It’s tricky to know where to start when Boss springs this big a surprise on you! With literally last minute notice for two top secret projects that Boss has quite evidently been working on for a while.
The guitar is something rather more unusual for Boss - so perhaps I should start there. I’m not sure many of you recall Boss’s last foray into guitars back in 2017 - as a collaboration with Strandberg Guitars - for the Boss V Guitar - a heavily customised and evolved classic headless Strandberg Guitar filled to the brim with Boss electronics. The V Guitar was actually not that dissimilar to the Line 6 Variax in may ways - and focused mainly on different guitar voicings. Only 80 were made apparently over the next 18 or so months - and they had quite a high price tag of around £4,000 equivalent - I’m sure I saw a couple for sale on the continent for around €5.000 - which is typically too much for most.
While the new Eurus GS-1 Guitar Synth - is really more like a Hybrid Guitar that can double up as both a conventional electric guitar and be a full-on Guitar Synth - delivering some of the tones you would more typically find in the SY-1000 pedal. At least that is my understanding of it - having not seen too much in the way of demos or detailed instructions yet.
The Eurus is significantly more attractive on the pricing front - retailing at €2.199 | £1,968. But more of that later.
The other new Boss product is the Smart EV-1-WL Expression Pedal - which allows you to control devices through Bluetooth MIDI, USB and TRS MIDI Outputs. The pedal has a separate CTL Control Socket where you can control input to two Boss F-Series Footswitches.
The EV-1-WL pairs up particularly well with the new Eurus GS-1, and Waza Air, and is about to be supported by the Katana Air. The Midi socket allows you to connect more conventionally to other Boss pedals - like the GT-1000 and CORE, 200-Series and 500-Series. It will have a recommended retail price of €169 | £151 - which I deem eminently reasonable.
Here follow some further details on each of the devices :
For the Eurus GS-1, Boss have made a number of smart partnership decisions here - for instance teaming up with Dyna Gakki - which are best known for making Japanese Prestige editions for Fender and Gretsch. While much of the Chrome Hardware is Gotoh - including Tremolo Bridge and Locking Tuners.
The only thing I'm not 100% clear on is who makes the pickups and to what specification.
For the price point - they seem to have loaded the guitar with superb high quality fixtures and fittings throughout. No stainless steel frets here, nor do we have the somewhat wildly currently popular roasted maple necks. In fact I love nearly everything about he guitar - including the body-shape and headstock shape - which are always tricky to get just right. The only thing I'm not wild about is the new Headstock logo - which I understood was supposed to be somewhat more closely aligned to the Fender type of scripted logo. The style of the logo is quite a departure for Roland / Boss - who typically are more sci-fi in typography and brand identity. I can understand why the new logo was introduced - I just remain to be convinced that his is necessarily the right logo for the job. You can't really fault anything on the Spec list though :
And here are the key features of this instrument :
In writing this piece I've only been given a fairly rudimentary overview of the Guitar - and like most am eagerly awaiting the proper artist demos. Apparently these Guitars and due to be in circulation until around October - there's only a handful of product ones in the wild currently, And the only dynamic reference I've seen is Boss President Yoshi Ikegami's below introduction to the guitar - which is entirely in Japanese and at the time of viewing had no subtitle options. You can infer much from the visual content - while there is no actual direct demonstration of the guitar that I've seen yet. Update! Subtitles are now present and correct!
I'm actually quite excited about this produce - and I'm sure there will be some custom decals for those that don't like the new headstock logo - I will reserve my judgment until I actually get to experience one - just need to with for Matt Knight to get one in and issue and invitation.
I am every the modernist when it comes to guitar choices - and near enough everything here appeals to me - what about you readers - any of you tempted to venture forth for new sonic experiments!?
Within the surprise of this fairly stellar announcement - there's actually no surprise that the EV-1-WL is being launched at the same time as the Eurus GS-1 - as these were largely developed in tandem - with a significant part of the EV-1's function being its ability to control aspects of the Eurus GS-1 Electronic Guitar.
