The Thousand Dollar Tube Screamer

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by tiktok, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. plexified

    plexified Member

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    After 40 years it stands to reason some will sound better than others. But playing ' mail order roulette ' is still a gamble no matter what your buying. Most of my purchases are in person unless I know exactly what I am going to get.

    That being said Hendrix used to sit in Manny's music and play EVERY Wah, or Strat to find 'the one'. Even new gear still has variances piece to piece.

    These things are priced with consistant pace of the old Marshall amps and Cabs they were designed to push. If mine were stolen, I would not pay 1k to get one off Reverb. But I would pay it to get mine back. Even at the high water mark of 2k, I wouldn't think twice.

    If your not playing vintage Marshalls, Vintage Marshall Cabinets, you probably don't get it. And Yes, that Reverb POS sucks and you shouldn't buy it, UNLESS you pluged into it in person with your gear anyway, big win for Fed EX or UPS , again. But then again SRV said so, no he didn't, he played his ass off, he did not need pedals, so your misled.

    Take a deep breathe, and practice, it cures ALL. Green Pedal Bad. Practice Good.
     
  2. axdxm

    axdxm Supporting Member

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    Things are worth what people are willing to pay for them.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Alter

    Alter Member

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    I was offered one for about 200 euros last year... should have bought it it seems... ;)

    Naahh I have a few (other) tubescreames.. :) Still sounds like a lot for such a simple circuit.
     
  4. Old Possum

    Old Possum Member

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    Because someone said they were cool and would make you sound so amazing, lol
     
    dpgreek likes this.
  5. Old Possum

    Old Possum Member

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    And that's the truth, but no way are they worth it
     
  6. Radar

    Radar Member

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    Lol, no one's denying that identical circuits can sound different from each other. But if it isn't part tolerance, then what is it? Actual pixie dust? Magical fairy enchantment?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  7. GreatSatan

    GreatSatan Member

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    and people wonder why the cheap chinese knockoff market has been so successful..
     
  8. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

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    LOL if you think parts tolerances are the only variable. You don't know jack about electronics, circuits, components, layout, design, etc... Hilarious!
     
  9. Radar

    Radar Member

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    Ok, then please educate me? Let's get this knowledge transfer rolling.
     
  10. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

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    Educate YOU? You've already considered, tested, and eliminated every electronic variable except "fairy dust".

    I don't know why you don't start your own pedal company right now and make serious BANK. Just please add me to your waiting list; I want to get an early serial no. Thanks.
     
  11. Radar

    Radar Member

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    I want to clarify that I'm half joking with my posts. Re-reading now, I understand my tone of voice might sound more serious than I intention. Still though, your post looks like a deflection to me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  12. megatrav

    megatrav Member

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    LOL. Well played
     
  13. megatrav

    megatrav Member

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    Well that does matter. I didn't know that was the case.
     
  14. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

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    In that case, I apologize for taking it the wrong way.

    As someone who has built many part-for-part clones of both pedals and amplifiers, AND has measured and tested every single component, I can unequivocally state that component drift is not the only factor in accounting for differences in sound. I know TGP is fond of saying it and keeps repeating it, but it's one of the LEAST significant differences.

    I recently sent a vintage pedal to a top boutique pedal maker to be copied exactly because he assured me he had "mastered this circuit" and even had some vintage NOS parts he might be able to use. Everything was measured and tested and meticulously planned. It ended up sounding about 80% right, but the feel is all wrong and feels very uninspiring. He said "I know it's not as good, but is it good enough?"

    I once took a handwired amp apart to re-build it into a smaller case, and it lost everything that was good. That was with the very same components. It was the same tone except a smaller, flatter, and less 3-d version of it. No components changed, just the layout and the box. But don't tell TGP those things matter or they'll have a meltdown.


    The biggest can of worms is raw materials, but manufacturers won't touch that subject with a 10-foot pole. Modern regulations forbid access to many of the best materials. That gets into the legal and political fields so I can't say much, but manufacturers will never acknowledge this, since they make fortunes off "reproductions of the originals". Not even close.


