Tube ScreamerBuying Guide

An overview of the many editions, variations, and imitations of the classic overdrive effect pedal.

Ibanez first released the venerable Tube Screamer in its now-iconic minty green enclosure back in the late-1970s. Since then, it has become a stalwart in the world of overdrive effect pedals and has likely found a place, at one point or another, on most every guitarist's pedalboard that you can think of.

With a production history that spans almost five decades, it's no surprise that the Tube Screamer has seen so many circuit variations and model iterations. But what are all of those models, and what exactly separates them from one another?

Below, we've laid out an easily digestible guide of all of the Tube Screamer stompbox iterations you should know about. Check it out, and click on any of the Tube Screamer models to get your own right here on Reverb.

Ibanez Tube Screamers Still in Production

  • Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Reissue

    Before there was a Klon, before there was an explosion of boutique overdrives, there was the Ibanez Tube Screamer. Its subtle, mid-boosted sound changed the way guitarists thought about their place in the sonic spectrum and spurred a wave of imitators. Today, it remains one of the most popular and borderline requisite items on any pedalboard.

  • Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer Reissue 2004 - Present

    Sporting the same chip and analog circuits as the much-coveted original, the Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer Reissue is a true-to-form rendition with the same streamlined interface of overdrive, tone and level controls. This pedal summons all the searing tube-like overdrive of its predecessors without searing a hole through your wallet.

  • Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

    The Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini combines the all-time classic tone of the Tube Screamer with convenience of a bite-sized stompbox. For decades, players like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Trey Anastasio have built their overdriven sound on the Tube Screamer circuit, and the Mini delivers that exact growl and bite in a format that will fit onto any board.

  • Ibanez TS808HW Tube Screamer Handwired Overdrive 2009 - Present

    The Ibanez TS808HW Tube Screamer pedal feature true-bypass, hand-wired circuitry that closely emulates the vintage TS808. It offers the same JRC4558D integrated circuit as the TS808, as well as Japanese MOGAMI OEC cabling. It is a hand-crafted pedal made to the highest standards of tone enthusiasts.

The Vintage Ibanez Tube Screamer

When perusing Reverb, it's not uncommon to stumble upon vintage Ibanez Tube Screamer specimens—some of which carry hefty price tags. And though many of the newer Tube Screamers do an excellent job in paying homage to those classic circuits and replicating their tone, there's still something of an unbeatable vibe that goes along with plugging into one of the original green noiseboxes.

But before you dive headlong into the market of vintage Tube Screamer pedals, there are some things you should know. Many of these pedals are still an excellent buy for the right player, but as with any vintage pedal or piece of gear, it's important to be aware that they could end up requiring more maintenance either out of the gate or down the line than you'd have to put into a newer production model.

Make sure that you're thoroughly reading the item description to find out what kind of state the pedal is in before you buy—functional issues, cosmetic blemishes, any work that has been or needs to be done to the circuit—and ask questions for clarification if you need it.

The Oft-Imitated Circuit of the Tube Screamer

As briefly mentioned above, the Tube Screamer was Ibanez's very successful attempt at fine-tuning even earlier classic overdrive circuits from brands like Boss and Maxon. Using those pedals as a foundation, the engineers at Ibanez worked to create something more expansive and unique in its tonal spectrum and capabilities, and now, the Tube Screamer has itself become foundational to a lot of modern-day overdrive circuits.

Boutique pedal builders have been turning to the Tube Screamer for years now, using its beloved design as the building blocks for their own unique creations. Though not intended to replicate a true Tube Screamer exactly, these inspired designs borrow some of the classic pedal's touches that best complement the brands' entirely new circuits and give players a taste of the classic Tube Screamer vibe in more inventive packages.

Popular Tube Screamer Modifications

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