This is very much a Heel-to-Toe Treadle-Style Expression Contol Pedal, while it has quite a lot of additional smarts onboard - via its Bluetooth Abilities, MIDI and USB Connectivity.
It has a separate CTL Controls 1,2 socket on its side - in order to exercise control over two Boss FS-Series simultaneously.
Throughout its various means of connectivity it can control the Eurus GS-1 with aplomb, also what Waza Air and Katana Air - which are obviously all Bluetooth enabled too. You can also exercise control over the GT-1000 and GT-1000 CORE, which along with the 200 and 500 Series - need to be connected via more traditional means.
I've often said that no Bluetooth not the GT-1000 CORE would pose certain issues in the future - and here we are with a new Bluetooth Enabled Expression Controller - which only works at its ultimate level on a fairly small number of devices, in fact - I think the Katana Air is due a patch update release to enable connectivity with said device.
I've long since said that most of the higher calibre pedals should have Bluetooth onboard - and how the Neural DSP Quadt Cortex allows you to share Presets over Bluetooth / Wireless is just next level genius - I've long since had enough of dragging my laptop over to my music corner adter I've downloaded the latest firmware to said laptop - then needing to transfer it across to the pedal via really slow and archaic means - with modern consumer electronics - you should be able to just zap things across directly - like my iPhone does with my MacBook Pro.
In any case here are the key features for the EV-1-WL :
Size-wise its 200mm x 62mm x Max Elevation 87mm - make it a medium sized pedal - where I typically prefer the compact-sized Dunlop / CryBaby variants. While it's not too cumbersome to totally put me off - and if and when I get a Eurus GS-1 - I may well see more of a benefit of ownership.
The pedal is priced at a pretty reasonable €169 | £151 which I think is pretty good value - you should really get a discount on it if you buy it at the same time as a Eurus! I'm not clear exactly when these are coming tough - but I believe it is pretty imminent - and much sooner than we will see the new guitar officially in the wild.
I am excited by the prospect of both of these - while I definitely think that these are devices that you need some hands on experience of - to figure out whether they really are for you.
I've yet to acquire any of Boss's handful of Bluetooth Enabled devices - which include the Waza Air and GT-1000 currently - with the Katana Air about to get a firmware update to support this - and obviously the forthcoming Eurus GS-1 being a fantastic device to control with the EV-1-WL.
For the hard-wire applications I'm not really that excited about those at all - as I feel most quality modern devices with significant digital control layers - should really be Bluetooth enabled. I wanted Bluetooth on my 500-Series in particular, and mistakenly thought that the GT-1000 CORE had Bluetooth - as it wasn't initially explicit that that was one of the features left out from the larger GT-1000.
For my Eventide H9 Max - that pedal would be pretty useless for me without its Bluetooth capabilities - as the on-pedal interface is just horribly clunky - with far too much relying on that pig dial-up controller - like a 60's Ericsson Telephone!
So I think much of the appeal of the EV-1-WL depends on whether you have any of those Bluetooth enabled devices.
I am slightly keener on the Eurus GS-1 guitar - the price is within my range - and like I said - I really love the specs on the guitar - and its overall look and features. I've not yet managed to warm up to the new headstock logo - which may require decals at some stage - or perhaps I will grow to like it eventually - while currently it just sticks out a little incongrously.
I will be very interested to see the early artist demos - to get some better ideas on not just what the Guitar's capabilities are - but how best to segue from conventional tones to more synth and electronic stylings. The Eurus GS-1 could be a real game-changer!
At the time of the Strandberg / Boss V Guitar - I was hoping we would get a better priced version eventually - while the original production run only ran to 80 units - and there is little or no evidence of any of those being still in significant use as far as I can see,
The Pricepoint for the Eurus GS-1 is pretty much spot on - and while you're not getting some of the current Prestige staples - i.e. like roasted neck and stainless steel frets - like with Ibanez's now very expansive AZ-line. One has to wonder what other varieties Boss might launch - as some of us really like to see a flash of flame maple!
How about you dear readers - do either of these two take your fancy - do drop us a comment if you have something to say!