5 Best Boss Guitar Synthesizers 2024

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Are you feeling bored and uninspired by the guitar pedals in your rig? Adding a synthesizer pedal can open sonic doors beyond your wildest imagination.

Traditionally, the guitar isn’t an instrument used in conjunction with synthesizers, but thanks to Boss’s innovation, this is now a reality. The following guitar synthesizers provide plenty of evidence for this claim, with offerings available for every budget level. 

Boss GP-10 – Best Overall

Boss GP-10

Let’s face it, sometimes, if you’re going to spend a decent wad of cash, you want to make sure it can do many things. If you’re somebody that wants a pedal that can do synthesizer sounds as well as a wide range of other effects, the Boss GP-10 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is worth a look.

On the surface, the GP-10 looks very similar to many other multi-effects pedals found on the market. It has a series of foot switches for various controls as well as a built-in expression pedal.

However, under the hood, the GP-10 begins to show its distinction among other multi-effects units, especially where its synthesizer capabilities are concerned. With a simple 1/4” guitar cable, you can use the GP-10 to shape your tone with effects like:

  • Overdrive
  • Distortion
  • Reverb/Delay
  • Modulation (Flanger/Chorus/etc.)

Along with that, the pedal gives you a massive range of options regarding its amp simulation features. You can choose where its simulated microphone is placed in front of the speaker, and so much more.

Outside of the basic effects, the GP-10 has a number of modules designed to make your guitar sound like a different instrument, including:

  • Banjo
  • 12-string guitar
  • Fretless guitar
  • Sitar

Of course, the GP-10’s synthesizer becomes truly unlocked when used in conjunction with a 13-pin MIDI connection. You’ll have no trouble at all finding usable sounds in a matter of minutes.

The GP-10 also has a unique feature that lets you change the guitar’s tuning to alternate tunings with the push of a button. 

Someone looking for a dedicated synth pedal will likely want to look for something more immersive. But, for the average person that wants a fantastic range of high-quality options, the GP-10 offers a delicious taste of many of Boss’s best capabilities. 

Boss SY-1000 – Best Premium

Boss SY-1000

If money is not a factor and your only concern is getting the best synthesizer pedal possible, you’ll want to look at the Boss SY-1000 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon). This guitar synthesizer pedal is, by far, one of the most powerful and immersive offerings to be found on the market. 

Pitch tracking is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of an accurate synth pedal with a clean response. But not everybody has access to a 13-pin MIDI hookup for their guitar, and not everyone wants one.

The SY-1000 is one of the only pedals that offer both capabilities, though its 1/4” instrument cable tracking is nearly flawless. Not to mention, it works for both the guitar and the bass. 

This pedal is an absolute monster, in terms of both size and what it has to offer. On the surface, the SY-1000 has 8 different foot switches, all of which can be customizable in function. 

Along with that, the SY-1000 has a number of knobs and small buttons designed to work in conjunction with its small LCD screen. Those analog knob-tweakers will feel right at home here despite the pedal’s digital architecture.

What makes the SY-1000 stand out is the fact that it utilizes actual oscillators rather than pre-recorded samples. It also has a number of modernized engines from various historic Boss/Roland synths in the past, including:

  • GR-300
  • Poly FX
  • Acoustic
  • E.Bass
  • VIO Guitar
  • OSC Synth
  • E.Guitar

The SY-1000 also has a pair of 16-step sequencers along with the fact that 3 different instrument modules can be applied at the same time. Needless to say, doing this and adding effects will create sounds you never thought to be possible from a guitar pedal.

This capability is only amplified to a greater magnitude when using the BOSS Tone Studio program. You can create your own signal paths and download other patches from its Tone Exchange, ensuring you never run out of new sounds to utilize. 

Plus, it has 48kHz/32-bit sound processing, supports 13-pin MIDI connections, and has built-in cab simulation.

Obviously, we’ve only scratched the surface here, but it’s safe to say that there isn’t a better guitar synthesizer pedal to be found. Its capabilities are so profound that you could almost use it as a dedicated multi-effects pedal without its synthesizer(s) engaged. 

Boss SY-1 – Best Budget

Boss SY-1

Not wanting to spend a ton of money to be able to utilize synthesizer sounds with your electric guitar? The Boss SY-1 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is reasonably affordable and comes in a standard guitar pedal size. 

However, don’t let its average size fool you into thinking that it isn’t packed with capability. The SY-1 is a polyphonic synth filled to the brim with 121 different sounds spread across 11 different synthesizer types, including:

  • Lead
  • Strings
  • Bass
  • Pad
  • Bell
  • Organ
  • Sound Effects
  • Sequencer

Each type of synthesizer has 11 different variations, which can be selected with its dedicated knob. Along with that, a pair of stacked knobs provide dual functions, allowing you to blend the dry/wet signal and control the synthesizer’s rate and depth. 

The only drawback to be found here is that you won’t be able to store presets to be recalled on-demand at a later time. But with that being said, the SY-1 is perfect for anyone wanting to add a massive range of synthesizer sounds both affordably and without any extra gear.

The ability to use this like you would a standard guitar pedal is definitely one of its biggest advantages. Its support for an expression pedal and its sustaining “hold” function in the foot switch only sweeten the pot. 

The pedal’s tracking isn’t always perfect, but that does add to its charm. 

Boss SY-300

Boss SY-300

Coming in at nearly 3 times the cost of the SY-200, the Boss SY-300 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) provides an insane amount of capability. In some ways, it's the perfect median between the budget models and the top-shelf SY-1000 model. 

