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Is the tube screamer still relevant?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by bluesholyman, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

    Jun 30, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My first real pedal was one of the original TS-808s from the early 80s (the one with the square metal footswitch). I played though a Peavey hybrid amp, don't remember the model name. Anyway, I actually wanted more of an 80's hair metal type sound, and was sorely disappointed at the time, since the tube screamer got nowhere near the amount of gain I was looking for and I also didn't like the way the bottom end dropped out when engaged. I sold it to a buddy for a few bucks and bought some kind of "bees in a box" no name pedal that suited me just fine at the time. I guess my buddy laughed all the way to the bank, and at some point I did get some other dirt pedals, but I have never been tempted to get a Tube Screamer.
  2. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    Can "that sound" its famous for be attained without actually using a TS? I think so, which means its not really necessary to have one and is therefore not relevant by that definition. Didn't even think about an EQ/Boost with the mids bumped for cutting through - a good solution for an already cooking amp.

    Sometimes understanding something takes a lot of different perspectives. I think I could do without a TS-style pedal if all I wanted it for was to cut through. But if I wanted "that sound" then having one probably makes sense, just like having a Klon makes sense if I want the sound its famous for - could I do without a klone....sure....

    I guess ultimately, relevance for any pedal is a matter of taste, but I get the "utility" that the TS provides for mid-scooped amps.
    JayFreddy and RetroTeleRod like this.
  3. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    Your welcome
    Kayle McGuire and 4pickupguy like this.
  4. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    IMO, there is no absolute “relevant” or “not relevant” tone. There is only what fits your mood at any given moment. And this changes regularly, at least for me, over the course of months or years. Just because you don’t like a tone now doesn’t mean you won’t be craving it a year from now (happens to me a lot).
    Mad Kiwi, Southpole and RetroTeleRod like this.
  5. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 20, 2008
    When reading the first post, I began to imagine how many TS pedals (and clones of them) there are out there.

    Yes, I think they're relevant and probably have a larger following than we realize. Mine was over $100 U.S. and is but one of the flood of clones/ imitators!
  6. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2010
    Decatur, GA
    I have two on my board and another couple of spares standing by, if need be. And yes, I play through Fender-scooped amps, so they work well for me.


    (Also, the TS-5 Soundtank was my favorite TS ever.)
    Southpole and JustABluesGuy like this.
  7. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I had one of those! I don’t know what happened to it. It got replaced with a TS-9 that doesn’t get a lot of use.
  8. cosmiccowboy

    cosmiccowboy Tele-Afflicted

    Never really was a fan... I have the Hot Cake and love it! As someone said previously: ...tell me your application for it, and I'll know why or why not it's working for you.
  9. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    To truly get a TS tone three things are at play.
    • "Bass Cut/HighCut" (often tagged as a mid boost)
    • Overdrive
    • A blend control.... YES - a real TS is a 50/50 blend of natural tone vs overdrive tone... it's intent is to "add" it's sound to your existing sound!
    There are very few pedals that capture a TS accurately... most "improve on it" by removing the mid hump, the blend, or adding more gain. Do any of those and it's not a TS anymore. It might be good, but it isn't a TS.

    IMO (let me repeat, IMO :))... Myth #1 regarding a TS is that they only work with mid scooped amps. The TS is pure magic in front of any vintage Marshall or Hiwatt. There is nothing mid scooped about those amps ;)
    badger51 likes this.
  10. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Sep 2, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I think they are quite relevant. I started with soundtank model. Then got a TS-9 that I still have.

    I bought it because SRV (and everyone else is seemed) had one. The mistake I made was running it into a clean amp (and a cheap solid state Marshall at that). I made it work but it always sounded “off” and even a bit cheap, or “carboard box like” to me.

    When I finally used it to push a mid scooped tube amp on the edge of breakup it finally sounded like it actually should.

    I don’t use it too much any more, so it isn’t as relevant to me as it once was, but I’m not getting rid of it any time soon either.
  11. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    Its cool that he uses a TS-5 as his main overdrive/distortion sound and that expensive 808 for only feedback....
    codamedia likes this.
  12. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    Well, I guess this just answers the question, doesn't it...

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
    nosuch likes this.
  13. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 1, 2018
    Timbuktu, Earth
    I have a pretty old TS-9 and I've never seemed to get the jest of it.

    I don't think it is that great, but maybe it's me.
  14. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    Kind of a troll-y question, IMO. It seems obvious that they are widely popular, therefore relevant. If you don't like them, well, don't use one, whatever.
  15. SonsOfMoog

    SonsOfMoog Tele-Meister

    Jul 22, 2017
    It's all in the hands, any killer player will sound great through a Tube Screamer or a First Act dirt box.

    I used an AnalogMan TS-9 for years. Initially hated it and came around after trying many other brands. With the gain up, neck pickup selected and the guitar's tone knob down, you can get some pseudo fuzz sounds. It's a very versatile circuit.
  16. gregulator450

    gregulator450 TDPRI Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    Mesa AZ
    I think for some people it is still relevant, and for me, there is something alright about the green pedal into a fenderish amp. However, I much prefer a Klon [e] into a Marshall style amp. The Mythical Overdrive is a sweet, sweet sounding pedal, and kicks the TS' butt six ways from Sunday.
  17. gregulator450

    gregulator450 TDPRI Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    Mesa AZ
    It is ALL a matter of personal taste... like all things tone.
  18. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    LOVE TS sound. In to a crunchy amp of any sort. Marshal Class 5, Pro Junior, AC4, AC30, Crate Vintage Club 50....sounds great. Stacked in front of a BB2 if I want to up the gain....Lovely.

    Probably one of (if not THE) most popular single pedal styles ever, so how can it not be relevant?

    BUT...How can a pedal even be, or not be, relevant?

    Perhaps you mean current/in fashion ?

    Is a Rat relevant? a Whammy? an Ocatver?....... I expect to the user of any one of those at the time, it seems pretty relevant.

    I just spent time with the 11r trying to dial in Mary Janes Last Dance tone with a really close with the Tweed Champ (I think its meant to be) but a TS Drive on 1 , Mid Tone and 2 o Clock Volume nailed it. Upping the volume and the gain for the solo....perfect....

    Possibly a limitation of the 11r or even me.

    But, still relevant to me :)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  19. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    This is a great demonstration. Did they really manage to squeeze all this circuits in this tiny box?? My favorite is still the 808, what's yours?
  20. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    I’ve had the same TS9 since 1984. It was the first pedal I bought and it never seemed to work for me. For most of that time I was playing ES style guitars and SS amps.

    Now I’m playing Strats and Telecasters into tubes and it’s one of my must have boxes. As a matter of fact, I just redid my board and removed the Boss DS1 and Tech21 XXL in favour of a TS9 and a Timmy. I’m going to add a Fuzz at some point and I want to try a Zen drive but the TS9 is a good rock pedal and I don’t see it leaving my board.
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