Funny story about a Boss CE-2 Chorus

Japan vs. Taiwan

I recently wanted to get a chorus pedal. Since I’m a big eBayer, I did some research & found that the hotly sought after item was a “vintage” Boss CE-2 Chorus pedal. Soon I realized that it was the black-backed Japan version that was highly coveted. Some of these babies were selling for close to $150, and there was a lots of hype surrouding these.

I put a bid on a slightly damaged (missing knob) Taiwanese model, because I wasn’t willing to pay those prices. I got one for under $50. It arrived Sat & sounds pretty good.

Me being the inquisitive & doubtful soul, I suspected that there was indeed no difference between the highly praised Japan black-back and it’s lowly cousin, the Taiwan greenback. I mean why would Roland use different circuits, etc.

So I googled it & sure enough - there’s appears to be no physical difference in the pedals. However, there’s an adjustment pot on the inside of the pedal, & low-and-behold the Japanese version was adjusted slightly different than it’s mongrel cousin. I opened it up & made the adjustment. Viola - I’ve got a great little chorus for next to nothing!

Mr Soul

That not too shabby !

Was there actually a huge (if any) difference in sound pre- and post- the modification ?

Was there actually a huge (if any) difference in sound pre- and post- the modification ?
Not really.

It's appears as though that pot is some kind of impediance or resistence control, because as you turn it counter-clockwise, you lose all the chorus effect. So, I'm not exactly sure what this pot does?

Mr Soul

It’s a feedback pot controlling gain in the resonance circuity. If it could be turned far enough right the resonance could go into uncontrolled feedback, though I doubt there is enough gain for that to happen if it is in fact turned all the way right…though some might.

Those are used mainly to make all the pedals sound the same when shipped. There’s enough intolerance in the components for this to be necessary. It’s a very common practice. The Taiwan version may be using components from a cheaper source – even less tolerance in the components - but if adjusted to sound the same, not necessarily adjusted to the same location, the pedals are probably identical.

I noticed something similar in Musician’s Friend. They are selling a reissue of the old original green Ibanez Tube Screamer and the newer green Ibanez tube Screamer on the same page – both new. As far as I know the only major difference is the case, though I don’t know that for sure. I own a real old one and have played through the newer ones years ago. I don’t remember any difference in sound. They have the same knobs. The only functional difference it the way the switch works. Ibanez when to a larger leaver mechanism instead of a push button. The switch underneath may even be the same. Of course the prices are different – about $150 and $100. Vintage sells, even if it’s new vintage. Isn’t that an oxymoron, or is it just moron?

Interesting about the pot. Now I’ve played with it, I’m wondering exactly where it should be set. According to what you say, there could indeed be a noticeable difference between the Japanese & Taiwanese models then?

I thouht the older tube screamer used a difference circuit but I could be wrong.

Mr Soul

There could be a difference for sure. The only way to know is to have two sitting side by side, but I’d be willing to bet you could have a pile of them and most would be a little different if you knew exactly what to look for.

I don’t know about the tube screamers. They might be drastically different. I haven’t messed with the newer ones in years. I have seen inside one long ago, but it was so long ago I don’t remember much, except that I don’t remember there being any drastic differences except the box. Of course that was a long time ago, and they might actually be drastically different. Remembered perceptions can change (“Wow, I remember it sounding a lot better!”) so what was no different to me then might be a drastic difference now. Anyway. I don’t know if the new ones they are selling today are the same as the newer boxes a long time ago. THAT might be the difference these days.

As I remember the Tube Screamers were the TS-9 and the TS-10. The TS-9 being the sought after model. I remember because a guitarist gave me an earful about saying there was no difference in the sound. At least not that I could hear.

But I suspect him of being a pointlessly esoteric gear slut anyway.