    Call a magnet manufacturer and ask to speak to their longest tenured engineers. Have them explain how magnets were made 50 years ago vs today. And yet every pickup manufacturer has "exact re-issues". It's essentially false advertising. I'm affiliated with Klein pickups so I know what he went through to get accurate magnet repros made. You think magnets are simple until you try to replicate exactly what they made in 1958. Finding the Holy Grail would probably be easier.


    The original Jensen speakers used silk in the cone formula, which no one does today due to expense. When asked why the re-issues sound different, they say "age". That's hilarious since anyone who knows anything about speakers knows they break down over time, not "improve with age".


    Many English speakers such as Fane and Celestion used Pulsonic cones. The Pulsonic factory burned down in the early 70's and all the cone formulas were lost forever. Do these speaker companies admit they don't know how to make the cones? Nope.


    Bottom line, if you think you've gained any fundamental knowledge of why things sound a certain way from reading guitar forums and magazines, abandon that notion. Almost everything guitar players are told is false, because there's no practical way for them to know otherwise. Due to constant repetition on forums and magazines, the falsehoods become universally accepted, except by those with first hand knowledge.


    I've known many designers and manufacturers over the years and without exception, every dinner conversation consists of laughing at the misinformation that's accepted and repeated as "fact" on guitar forums. The ideal way to conduct your own research and experiments is by purchasing high priced vintage pieces and have them melted down for analysis in metallurgical laboratories and then scour the earth for those materials and contract an oversees manufacturer to replicate each component.

    Unless you have a job, relationship, or hopes of a normal life. But that's where you'd start.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  15. captaincoconut

    captaincoconut Member

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    I have reliable information that Stevie''s TS808/TS9 actually had a Klon Centaur pcb inside. The green enclosure was just for the looks, because it was easier to see on stage.
     
  16. Radar

    Radar Member

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    This is all very interesting. So, what variations would you typically see in vintage tube screamers that make one sound golden compared to the other?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  17. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

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    Good question because I've never seen two with the same components. I even purchased two from the same month and even THOSE had different parts! One sounded great with singles, the other with humbuckers. Beyond frustrating.

    I mentioned in my first post that SOME vintage Tube Screamers are worth the investment, but people make the mistake of buying them without a return policy. That's a MAJOR risk. Gotta play it in person to know if it's a great one.

    The guy who paid me a grand to swap vintage TS-808's actually came out ahead because I've never found another that compares.
     
  18. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    What were the sonic differences and what do you think were the main culprits in the circuit that causes them?
     
  19. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

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    It's hard to describe these qualities but I'll give it a shot.

    It was smooth, complex and detailed rather than harsh, grainy and transistor-y. It never occurred to you that your signal was being clipped in a 9-volt solid state circuit because it had this soulful 3-D "horn-like" quality. I want to say it amplified every nuance accurately, yet somehow made playing way easier under the fingers. Also, you could run the drive low and still have enough smooth sustain for all types of hot licks. It sounded beautiful and helped you play your best and inspired more creative playing, which is a KEEPER in a piece of gear!! I could go on for days but I'm getting depressed, LOL!


    Regarding what specific elements combined to make it a 'golden' pedal, that's the dragon we're all chasing. Very few men have ever mastered those things; that's the realm of electronic geniuses like Seth Lover, Ken Fischer, Howard Dumble etc...


    There's another head scratcher too; for some mysterious reason, almost every piece of gear that SOUNDS incredible usually PLAYS incredible. This applies to amps, pedals, guitars, etc...
    There's an undeniable connection in the electronic world between tone and performance. It's very rare that you play a piece of gear that sounds really good but makes it harder to play. Yes it happens, but not much. Mostly what you find is: "this piece sounds great and feels great too".
     
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  20. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    That's because you do not 'feel' the sound, but you do react to the gear's responsiveness based on its auditory output (to your ears) that it provides, when given the physical input you provide. Sounds good when I play is verbalized as 'feel.'
    Latency, for example, cannot be felt, but the lack of immediacy, to the ear, makes the response seem late to the touch/input i.e. feels late.
    You cannot 'feel' lateness, only sense the passage of time.
    Yessir.
     

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