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BOSS GT-8 Overview


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Going back almost 2 decades, the GT series of multi-effects have come a long way, with pedals such as the GT-3, GT-5, GT-6, GT-8, GT-10, and recently the GT-100. Now a legacy model in the GT range, the GT-8 set a new standard for digital modelling and flexibility. It introduced DUAL COSM preamps, which allowed users to run 2 amplifiers simultaneously, which could be switched instantly. 10 years on, it remains a popular choice for guitarists, as it can be purchased for relatively cheap.


With a plethora of inputs and outputs, the GT-8 could be run in Mono, Stereo, or modelled amps could be split left and right to 2 separate speakers. It also features MIDI IN/OUT, external footswitch functionality, headphone out, external loop send and return, AMP control and a S/P DIF digital output.


In our experience the best way to run the GT-8 or any digital multi-effects unit is into the effects loop of an amp, straight up front into a clean amp, into a power amp or use the 4-cable method with your amplifier. BOSS recommends using amps such as the JC-120 or GA-212 (which are both solid state amps) to provide the best overall tone for your multi-effects unit.


The key to running the GT-8 is to ensure the levels of the unit are not boosted to the point of distortion. On the rear of the unit, features a LEVEL knob, it is best to running this at 50 - 55%. Boosting it anymore than that may cause internal clipping once you engage the effects such as Overdrive or Distortions. You can view if you’re GT-8 is clipping by pressing SYSTEM 3 times, which will show you the INPUT signal. The OUTPUT signal can be viewed by turning the dial. If you strum a string and the bar goes over 80% of the screen, then you’ve gone too far. It is best to leave the PATCH LEVEL knob at around 12 o’clock.


Choosing the right OUTPUT is crucial for maintaining sound quality from the GT-8. For example if you’re connecting to a small amp, select small or combo amp, if you’re plugged into a stack choose the STACK setting, and then adjust your settings from there. The EQ curve within the GT-8 is adjusted accordingly. Some users however feel that LINE/PHONES are the optimal setting for the cleanest tone.


The GT-8 features many of the effects from its predecessor the GT-6, with some new additions. The FX-1 block effects are as follows; ADV COMP, LIMITER, T-WAH, AUTO WAH, TONE MODIFY, GUITAR SIM, Tremolo, Phaser, Flanger, Pan, Vibrato, Uni-V, RING MOD, SLOW GEAR, Defretter, Sitar, Feedbacker, ANTI-FEEDBACKER, Humanizer, Slicer, Wave Synth, SUB EQ.


FX-2 block features HARMONIST, Pitch Shifter, Pedal Bend (Whammy), Octave, Rotary, 2x2 Chorus, Auto Riff, Guitar Synth, AC Processor, Sound Hold, and Sub Delay. Other built-in effects are a noise suppressor and of course the typical BOSS Delay, Overdrives and Distortions, Delay, Chorus and Reverb. Every effect on the GT-8 pedal can be controlled or assigned from either the footswitches or the pedal. You can also blend between 2 separate distortions using the expression pedal. Every effect also has presets that can be accessed quickly by pressing PARAMETER left. Up to 13 effect blocks can be used simultaneously, and customized in the effects chain.


Using the GT-8 live there are several options, as the pedal can be run into manual or preset mode. Manual mode is essentially unlocked where you have control of the switches as if they were stompboxes on the floor. In preset mode everything has to be set and then saved exactly how want them. Both modes have their advantages and disadvantages however making tweaks and saving them on the GT-8 are relatively easy once you get used to it. The guitarist from Extreme, Nuno Bettencourt still uses a GT-8 on his pedalboard today, only for small effects here and there.


BOSS releases new GT multi-effects every 4 to 5 years, however users are still tweaking and trying to figure out the GT-3 and GT-5 from the late 90s. I believe it is a testament to the technology and flexibility of these devices. If you can manage to find a GT-8 in the wild, I would definitely recommend it as a great addition to your pedal board.

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