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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Is the tube screamer still relevant?

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

  1. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

    The Visual Sound Route 808 is a great pedal especially after other ODs or a Big Muff for a dreamy lead tone. It also has a bass switch to retain more low end which I don't find necessary (a lot of TS clone pedals have something similar). When you have headroom the TS circuit is a great lead booster and rolled off bass is not an issue.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    awasson likes this.
  2. A.B.Negative

    A.B.Negative Friend of Leo's

    Aug 26, 2008
    Use whatever you like, only guitar nerds will be able to tell (after they've had a look at your pedal board).
  3. Bob Arbogast

    Bob Arbogast Tele-Afflicted

    I don't like the sound of clipping diodes, which is at the heart of the TS and its sound-alikes. I much prefer a pedal with multiple gain stages each adding a bit of "drive." Subdecay Liquid Sunshine is a favorite. But, like a TS, it sounds best with some volume out of the amp.

    Sometimes there is no substitute for a little volume and some amp-generated fullness. (A Princeton Reverb can get loud but not full. A Twin Reverb can get too loud and is almost always too full. A Vibrolux Reverb, on the other hand, is "just right.")

    I didn't have a TS back in the day. By 1980 I had an MXR D+. No mid-hump, but really a horrible-sounding box, thin and buzzy, even with lots of amp volume. For a time in the 90s, I had a TS-9 feeding a D+. That made for some good classic rock sounds. Carry on, wayward son!

    All this is just my flexible opinion!
    awasson and OlRedNeckHippy like this.
  4. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    I went with a Blues Driver about 15 years ago though I'd never heard one in person specifically because it wasn't a Tube Screamer. At the time at least, it seemed like every guitar player I saw in bar bands had a Tube Screamer, and they all sounded like it, especially the Strat guys. I just wanted something that would stand out, and I've been happy never owning one. I know a guy that has 2-3 on his board -- go figure.
    OlRedNeckHippy and Fiesta Red like this.
  5. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Before I'd ever heard a Tube Screamer or even knew what it was supposed to do, I had a MESA/Boogie with the 5-band graphic EQ, and I could turn it on or off with a footswitch. I would leave it on all the time when playing rhythm, with a slight U curve giving a little bit of a scoop. During solos, I'd shut the EQ off which ran it flat, providing a mid-boost relative to the normal U curve. Of course I could have done the opposite and just boosted the mids with the EQ for the same effect, but I liked the slightly scooped rhythm tone. So the mid-hump of a TS makes sense to me; there's just something about the actual tone of those pedals that ain't my cup of tea.
    wildschwein likes this.
  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    I like the Blues Driver,'s a great sounding pedal...

    ...but it's a variant of the Tube Screamer circuit. Boss basically said, "Let's make a Tube Screamer with our personal slant on it."
  7. RoyalBaby

    RoyalBaby Tele-Holic

    Jul 23, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    I played a gig with a guy who’s set up was primarily strat+Blues Driver+ Fender solid state 1x12 combo ( I forget which one exactly). Just the harshest, nastiest , ear splitting tone. Sounded fine with the BD off but when he stomped on it...oof.
    Roll forward a year or two and we have a dep second guitarist in the blues band I’m in. His set up is strat+BD+ a half stack (a Diezel I think). So, I think I know what’s coming and sounded beautiful. Warm yet cutting dynamic blues tone that I was really envious of.
    So, I think TS or TS based pedals seem to suit some set ups better and wether they do or don’t it really is how you use stuff.
    Kayle McGuire likes this.
  8. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    The blues driver is nothing like a tube screamer.
    j5jarod777, karpis, codamedia and 3 others like this.
  9. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 6, 2006
    Dallas TX USA

    By your definition, no, it's no longer relevant, since you can achieve the same tones with other gear.

    The Tubescreamer is one of the most popular pedals of all time. Starting a thread with, "I don't like it but...", is trolling, plain and simple.

    I'm a little embarrassed that I replied here... Twice. But that's OK. I'm not proud.

    Hopefully this thread accomplished whatever it was that you were hoping to accomplish.