If your budget is willing, this polyphonic synthesizer is the solution if you’re looking for a pedal offering near-flawless pitch tracking by means of a standard 1/4” input cable. You’ll immediately notice that the SY-300 has an expanded number of foot switches, with 3 being customizable. 

While it does have fewer knobs to tweak, the SY-300 still offers a massive amount of tonal control. This is especially true when used with Boss’s Tone Studio program. 

Right out of the box, Boss gives you plenty to play around with, offering 70 factory presets. Along with this, you’ll have the ability to program 99 presets of your own. 

The SY-300 also offers expression pedal support, as well as a variety of routing options for all of your sound needs. You can even use it as an audio interface to record directly into your DAW of choice.

If you wanted to, you could even use the SY-300 as a sort of effects processor by disarming its synthesizer portion. This would allow it to function like any other multi-effects unit. 

This is a pedal that will take you months (or even years) to fully utilize all of the power of its capabilities. Plus, no matter how fast you play, the SY-300’s tracking will always stay one step ahead.

The biggest feat for anyone will be whether or not they can justify spending this much money on a guitar synthesizer pedal. But, once you try it for yourself, you’ll see that its abilities reach far beyond the hype the pedal has. 

Boss SY-200

Boss SY-200

If you like the idea of the SY-1, but wish it had programmable presets, the Boss SY-200 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is perfect for you. For just a bit more money than the SY-1, the SY-200 offers this alongside an expanded number of features.

Right away, you’ll notice that the SY-200 has a programmable foot switch along with an LCD screen and a variety of knobs. This means that finding and fine-tuning your synthesizer tones will be an absolute breeze, with 3 knobs custom to each patch, along the variation and dry/wet levels.

The SY-200 has 12 different synthesizer types under the hood, including:

  • Organ
  • Dual
  • Bass
  • Sweep
  • Arpeggio
  • Lead
  • Bell
  • Pad
  • String
  • Sound Effects
  • Sequencer
  • Noise

Should you happen to craft a tone worth saving, the SY-200 has 128 available presets to be programmed. This is a massive improvement, with the average person likely never filling up all 128 preset positions. 

Along with a standard 1/4” input/output, the SY-200 supports send and return as well as an expression pedal. This polyphonic synthesizer is sure to keep those creative juices flowing and help stave off those creative droughts. 

How Do I Know Which Boss Guitar Synthesizer Is Right For Me?

Let’s face it, sometimes, it’s not always the most obvious thing to know which pedal might be right for you. Especially considering the fact that there tends to be quite a bit of overlap with regard to their functions and capabilities.

The following section will help you determine which Boss guitar synthesizer is most-ideal for your situation. While this information is tailored to Boss synthesizer pedals, you can use these points to assist you when looking at synthesizer pedals from other brands, too. 

Cost

If there’s one thing you’ve noticed, it’s likely the fact that Boss guitar synthesizer pedals vary greatly in terms of overall cost. The company has done an excellent job at providing something for every budget, with enough features that everyone feels like they are getting a good deal.

It goes without saying that you should never spend beyond your means for the sake of guitar tone. Sure, we all break that rule from time to time, but is that financial discomfort ever really worth it?

If you do have your heart set on a specific model that happens to be beyond your affordability, look around the used market. Used guitar pedals usually cost a fair deal less than what they would cost brand-new from the store.

By being patient and diligent, you can often come across an offering that is too hard to pass up. Who doesn’t love saving a bit of money while still getting the pedal of their fancy?

Application & Expectations

You know how the saying goes…just because you can afford it doesn’t mean that you should buy it. That same expression could be used with regard to Boss synthesizer pedals.

It’s important to remain grounded and realistic with regard to your expectations and how you wish to actually use the pedal. The SY-1 will not perform like the SY-1000, but it can be easier to set up and find a sound. 

Furthermore, it’s equally important to understand what kind of person you are when it comes to gear preferences. Are you somebody that enjoys spending hours crafting the minutest aspects of tone, or do you want to plug your guitar in and play?

Size

Some of these pedals are extremely large, so you’ll need to keep that in mind if you have other pedals you’re trying to use. Keep in mind that some stages are essentially just a corner in a bar, with not much space to spare when playing with a full band. 

Extra Features

Obviously, if you’re somebody that needs features beyond basic plug-and-play, the SY-200 and above are where you’ll be looking. But considering the massive price gap between the SY-200 and the SY-300, it’s best to know which specific features you wish to use.

While it's more affordable, the SY-200 has more programmable presets. However, the SY-300 can be connected to a computer, where sounds can be crafted with Boss’s proprietary software.

Of course, if you need the very best in polyphonic tracking and need 13-pin MIDI capabilities, the SY-1000 is worth the plunge. 

History Of Boss As A Brand

Boss is a Japanese pedal company that emerged in 1977 to become of one the most innovative pedal manufacturers in the industry. Many of the company’s pedals have become the industry standard, and are easily identifiable due to their unique housing and color schematics. 

Today, Boss is still considered one of the leaders in the industry despite there being more pedal manufacturers than ever before. The company makes it a point to continually improve and innovate its designs and caters to players of all styles and budgets.

Boss has even ventured into the amplifier niche, providing their effects capabilities into the Katana digital modeler series. 

Top Boss Guitar Synthesizers, Final Thoughts

As you can see, these Boss guitar synthesizer pedals are quite powerful in terms of their capability and the sounds they produce. You could easily spend weeks crafting uniquely original sounds once you learn how to use them.

Sure, some can be pricey, but what value would you place on something that could potentially provide unlimited reservoirs of creativity? For some, this ability, alone, is worth all of the money in the world.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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