The market is full of more or less known overdrive pedals, but I’m sure that you very often heard about the legendary Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer. Many guitarists wonder whether this pedal is worth it or not. If you’re one of them, don’t worry – in today’s in-depth review, I’m going to take a very close look on that famous effect.
Ibanez TS808 is an affordable and great sounding pedal suitable for various different styles of music. Considering the fact that it was popularized by Stevie Ray Vaughan, it’s one of the best pedals that you can potentially add to your pedalboard.
Let’s dive deeper with research to find out what exactly makes the Tube Screamer so good and so popular all around the world. Firstly, we’ll start with the overview of the specs and the main advantages of that model. Additionally, we’ll see if it has any flaws. Hopefully, this guide will help you figure out if this effect is a good fit for you.
Specs & Pricing
Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer is a legendary overdrive pedal which exceeds all the expectations. This is actually one of the most popular effects of this type on the market! Musicians from all around the world already have it in their pedalboards.
What makes it so special? Well, it’s all about the tone! It gives you a really thick and overdriven tube-style guitar sound. Adding this effect to your signal chain will significantly improve your final tone.
The TS808 features a simple construction with three controls: Overdrive, Tone and Level. It’s not complicated at all, so even amateur players will be able to efficiently use to craft their own favorite sound.
It is also worth mentioning that the TS808 features a really durable construction as well, so you can be sure that it will last you for years to come. It’s not that easy to break it, even if you’re frequently gigging or touring.
When it comes to pricing, it’s not exactly a cheap pedal, but it’s not too expensive either. It’s possible to find cheaper clones of the TS808, but the truth is that they can’t compete with the original version. That being said, this effect is definitely worth the money!
Here’s the sound demo – feel free to check it out below.
Who Is It For?
Ibanez TS808 is suitable for both amateur and intermediate guitar players. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a beginner or a professional guitarist – you will definitely benefit from adding that effect to your pedalboard.
It is also a perfect choice for anyone who’s searching for the iconic tube screamer tone. There are a lot of various clones that try to imitate the TS808, but the truth is that it’s really difficult to capture exactly the same sound as this legendary model.
What’s important, the TS808 sounds particularly good during live performances and studio sessions. If you’re frequently gigging and you want to make your lead guitar stand out and cut through the mix, this effect won’t let you down.
Overall, I’m positive that the vast majority of guitar players will really enjoy using the Ibanez TS808 on a daily basis. There’s just not much to complain about – it’s affordable, simple to use and it sounds awesome. Who needs anything else?
Here’s an another sound demo.
Disadvantages of Ibanez TS808
Just like any other guitar pedal available on the market, Ibanez TS808 has its own advantages and disadvantages. Don’t worry though – the cons of that effect aren’t that serious anyway and they’re really subjective.
Firstly, lovers of high-gain may not be fully satisfied with the sound of TS808.
It has a smooth, tube-like overdrive tone, but it’s doesn’t have that much of distortion. If you like looking for something really powerful, you should probably try something else.
Additionally, in comparison with other tube screamer clones out there, it seems to be quite expensive.
That’s understandable though – that’s the model that everyone else tries to copy! Although some of these clones are pretty good, they can’t win with the TS808 anyway.
Still, I believe that the advantages of that effect outweigh the disadvantages of that pedal. There’s just not much to complain about, especially if you’re trying to get the same tone as Stevie Ray Vaughan!
Used By The Best
Not many people are aware of how many successful guitarists used the Ibanez TS808 throughout their music careers. Quite a lot of famous guitar players are still keeping this effects in their signal chains.
The list of famous users of TS808 includes:
- Stevie Ray Vaughan
- John Mayer
- Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)
- Kirk Hammett
- Billie Joe Armstrong
- and many, many more!
As you can see, it’s not surprising that Ibanez TS808 is so popular all around the world. Considering the fact that so many professional guitarists use it on a daily basis, it just has to be good. That’s why I highly recommend checking it out!
Ibanez TS808 vs TS9
A lot of guitarists whether they should choose the TS808 or TS9 Tube Screamer pedal. The truth is that it’s not that easy to pick a clear winner of that battle – both of these effects are equally great.
However, these overdrive pedals sound a bit differently and they are available at a bit different prices. Ibanez TS9 is slightly cheaper than the TS808, so it’s better for guitarists on a very tight budget.
When it comes to tone, it all comes down to your own preferences. Personally, I think that the TS9 sounds a bit brighter, so it may be better for lead guitarists. It cuts through the mix very well! At the same time, the TS808 has a bit smoother, vintage tone.
They both look really similar and they have a pretty much the same size. I think that design of TS808 is a bit cooler, but you may disagree with me on that one.
Here’s a really good video that compares the TS808 and TS9 – feel free to check it out below if you still don’t know which one of them is better for you.
Are There Any Alternatives?
If you don’t like the sound of Ibanez TS808 or you simply can’t afford it right now, that’s not a big deal! There’s still quite a lot of other great overdrive and distortion pedals that you can add to your own pedalboard. Whether you’re looking for a clone of TS808 or something else, I’m sure that you’ll be able to find it.
Here’s a few more pedal recommendations based on my own experience.
Firstly, I highly encourage you to check out Fender Pugilist Distortion. This is a really cool and affordable pedal which combines the overdrive and distortion. It’s pretty much like having two separate pedals in one box. I think that it’s one of the coolest and most versatile effects of this type that you can potentially add to your pedalboard!
Alternatively, you can also consider getting the Fender The Pelt Fuzz. This is an another excellent and affordable pedal suitable for the most demanding guitarists out there. I’m using this effect on a daily basis and it’s one of my favorite fuzz pedals of all time. It gives you a lot of punch, so it’s perfect for alternative rock and metal.
If you’re on a very tight budget, you can also check out my article about 8 Best Distortion Pedals Under $100. All of the effects mentioned in that post are cheap and they feature a really good quality, so I’m sure that you’ll be able something that fits you and your style of playing!
However, I still believe that Ibanez TS808 is one of the most iconic overdrive pedals of all time. Considering the fact that so many famous guitarists used it throughout the years, it’s definitely worth the money. That’s for sure!
Where is Ibanez TS808 made?
Ibanez TS808 is manufactured in Japan.
Where can I find the manual to that pedal?
The manual to the TS808 Tube Screamer can be found here.
Where can I find out more about Ibanez pedals?
If you want to learn more about pedals made by this legendary Japanese manufacturer, make sure to visit the official website of Ibanez.
As you can see, Ibanez TS808 is a truly amazing overdrive pedal. It’s not too expensive and it has a very characteristic tone, so I’m sure that a lot of you are going to love it as well. In my opinion, it’s one of the best pedals of this type that you can add to your board!
What do you think of the TS808? Do you think that it’s better than TS9? Leave a comment down below and let me know what you think, I’m really interested to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for checking out today’s review, hopefully it was helpful. If you enjoyed this article and you’re searching for more pedal recommendations, you may also like: