At a time when most amp makers were embracing the new world of solid state amps, the Tube Screamer made its debut in the late 70’s as a way to link the two fields. What amounted to essentially a tube simulator ended up setting an entirely new gold standard for overdrive tone.
While its predecessor the Overdrive II could wind its way up to 11 in terms of crunch and break up, its successor in the form of the TS-9 had a notoriously smooth drive and useable tone control.
A major component of the Tube Screamer’s tone came from its operational amplifier (op-amp) integrated circuit chip. The early versions of the TS-808 and TS-9 used either Malaysian-made Texas Instruments RC4558P or Japanese Radio Corporation JRC4558D chips. Both have their fans. This particular unit has the Japanese chip.
For those who feel the need to scratch the inner nerd itch, here’s a link that goes into further depth on the circuitry – http://www.bteaudio.com/articles/TSS/TSS.html
On a small amp that overdrives easily (such as the Fender Deluxe Reverb), you can run the Tube Screamer clean with a low Drive setting and high Level, to push the amp to more distortion. On a larger, cleaner amp, you can dial the Drive up about halfway, set the Tone at a quarter, and the Level to three-quarters to dirty up the sound. The result is more sustain, edge, and harmonic lushness. Dial it really hard, and you can achieve fuzz.
Here’s a link to a video demo of the same model – https://youtu.be/YAb9jzcyav4
This particular TS-9 is a bit unique in that it has an excellent modification by long time Sydney tech Colin Bloxom, which was originally done for Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss. Mossy loved everything about his early 80s TS-9 except for the pronounced mid-range boost which is a feature of the model’s tone curve. The Bloxom mod simply eliminates that mid boost so that this TS-9 kicks in every way, but does so more transparently, without any tonal changes – just smashing the guitar’s original sound to another level in the most authentic way.
It is in exceptional original condition. It is a one owner unit, bought new in 1982. It has been used sporadically over the years, but for the past decade or so it has sat unused in storage. It has a few expected chips off the paint, but is in overall excellent cosmetic and structural condition. A classic and iconic vintage pedal that sounds exactly the way it should – fabulous.
The Ibanez TS-9 pedal has a proven history as an absolute lynchpin to the foundation of classic tube driven sound, as well as an invaluable addition to any gear line up.