The Ibanez Tubescreamer is a distortion pedal that is very popular for blues guitar playing but is also used for country as well as different styles of guitar solos. The pedal is an overdrive pedal that lends itself well to playing with a tube amp at loud settings. The TubeScreamer has many different variations including models such as the TS808, TS-9, and TS-10 amongst other TS models. The TS-808 and TS-9 are the most popular of the TubeScreamers and have been reissued by Ibanez featuring the same design and components of the originals.
Picture of the Ibanez TubeScreamer TS808
History of the Ibanez Tubescreamer
The Ibanez Tubescreamer was first introduced to market in the late 1970’s by a company called Maxon. The very first TubeScreamer was a TS-808 similar to the one pictured above which is a reissue version. From 1982 to 1985, the company sold a TubeScreamer called the TS-9 which was similar to the TS-808 except that the pedal looked a bit different and the output section circuit was different enough to give the pedal a brighter and less smooth sound. In 1986, the TS-10 was introduced which had more changes to the circuitry. The TS-9 was re-continued in 1993 due to popular demand. Other pedals such as the TS-5 and TS-7 were introduced in the late 90s and early 00s but have since stopped being sold. In 2002, Maxon stopped making the pedals for Ibanez and is now outsourced to another company. In 2004, Ibanez reissed the TS-808 and continues to sell new variations of the TS-9. Ibanez currently sells new versions of the TS-9, TS9DX Turbo, TS9B Bass Tube Screamer along with the TS-808 OverDrive Pro and the TS-808HW Hard Wired Tube Screamer. Maxon also continues to market their own pedals now under the Maxon name. The Maxon-produced Ibanez TubeScreamers, particularly early versions of the TS-9 and TS-808 are the most sought out amongst collectors and players. The pedal has been used by a variety of popular guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Edge.
Features of the Ibanez TubeScreamer
The TubeScreamer has gone through both subtle and extreme changes over the years. One of the most unique aspects of the original Ibanez TubeScreamer is that the input signal is mixed with a subtle clipping circuit which combines some of the original sound with the distorted sound. This gives the sound a cleaner, more dynamic and clearer sound than other, more high-gain pedals. The pedal uses FET bypass switching and a variable gain op-amp with diodes to produce the distorted signal. The TubeScreamers typically have 3 knobs: overdrive, tone and level. However, some models have a fourth knob for additional gain.
Sound Quality of the Ibanez TubeScreamer
I’ve used variations of the TS-9 and TS-808 over the years. My favourite is probably the original TS-9 but the TS-808 is great too. The pedals sound great through an amp with power amp tubes. The mixture of the clean signal with the distorted signal gives a really bell-like quality to the playing: think Stevie Ray Vaughan. Both the TS-9 and TS-808 have a classic overdrive tone that can be used for blues and rock playing. The sound is particular useful for dynamic playing: think The Edge. The pedals are perfect for playing searing lead guitar. A local guitarist in my city that I am very familiar with plays a Les Paul through a TubeScreamer TS-808 into a Fender Twin combo and plays blues-rock. I have heard many comments that he has a great tone and sound. If you are looking for a pedal that is sure to have your tube amp sounding the best, I would definitely check out any variation of the TubeScreamer.
Specs and Dimensions
Varies with model.
The new Ibanez TubeScreamer pedals come with a five year manufacturer’s warranty.