True flanging occurs when you play two identical tapes and depress the flange on one. A digital flanger pedal achieves the same effect without the hassle and gives you more control and creative options.
BOSS makes the most of this fact and crams all those classic sounds and a few new ones into one compact stompbox. How well does that work? Keep reading my BOSS BF-3 Flanger review to find out.
BOSS BF-3 Flanger Sound
I like a clean, smooth flanger effect, and that’s exactly what the BOSS BF-3 Flanger provides. It doesn’t have the organic warmth of the BF-2, but it comes close. It’s warm for a digital flanger, enough to emulate the classic sounds of Pink Floyd and The Beatles.
Sound variety is where the BOSS BF-3 Flanger truly shines. You get three distinct flanging styles to play with, and five parameter knobs.
Yes, the BOSS BF-3 can give you almost any flanging effect you want. From a subtle spatial enhancer to underwater effects and lush psychedelic dimensions, it’s all at your fingertips.
With the right settings, it can even sound like a chorus or phaser.
Furthermore, lively stereo effects like this change dramatically when summed to mono. Therefore, the mono output essentially doubles your creative options.
You’ll notice this most with the GATE / PAN mode. This tremolo-flanger fusion pans left and right for a huge stereo image. In mono, it flutters the volume instead.
To mix things up further, you can stick your guitar plug in the bass socket for a different character. What exact guitar or bass you use with the BOSS BF-3 Flanger doesn’t matter, as it’s transparent and clean. However, even the best guitar pedals only sound right on good amplifiers.
Where have you heard this pedal? Well, legends like Bootsy Collins and Steve Vai have used it, and so has ‘80s hard rock icon George Lynch. Other examples include Joe Walsh of the Eagles, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, and Deftones guitarist Steve Carpenter. Fittingly, “the boss” Bruce Springsteen has a BOSS BF-3 Flanger on his pedalboard.
BOSS BF-3 Flanger Features
Where do I begin? The BOSS BF-3 has all the standard flanger features and some extras. You get two inputs, one for guitars and one for basses. Also, there are two outputs so you can choose between stereo and mono effects.
Next, let’s look at the knobs.
- MANUAL sets the central frequency.
- RES is the tiny knob on top of the MANUAL dial. It adjusts the resonance of the sweeping comb filter for a sharper or softer effect.
- DEPTH determines the maximum difference between the two signals and thus how deep and swirly it sounds.
- RATE sets the speed of the modulation.
- MODE selects modes.
These are the modes:
- NORMAL creates standard flanging.
- ULTRA is wider and more intense.
- GATE / PAN gates and pans the sound for tremolo effects.
- MOMENTARY only applies flanging when you hold the pedal down.
The last mode is very useful if you want to spice up a short lead lick and then return to normal.
Moreover, the pedal has a tap tempo function. Timing the sweeps and swirls to your song can take it to new levels.
In typical BOSS fashion, the BF-3 Flanger is built like a tank and comes with a 5-year warranty. See the manual for more details.
- Size: 2.9 x 5.1 x 2.4 inches
- Weight: 1 pound (including battery)
- Bypass: Buffered
- Controls: Frequency, Rate, Depth, Resonance, Mode, Bypass
- Outputs: Stereo, Mono
- Powering options: 9-volt battery or 9-18V PSA series adapter
BOSS BF-3 Flanger – To Buy or Not to Buy?
All in all, the BOSS BF-3 Flanger earns a spot among the very best flanger guitar pedals.
It carries the legacy of one of the most iconic flangers and adds a bunch of versatile features. Not to mention that it sounds huge without requiring much pedalboard space or cash.
I can’t think of anything else you could want from a flanger pedal.
That concludes this BOSS BF-3 Flanger review. Are you looking for more stompboxes? Check out the rest of my guitar pedal reviews.