The Ibanez Tube Screamer is a guitar overdrive pedal, made by Ibanez. The pedal has a characteristic mid-boosted tone popular with blues players.
The pedal has a drive knob, a tone knob, and a level knob. The drive knob adjusts gain, the tone knob adjusts treble and the level knob adjusts the output volume of the pedal. The pedal is used to try to mimic the sound of a vintage tube amplifier. The classic Tube Screamer sound includes a "mid-hump", which means that the circuit accentuates frequencies between the bass and treble ranges (mid-frequencies). Some guitarists prefer this sort of equalization, as it helps to keep their sound from getting lost in the overall mix of the band.
The pedal was produced with many variants:
- TS-808/TS808: The first Tube Screamer, the TS808, was released in the late 1970s. It was equipped with the Japanese JRC-4558 chip. Some units however had the Malaysian Texas Instruments RC4558P chip.
- TS9: From 1982 to 1985, Ibanez produced the "9-series" of effects pedals. The TS9 tube screamer is almost the same internally as the TS808. The significant change in the TS9 circuit was the output. This caused the tube screamer to sound brighter and not as smooth. In later years, TS9s were assembled with seemingly random operational amplifier chips, instead of the called-for JRC-4558.
After the 9 series was discontinued, the "Master" or "L" series was produced. This series was only made in 1985, and did not have a tube screamer in the lineup.
A rare and valuable version of the tube screamer was the ST9 Super Tube Screamer, which was sold only in Europe and Australia.
- TS10: In 1986, Ibanez began production of the "Power Series", which included the TS10 tube screamer. The TS10 had about 3 times more changes to the circuit than the TS9 had. Some TS10 pedals were made in Taiwan, using a MC4558 chip. All TS10s (as well as other L- and 10-series pedals) used floating jacks and pots, which were mounted to the boards instead of the cases. This is weak point in the design sometimes causing the jacks to break off.
- TS5: The plastic TS5 "Soundtank" followed the TS10 and was available until 1999. The TS5 circuit is very similar to the TS9; however, it was made for Ibanez in Taiwan by Daphon. First year of production had a metal casing, afterwards the casing was made out of plastic (which resulted in more noise than a typical TS808/TS9 box made out of metal). However, these plastic versions still have a shielded and grounded metal bottom plate for a slight interference reduction plus the needed weight to keep the pedal from sliding because of its light weight.
- TS7: The TS7 "Tone-Lok" pedal was released in 1999. It was made in Taiwan like the TS5, but in an aluminium case that was more durable. The circuit inside had a "hot" mode switch for extra distortion and volume. Most TS7 pedals came with the JRC4558D chip, like the TS808 and TS9.
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