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

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I don’t read circuits. My take is a Blues Driver is intended to mimic the EQ, feel and breakup of a blackface Fender. Lots of bass, lots of treble. Not smooth. That bright, cutting older blues tone. But with a lot more breakup available.
    4pickupguy and Mad Kiwi like this.
  2. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    Not looking down my nose at one, just don't care for the low end loss. Not all fuzz's give up the low end, but they do have plenty of fizz...
  3. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    You can search through here somewhere and 11 gauge has gone into great detail about it. Seems to be their own incantation if I remember correctly...
  4. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    Reason I ask is that I bought off a whim a digitech Screami'n Blues pedal, presumably that's a variation

    Sorry off topic.
  5. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 7, 2016
    Is it still OK to put ketchup on french fries? Sorry, but it is hard to keep up with the trends here.
  6. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    Interesting comments about low end loss on Tube Screamers. I’ve never experienced low end loss with mine. If anything, it fattens it up so I put the tone control on it at about 1 o’clock.

    Mine is from the original run of TS9’s that came in after the 808 from about 1982 - 85. The circuit should be typical of TS9’s but I read that Ibanez changed the OPAmp chip (JRC-4558) at some point after 1985 due to availability and the first Gen are coveted because of that original chip. I believe the reissue uses a variant of the 4558 and should sound good too. It’s those late 80’s models that are the trouble ones and apparently can sound pretty terrible.
  7. Kayle McGuire

    Kayle McGuire Tele-Meister

    Jul 31, 2017
    Wampler Clarksdale. Tube Screamer perfected with more EQ control. That is relevancy at its finest.
  8. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    The Tube Screamer is absolutely still relevant. Darn near EVERY "boutique" pedal company/builder either makes or did make a TS variant. Why, because folks still buy them!

    I agree with whoever said they're more relevant with Fender amps. My 1998 Fulldrive 2 has been my go to OD for 20 years now....with Fender amps. I bet I've owned 15-20 dirt pedals since but the FD2 is still my go to.

    I saw Walter Trout last night. His whole rig was a strat, a Mesa Mark 5 half stack, and a TS9 sitting on a roadcase next to the amp.

    It's still relevant.
    RetroTeleRod and bluesholyman like this.
  9. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    As long as KSB is hanging out at GC or open blooze jam it will be.
  10. 3fngrs

    3fngrs Friend of Leo's

    Oct 30, 2017
    Im a fan of the TS. I use mine in several ways.

    I do use it to push an amp into overdrive but I've found other things that I really like.

    Pushing my ProCo RAT with a TS is a cool sound. I can distinctly hear the sound of both pedals at once. It gives me a big, smooth, fuzzy distortion that I like for certain lead styles. Not good for rhythm, though! lol

    While fooling around in my garage the other night I did the exact opposite of what everybody says to do. I had to play at a very low volume and I wanted to balance my volume with the stereo I was playing along with and have some hair on my sound. What I did was adjusted the volume on my Fender Champion 600 to very low, like 1, maybe 1 1/2. Then I plugged into my TS-9 and set it for unity gain, rolled the tone back to about 10-11:00 and dimed the distortion. It gave me a very useful sound at a level that was no louder than a quiet conversation.

    I'm itching to get back out there and see if it still sounds as good as it did that night.
    RetroTeleRod likes this.
  11. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Meister

    Aug 4, 2009
    Lebanon, NH
    You hit the nail on the head here. I like tube screamers mainly because they allow you to get a good distortion tone without clipping the bass frequencies, which I really don't like. As mentioned above, clipped bass sounds flubby and detracts from the midrange and higher frequencies. Also, in a band scenario, I feel it's best not to encroach on the bass guitar frequency range (200 Hz and below), but instead have the guitar occupy the midrange and treble tone space. That way the instruments blend better and the guitar can stand out during solos and riffs.
    kevsonic likes this.
  12. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    TS stuff n my pedal closet.....


    On boards.....

    Ibanez TS Mini
    Gearmanndude Luther Drive
    Mooer Green Mile

    If you need an 808 sounding pedal with an adjustable boot the Satriani Ice 9 pedal (on the far left) is really nice and you can find people who are giving them away on eBay or Reverb. I think I paid $45. I had it on this little board that I kept at our practice space but the Moorer Green Mile and RAT clone replaced it.

    Hiker, 2blue2 and waparker4 like this.
  13. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    I'll have to check that one out...
  14. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 6, 2009
    The tubescreamer has beer around for nearly 40 years, and was the very first od pedal I tried after a friend loaned me his. Ibanez have sold a million of them, they can't all be lying in drawers, unused so they most be relevant. I personally preferred the sparkle drive over the tubescreamer itself. My go to drive pedal now is either a Boss bd 2 or an od 3.
  15. kevsonic

    kevsonic Tele-Meister

    Oct 16, 2017
    Philadelphia, PA
    I love the tone-sculpting aspects of the Way Huge Green Rhino MkIV, but for what I want a Tubescreamer to do I rarely find that I want the 100Hz knob anywhere past 12 or 1 o'clock.

    Faulting the TS circuit for not having enough low end just seems a bit like criticizing a Philip's head screwdriver for not handling flat head screws well. A TS won't be much of a stand-alone dirt sound into a clean preamp unless you turn it into a not-TS.
  16. jonhart

    jonhart Tele-Meister

    Jun 19, 2012
    Myakka City, FL
    If it doesn’t work for you then it’s not essential. I play Strats and Teles through Fender BF amps almost exclusively, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the TS thing at most gig volumes. When I play outside though my go to drive is a Keeley modded Boss SD-1. In those situations the bass cut and mid boost works perfectly.

    As for if the TS is relevant or not, I think asking such a question is irrelevant. I’m not bashing, but the reality of tone is that it is subjective and whatever one person likes another may hate. It’s relevant to whoever likes it.
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  17. j5jarod777

    j5jarod777 Tele-Meister

    Mar 7, 2012
    I'm pretty sure that the BD2 was Boss's take on the Marshall Blues Breaker pedal that came out a few years before
  18. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 25, 2007
    The closest I came to one was a Blues Driver in the 90s when I first started learning how to play. But that was when I played in my bedroom at my parent's house
    I don't think they were ever relevant. I don't get pedals in general.

    Fuzz on the other hand is such a gimmick I love it when it's 2000lb Bee or Davie Allan stuff.
    I'd like a MKII but I don't know what I'd use it on.
  19. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    Keep in mind, my question was in the context of being able to do "that sound" without using a TS. While I agree with you that tone is very subjective, the question itself had a more specific premise.
  20. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    My guess is that it will still sounds as good as it did the other night. I did exactly the same thing yesterday for some quiet rocking out at home but ran the tone at 1 o’clock and the drive to 3 o’clock with the level at about unity which I think was about 11 o’clock. It sounded outstanding.
    3fngrs likes this.
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