The Return of the Tubescreamer

Big Twang Theory

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May 27, 2020
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The TS9 was the first pedal I ever bought, but it mostly has been sitting in my pedal drawer for years. I've moved on to lots of other overdrive flavors, mostly of the bluesbreaker, klon and Nobels ODR-1 variety. However this last Saturday I threw my old TS9 back on the board for our monthly gig at my favorite bar. And oh boy, it was a total revelation. It was just a light bulb, "oh yeah, THAT'S why so many people use these" kind of moment. With all my boutique Browne Proteins, and Greer Lightspeed types of pedals (which I still love btw) I had forgotten how effing fantastic a straight up stock golden oldie TS9 sounds.

I think the key to my rediscovering the TS was two fold.
1. Live Setting. At home playing on my own, it still sounds pretty....meh. But in a full band mix in a loud bar, man it just cuts. I would hit it for solos and even though my actual volume didn't increase, it just sounded way louder and more prominent.
2. I still don't particularly love the TS sound on it's own. But pushing another light gain pedal is where the magic is at for me.

Anyway, I'm sure many of you will read this and think "yeah, we know ya big dummy." But for me it was such a weird rediscovery. I think the biggest thing was I always used it before just playing alone and not in an actual band setting, so that part was a first. Cheers all!
 

VonBonfire

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Apr 21, 2021
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Texas
Tubescreamer type boxes are really good and I do own one for emergency lower volume gigs when needed but I still just prefer plugging straight in and using amp distortion. Sometimes that means near clean tone but I have to completely readjust my amp for TS pedal and that complicates gigging.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Sep 2, 2016
Posts
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Somewhere
The TS9 was the first pedal I ever bought, but it mostly has been sitting in my pedal drawer for years. I've moved on to lots of other overdrive flavors, mostly of the bluesbreaker, klon and Nobels ODR-1 variety. However this last Saturday I threw my old TS9 back on the board for our monthly gig at my favorite bar. And oh boy, it was a total revelation. It was just a light bulb, "oh yeah, THAT'S why so many people use these" kind of moment. With all my boutique Browne Proteins, and Greer Lightspeed types of pedals (which I still love btw) I had forgotten how effing fantastic a straight up stock golden oldie TS9 sounds.

I think the key to my rediscovering the TS was two fold.
1. Live Setting. At home playing on my own, it still sounds pretty....meh. But in a full band mix in a loud bar, man it just cuts. I would hit it for solos and even though my actual volume didn't increase, it just sounded way louder and more prominent.
2. I still don't particularly love the TS sound on it's own. But pushing another light gain pedal is where the magic is at for me.

Anyway, I'm sure many of you will read this and think "yeah, we know ya big dummy." But for me it was such a weird rediscovery. I think the biggest thing was I always used it before just playing alone and not in an actual band setting, so that part was a first. Cheers all!

Don’t feel bad. It took me years to figure out how (and when) to use one! It was the first pedal I ever bought, and I ran it into my mid forward Marshall amp at home and it sounded very nasal, boxy and just not good tone, at home practicing or with a buddy on acoustic.
 

Jay Jernigan

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Feb 11, 2013
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10-uh-C
Always worked better for me if the amp was on the edge of breakup, or more; couldn't quite get there through a clean amp. I have, in the past, run one into another one and that worked pretty well. Certainly not the only game in town but I can't imagine a pedal board without one or, at least, something similar.
 

dswo

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May 1, 2016
Posts
920
Location
East Carolina
A Joyo tube screamer was one of the first pedals I ever bought, but I didn't understand what it's good for, and moved onto other things. Recently, though, I was watching this video, where Mick talks about turning down the gain:



I tried it with my old Joyo last night. This is something I want to explore more.
 

perttime

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Apr 13, 2014
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Finland
My guitars and amps are pretty midrange heavy. I think a tubescreamer sounds best when everything is scooped and I don't enjoy playing those types of rigs.
I'm sure much depends on the "base" tone. I can see how adding a TS on a sound that already has lots of mids, might not be ideal....

I still have my 198something TS9.
 

codamedia

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Apr 4, 2009
Posts
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Western Canada
I think the key to my rediscovering the TS was two fold.
1. Live Setting. At home playing on my own, it still sounds pretty....meh. But in a full band mix in a loud bar, man it just cuts. I would hit it for solos and even though my actual volume didn't increase, it just sounded way louder and more prominent.
2. I still don't particularly love the TS sound on it's own. But pushing another light gain pedal is where the magic is at for me.

Congratulations! You have discovered the magic of a Tube Screamer! Once you figure those two things out, it's hard to take them OFF your board!

I think a tubescreamer sounds best when everything is scooped and I don't enjoy playing those types of rigs.

I don't think it's that simple.... Tube Screamers in front of a classic Marshall tone is heavenly... and there is nothing scooped about a classic Marshall tone.
 

twangking

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May 10, 2010
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Out in the woods.
Congratulations! You have discovered the magic of a Tube Screamer! Once you figure those two things out, it's hard to take them OFF your board!



I don't think it's that simple.... Tube Screamers in front of a classic Marshall tone is heavenly... and there is nothing scooped about a classic Marshall tone.
I don't have or like Marshalls but I can tell you tubescreamers don't sound great in front of my vintage ac30 with celestion blues. Complete ruins the dynamic response for me. I typically only run either a rangemaster or clean boost in front of that amp. Harmonics and touch sensitivity for days.
 

Platefire

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Nov 3, 2003
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North Louisiana around Many
My introduction to the TS was a clone Visual Sounds Route 66 American Overdrive(the old original one) that also includes a Dyna Comp clone compressor with a tone control. I didn't know it was a TS clone at first, I just know I loved that dirt:>)---I later found out it was a TS clone and now have a TS-5, TS-9, TS-808 and also a Visual Sounds Route 808.

On the distortion side(More gain), I tried the old standard DS-1 and tried to make it work but couldn't live with it plus several others that I can't even remember the names off now but I found this TC Electronics Dark Matter in a pawn shop and just picked it up for grins. As it turned out that fulfilled my idea of what i was looking for. I mostly use OD for everything dirt but for rare occasions when I need higher gain the Dark Matter does it.

On the lite drive or boost(almost clean but not quite) a EH Soul Food on also JOYO Ultimate Drive works. Platefire
 

drmordo

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Jun 27, 2019
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Tampa, FL
It's funny because I have never liked them, but I gigged a few weeks back and the other guitar player had one. When he kicked it on, it sounded great.
 




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