Guitar Effects Guide #1: Ibanez Tube Screamer Overdrive and its Modern Alternatives
Guitar effects aka pedals, stomp boxes and DIY devices are one of the most common conversation topics among guitarists. It's not just a means to achieve a certain sound anymore. Testing, buying and selling effects have become a lifestyle. There are also a lot of myths and misunderstandings about guitar effects regarding the sound or what particular stomp boxes really do. That's why we've decided to put together a brief guide to classic effects and present the latest and often better-sounding or better-looking options. In the first part, we'll take a look at the Ibanez Tube Screamer, a classic among overdrive effects, and its modern variants.
Ibanez Tube Screamer
Many variations have appeared on the market since the company released the first TS 808 in the late 70s but when you say Tube Screamer, most players think of the classic "eight-o-eight". This overdrive features a brutal boost in the mids at the expense of other frequencies, so it will help your guitar sound get through the band mix during solos nicely, for example. The downside is that this is why the Tube Screamer is not a transparent overdrive. If you don't want alternative solutions and it’s ok for you that the current production doesn't have much in common with the original one except for the chassis and colour, you're lucky. Ibanez still makes the two most popular versions: TS 808 and TS9.
EarthQuaker Devices Plumes
Plumes has only been on the market for a few years but it immediately joined the biggest classics and top-rated Tube Screamer "clones". The word clone in this case is not in quotes by mistake. This really isn't just a copy of the original. Plumes offers three modes of connection that vary in the degree of distortion and compression. The most important feature is that while it also boosts the mids, it still preserves your original tone. And best of all is the price, as you'll pay only slightly more for this hand-built-in-the-USA effect than you would for a current production Ibanez Tube Screamer. So the boys and girls from Ohio, where this company is based, have taken it up another notch.
JHS Pedals The Bonsai
Not sure which Tube Screamer is right for you? Or are you looking around for one that hasn't been on the market for a while? And do you know what's more than a Tube Screamer? Nine Tube Screamers! Saying that you don’t have room in your pedalboard? No matter, they're all in one stomp box! Another American team from JHS are not messing around and have sent a pedal to the market with a choice of nine modes, each of which faithfully replicates different historic Tube Screamer variants. The Bonsai is a must for all fans of the original green effect.
Origin Effects Halcyon Green Overdrive
Another stomp box inspired by the original green pedal – this one is from the UK's Origin Effects and offers a choice between the sound of the classic TS 808 and a more modern mode that will be appreciated even by those players who don't really like the sound of the original Tube Screamer. There's also an Adapt switch, which lets you adjust the effect's behaviour to the exact dynamics of your play. Position 1 on the left is the classic Tube Screamer, position 1 on the right adds the lower frequencies and the middle position is almost completely transparent. With the Halcyon Green Overdrive you'll also be pleased with the price tag, which is set relatively low compared to other pedals from the brand, but the effect retains everything from the brand's almost industrial design.
Electro-Harmonix East River Drive
If you like the sound of the Tube Screamer but don't want to shell out 250 euro for an overdrive, you'll appreciate the Electro-Harmonix clone. Three knobs, classic EHX box design and very reasonable price – these are the main reasons to choose this effect. The biggest difference from the classic Tube Screamer is definitely the fact that the East River Drive has a bit more gain, and thus you'll use it more as a standalone overdrive. Add to that the price of under ninety euro, and it's a damn good investment.
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