Tubescreamer History TS808 and TS9 Guitar Pedals – You have probably read, seen, heard, talked about this many times but it’s always fun to chat quickly about Tubescreamer history and lore ! The real reason these pedals are so important is because up till now most guitar pedals that where produced where fuzz typle pedals. The overdrive pedal was pretty slim, yes you had the Colorsound Overdriver but reallllly that’s a fuzz pedal with a lot of output that overdrived your amp. Around the mid-70s we start to see the influx of overdrive and distortion pedals from Ibanez, MXR, and Boss as they first appeared on the scene. The first Ibanez models ODII and OD505 where a bit more distorted and fuzzier than the OD808 to come that’s why it became a classic. Players really wanted a pedal that simulated a cranked up amp and that’s what the 808s did. In their lime green paint job and square chrome on off switch these Japanese produced OD pedals with the JRC4558 opamp chip was just what guitar players wanted ! Dependable, cheap, overdrive sound in a box. You could take a clean amp and make it dirty, remember there is no channel switching amps yet, Boogie was still on the drawing board. Or you could take a mild overdriven amp and make it a monster with basic overdrive stacking. Players loved it, Stone’s sound, SRV sound, Beck sound all in a little box ! They sold the hell out of the TS808 from 1978 to mm about 1982 when the new model appeared.
The TS9 series Overdrive pedal was same lime green paint, the on/off switch was now bigger and more pronounced. The layout was pretty much the same, the circuit was the same EXCEPT the output section was beefed up to give a wee bit more output and treble. This gave it a slightly heavier sound than the early 808 and the times changed players loved the heavier raspy sound sound. They still used JRC4558 chip, it was VERY similiar. Now in both models there are exeptions in the chips, they put in different chips every so often, but NONE sound better than the JRC4558.
What’s the best, well you gotta try them. And then you can debate them as the guitar population has for 35 years !