Tube Screamer Psychology

RolandKorg

Member
Messages
3,832
So, I want to use a hardware OD pedal with my Atomic Amplifire. Alongside outboard delay and mod pedals. I like ‘the Tube Screamer’ thing and that might be the type of pedal I go for first, but... I’m intrigued by variants of TS. Not he various models by Ibanez, but the ‘clones’ by other manufacturers.

I was about to get the EQD Plumes. Great price. It’s supposed to do the 808 thing in the silicon mode. And has other sounds, too. But with all the handwringing we TGP folks do, about the various Ibanez versions, why would I want something that’s supposed to be ‘just like’ or ‘better than’ a TS? ‘Better than’ = different. And different means you’re not getting the very thing you were after in the first place.

I overthink and worry. That I’ll get something ‘other,’ and then the second I realize it doesn’t make me not suck as a player, I’ll wonder if the real thing might make me not suck just that 5% more (or is it less?).

I don’t want to be the kind of guy who has a ton of pedals, in drawers, on a dedicated shelf, in boxes... or who is constantly flipping. At the same time, I realize that buying a 100-150$ pedal is not a permanent choice. I just want to make a decision now that makes the most sense, so I don’t have to worry about it later.

If I had the money, I’d buy the Vemuram.... It does seem to be fantastic, even though it’s different from a stock 808. And that’s maybe the thing that convinces me to try the Plumes—knowing that I can prefer different. Realistically, though, if the Ibanez 808 were a beautiful device, I’d just go with that. But it ain’t.
 

wetordry

Member
Messages
4,533
Choices, choices.....
I like the kinds with a bass and treble knob. But that's not really the same.
 

Stratburst70

Member
Messages
5,492
When I was looking for an overdrive in 2011, I took an hour at my local music emporium and tried every OD pedal in the place, including TS-style, full-range, etc.

Everyone will recommend their favourite drive but your ears are the best judge.

(I eventually chose the Green Rhino. It’s still on my board 8 years later).
 
Messages
12,347
there is nothing special about a tube screamer. It's just a mid hump through some light diode clipping.

Best to have some confidence in your ear and pick a pedal you enjoy.

Stevie used one only because it was there. It could just as easily been any other mid increasing device with a little clipping. Stevie's brilliance wasn't really about picking pedals.
 

drbob1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,601
I'm going to argue that there IS something special about the TS. Sure, it's just an Op-Amp overdrive with symmetrical clipping, but it just works, especially with Fender amps. So, OP, I have two suggestions:
1. Buy a TS from Ibanez. Doesn't matter a lot which, most of them sell for less than $100 used, that's your price point. Play with it with your amps, loud, for a while.
2. NOW you're ready to go on the journey of trying other kinds of TS's. You could do worse than the JHS Bonsai, which gives you a bunch of different version of the TS, or one of the Uberscreamers with varieties of clipping diodes and pre-emphasis for the EQ. Or even buy the Screamer kit from BYOC and assemble it, learning in the process something about how these things work!

I would NOT spend $300 on the Vemuram, it's just not worth the extra cost, besides options and being well put together, there just isn't any thing in the TS circuit that justifies that kind of dosh!
 

underdog726

Member
Messages
1,567
there is nothing special about a tube screamer. It's just a mid hump through some light diode clipping.

Best to have some confidence in your ear and pick a pedal you enjoy.

Stevie used one only because it was there. It could just as easily been any other mid increasing device with a little clipping. Stevie's brilliance wasn't really about picking pedals.
Exactly. I watched a video of a srv soundcheck where he was stepping on his TS off and on over and over. You could barely tell if it was on or not. His sound had very little to do with his tubescreamer, he just used what ever was handy.
 
Messages
12,347
Exactly. I watched a video of a srv soundcheck where he was stepping on his TS off and on over and over. You could barely tell if it was on or not. His sound had very little to do with his tubescreamer, he just used what ever was handy.
IMHO so much of TGP "hearing" is determined by hero worship. Anyone who is an adult working musician is the equal of any other IMO. I'm every bit as capable as Stevie of picking an overdrive, and so are you, etc. I can listen to great pros and tell exactly how and why they are better than me, and it has nothing to do with gear. It's hard work, and the fact they fully deserve to be ahead of me because they paid their dues musically.

So to me a tube screamer is just a mid hump with gain. That is, after all, its whole musical function. If you added a diode to a Koko Boost it would be the same thing. Nobody cares, and if anyone should and does, it is you who has to please yourself. In my lifetime as a musician so far, that seems like the primary reality.
 

RolandKorg

Member
Messages
3,832
Exactly. I watched a video of a srv soundcheck where he was stepping on his TS off and on over and over. You could barely tell if it was on or not. His sound had very little to do with his tubescreamer, he just used what ever was handy.
That’s interesting, about SRV live. But, I don’t have the luxury of cranking a real Bassman, Twin, or Dumble and then relying on a pedal only for that last 5% push.

Kinda funny, that the general consensus here is ‘just pick one— they’re all the same,’ when there’s practically a TS industry on its own that says they’re all different.

I wish I weren’t so obsessed with the details and minute nuances, but “god is in the details.”

Do you guys really take your pedalboard to a store, and sit there, playing/auditioning a bunch of different pedals? I’ve never seen anyone do that. When I did go into a GC once to try pedals, they put me at a pedal demo station, with an Acoustic-brand SS amp, and only one power cable. Not really the way to find out how even the same pedal will work into my modeler>amp>2x12.

About the Vemuram—yeah, it’s a crazy price. But, literally, it’s the only TS-type that consistently sounds great/better than any others in the demos. It does have ‘something.’ I could probably flip a KoT for one.... But I won’t. Interesting, how that’s too expensive, but a Suhr Strat never is!

Alrighty. I’ll decide between Plumes, Green Rhino, and TS808.
 

GeorgeNada

Member
Messages
1,653
Dude you are waaaaay overthinking this, it’s just a pedal, go to guitar center and try a few out, buy your favorite.

that being said, a green rhino might be good for your criteria, in one toggle position it’s essentially a TS, in the other you have little nobbies to tweak and dial in for a more modded sound.
 
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RolandKorg

Member
Messages
3,832
Too much overthinking.
I did say I overthink, but part of the handwringing is from having had a Joyo TS clone, and not being able to get it to sound ‘right.’ I fully recognize that may have been a problem with the interaction with the amp I was using at the time (Katana). When something doesn’t work, I like to be able to reduce or eliminate variables.
 




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