This Ibanez Tubescreamer TS808 Overdrive from 1982 holds not only a wealth of value on the pedal-trade market, but a fortune in tone, play-ability and smoothness as well. It has been a standard for years and is quite possibly the most copied and modded circuit known to electric guitar players.
An oldie but a goodie, this vintage Ibanez Tubescreamer ts808 is found in one of the most unlikely of places, on the stage of a church. Paired with a beautiful cherry red Gibson ES-335 and a custom tolex Fender Twin, the sound grabbed my ears and forced me to listen to the simple, pure sounds that rig was pushing out.
The pedal was, in essence, spartan. The rubber footing had fallen off years ago, one of the knobs floated like a flywheel freely, yet still functional. The face and sides of the sea-sick green pedal are scraped and worn. The switch is as resistant as most Ibanez Tubescreamer switches feel, and is not modded. The owner told me that it has no internal changes whatsoever, and I didn’t whip out a screwdriver to look of course. This pedal, despite 30 years of use, was still kicking! Thankfully the guitar player allowed me to try it out!
One might have assumed that there would be a degradation in tone over 30 years. Our modern mindsets are quite used to looking for opportunities to upgrade/mod parts to get a better tone. Honestly, one should never venture to fix something that ain’t broke! This pedal was pushing out some of the creamiest overdrive I had heard to date. The smooth humbucker tones from the ES-335 paired with the mid to treble-y range of the Fender Twin gave this Vintage Ibanez Tubescreamer TS808 a most coveted canvas to paint onto.
Ibanez Tubescreamer Lead tones:
When cranking the volume only got thicker. With a rounding of the corners of tone, as one can only expect from a TS808. The sustain of this rig certainly is attributed to any one of the three components. However, I will say that the TS808 is certainly part of this holy trinity of tone.
Ibanez Tubescreamer Crunch/Rhythm:
Incredibly Jangly, yet thick crunch is to be had, again, as expected from the TS808. I tried some Rush licks, a few Edge arpeggios, and took a step back each time I struck the strings. This was the crunch of Classic rock players.
I have really no place in writing about if this is to be compared to anything else. This is the grail of tone, the one ring by which all others are compared. To be fair, I play a reissue TS808 that had exactly the same vibe as this did, mojo intact. Other pedal manufacturers wish to copy this tone. Yet, aside from a component for component swap, they will never quite get there!
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You can certainly look on Ebay and pay into the hundreds of dollars for one of these, yet why would you when you can land a reissue Vintage Ibanez Tubescreamer TS808 direct from Amazon – with Prime shipping you’d receive it in two-days! Get yours today!