The Boss BF-3 flanger lives up to its reputation, giving you a full compliment of modulation options with several modes and four EQ controls. In typical Boss fashion, it does the basics of its job description very well.
This is our Boss BF-3 review, focusing entirely on one of the most popular flanger pedals available. To conduct this review we've actually bought and used the Boss BF -3 flanger for an extended period of time, in the following scenarios:
- Home jamming
- Basic recording
- Gigging and live settings
- With bass, acoustic, and electric guitars
Note that we graded and reviewed the BF-3 based on this experience, and not simply the reviews of other people. This is a first-hand account and not a recycled review from somewhere else.
Overall, the BF-3 flanger is one of our favorite guitar pedals, period. Even outside of the modulation category, it's just a great all around pedal that we'd recommend to almost anyone.
In this review, we'll explain why.
From this section you can use the comparison buttons to see pricing and compare the BF-3 side-by-side to other modulation pedals. Please keep in mind that we partner with Sweetwater to provide links to gear, yet at no extra cost to you. If you buy through these links, it's a non-intrusive way to support our site. Thank you for considering it.
Boss BF-3 Flanger
EHX Electric Mistress Flanger
Source Audio Mercury Flanger
EarthQuaker Devices Pyramids Stereo Flange
In the following section, we've covered some basic pros and cons, as well as a simplified grading system for the Boss BF-3 flanger.
IDEAL FOR: All situations where modulation is needed.
Sound Quality and Tone
For a digital signal processor, the sound quality in the BF-3 flanger is surprisingly good. It's most at home as a subtle modulation layer over a clean signal, which is how we did most of our testing in the following video demo:
Even higher intensity settings and the ULTRA mode seem to have their place, creating a deep, ethereal warbling sound.
With the added resolution control, those settings have an almost vocal, wah-like quality. Though as we'll often say concerning modulation effects, we like the subtle settings better, particularly over clean open chords or simple melodies.
Considering the overall tone quality, the pedal sounds great, and can be used in a wide variety of situations and contexts.
The controls are fairly basic, though you do get the four mode selector on the right hand side of the pedal, including the MOMENTARY mode that engages only when the pedal is pressed down.
You also have a two-band EQ for the effects - DEPTH and RATE - along with a RES which controls the resonance and MANUAL for controlling the center frequency.
Our only complaint?
No mix or wet/dry control.
- MANUAL: Controls the central frequency.
- RES: Adjusts the resonance of the sweeping comb filter (sharper or softer).
- DEPTH: Difference between the two signals and how deep the swirl effect sounds.
- RATE: Sets the speed of the swirl.
- MODE: Chooses the flanger mode.
- NORMAL: Standard flange
- ULTRA: Wider and more intense swirl effect.
- GATE / PAN: Pans the sound to create a tremolo effect.
- MOMENTARY: Engages flange when you hold the pedal down.
The BF-3 is over-priced in most markets, running near $165 new on Sweetwater.
However, it's easily redeemed by used versions that often drop down far cheaper. If you want to work with the new price, it's not terrible, considering how much we like the BF-3, but we might recommend trying to find it used, first, before you go for the completely new option.
- Size: 2.9 x 5.1 x 2.4 inches
- Weight: 1 pound (with the battery)
- Bypass: Buffered
- Controls: Frequency, Rate, Depth, Resonance, Mode
- Outputs: Stereo and Mono
- Power: 9V battery or 9-18V PSA series adapter
Conclusion & Questions
The Boss BF-3 flanger is one of the most complete and usable modulation pedals we know to recommend. It also embodies what we love about Boss pedals: Simple, straightforward, sounds great, and can be had for fairly cheap.
If you've got questions about our Boss BF-3 review, or our review process, drop us a line in the comments section below.
We'll continue the conversation there.
Thanks for reading.