    We got to talk about pedals... Hooray! ;)
  10. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    This was a good idea to ask how people are using theirs.

    I use mine a couple of ways but it’s not complicated. I don’t use it with my IBanez AS100 (like an ES335) because I favour the neck pickup and with the TS9 it’s too mid heavy. Maybe I’d use it on the bridge. I’ll have to plug in and see how that works.

    I use my TS9 mainly with my Tele or Strat to add a little dirt. Just something to fatten up the tone and a little bite. I don’t crank the drive or volume and I have the tone at about 1 o’clock. It only comes one when needed and I try to have the volume close to unity so that I can play clean and dirty without a big bump in volume.

    I’ve got it stacked with a Timmy so if I want to really let it rip, I switch to the Timmy or use the TS9 to drive the Timmy.
  11. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement
    awasson likes this.
  12. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    That certainly wasn't the intent. As I am going through the pedals I have I am looking to see if there is something I am missing - the TS has never appealed to me so just trying to figure out if I should have one or not. My goal is to do a wide variety of music, so something like this in my pedal locker would make sense, unless I could get "that sound" with some other pedal.

    No trolling was asked for a specific reason.
    RetroTeleRod, JayFreddy and Blue Bill like this.
  13. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    As far as my settings on the TS9RI attached to my board...

    It kinda depends on the song and my mood. If it needs a little more grit, the Drive goes up and the Level goes down...if I need more clean punch, vice-versa.

    One thing I don't get is people talking about the lack of bottom end caused by this pedal...
    First of all, that's not what it's designed's not a bass boost.

    Second of all--
    I use an amp that is well-known for having a tight bottom-end response (due to the 2x10 speaker contingency as much as the circuitry, IMHO), but any bottom end signal loss created by the TS (or any other pedal or component) can be rectified by adjusting the tone knob on the TS pedal itself, changing the player's picking technique, pickup selection (switch it to the middle or neck pickup), tone knob(s) on the guitar, tone knob(s) on the amp, adding an EQ pedal...or a half-dozen other tricks.

    And anybody who looks down their nose at a Tube Screamer because of low-end signal loss better throw away any variation of their Fuzz Face pedals---the ultimate in thinning out the tone.

    Maybe I've compensated some things in my rig and my technique due to my near-constant use of various Tube Screamers over the last 28+ years, but this criticism speaks more of the player than the device .
    t guitar floyd likes this.
  14. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 6, 2006
    Dallas TX USA
    I use mine with a compressor after it so I can control the sustain without completely killing the dynamics.

    Sorry if I misunderstood your question for a troll thread. It wasn't clear to me that you were asking for tips on how to use a tubescreamer
  15. Iago

    Iago Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 18, 2006
    I don't agree. I haven't used any Fuzz Face that cuts bass, unless it has been modified with a very small input capacitor (that, or the pedal is just crap, e.g. has some very bad transistors). On the other hand, fuzz faces have been more likely to sound too dark or even muffled on the bass, especially germanium ones.
    karpis likes this.
  16. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 7, 2016
    Still relevant (my opinion), but keep in mind that I still also find the Telecaster relevant.
    Iago, karpis, awasson and 3 others like this.
  17. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2010
    Fullerton CA
    There are reasons Tube Screamers cut bass (and treble, too.) Too much distorted bass sounds indistinct and flubby, and we all know what too much treble sounds like. The T-Screamer was introduced in an era where most folks played in loud bands and wanted a pedal that cut through.

    Nowadays, most folks probably play in a small room, maybe recording, usually not with a band but solo, at low to non-existent volume levels. Here, especially because of the low levels, you need more bass and more treble (Google "hi-fi loudness button"). Too much midrange sounds strident and one-dimensional and, face it, unforgiving.

    Increasingly, overdrive pedals have more sophisticated tone controls. Even the $20 Chinese knock-offs have separate treble and bass knobs. Good news for bedroom players.
  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    That would be the SD-1.
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  19. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    My bad...thanks for the correction.
    MilwMark likes this.
  20. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    What is the blues driver based on or intended to do differently?
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