box.

The Firehawk comes with an onslaught of various effects and amps that you can apply to your playing, and it’s got USB connectivity so you can use it as an interface, applying those effects and amps directly to your recordings.

What makes it stand out is the accompanying app, which allows you to create the effects you need in the app, save them in the cloud, and apply them to the pedal.

ISP Impression

If you’re looking for a more refined approach than literally all of the effects and noise, the ISP Technologies Impression might be better suited for your needs.

This is one of the multi-effects pedals that keeps their offering nice and tight, opting for quality over quantity. It keeps things straightforward with just chorus, delay, reverb, and flange. Yes, you read that correctly: a multi-effects unit that doesn’t have any overdrive or distortion options!

It includes a tap tempo function for setting the delay, chorus or flange in natural time with the music, rather than you having to define it every time.

And that’s it. No amp models, no audio interface, no expression pedal. It’s just not for any of those things.

In Conclusion

I’d recommend the GP-10 for guitarists in covers bands, who need a range of guitar sounds and other instruments at their disposal and need to get to them quickly and without fuss.

It’s also a useful piece of gear to have in a studio setting, either for a home recording enthusiast who wants access to more instruments than they can play or for a professional looking to lay down a demo quickly.

Read Also: How to Find the Best Guitar Pedals

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