Golden Goddess Guitar Leaderboard

Tube Screamer/Overdrive Pedals AMA

[DELETED]

Active Member
Nov 11, 2019
154
372
I've been posting a lot of different threads lately so that I can pass on some of my knowledge to those that may need it. I own about 20 overdrive pedals, the majority of them tube screamers/variants/clones, so I figured I'd make a thread for anyone curious about these kinds of pedals.

I find the Tube Screamers fascinating, which is why I collect them and clones of them. I mostly use them as a clean boost (Level at 10, Gain at 0, Tone to taste [3-4 for me]) into a distorted high gain amp to push the preamp a little harder and tighten it up. The tube screamer and it's clones have their own EQ curve to them, which is normally why people like them. They tend to tame low end frequencies, and bump up the mid range frequencies. The mid range bump is usually nice because the guitar is a mid range instrument, so it makes it pop out a little more and appear louder. The taming of the low end is especially nice on an amp like the Peavey 5150 due to it's boomy low end. A tube screamer into a 5150 or 5150 type amp is an extremely famous staple in recording metal guitars that started in the 90's and bands still use it to this day.

A more classic use of the tube screamer/overdrive pedal is to turn up your amp to the point where it's about to start getting distorted, and then using the tube screamer to push it over the edge into some nice crunch. People will also use this when they go to play leads, as it can add sustain and the mid range will make it cut through the mix. Another way I sometimes like to use it is using a high gain amp and turning down the gain a bit on the amp, and adding the gain back with the pedal.

The top 5 tube screamer pedals that I own are (in no order):

Horizon Devices Precision Drive
Ibanez TS808HW
KHDK Pedals Ghoul Screamer
(I should mention, I am endorsed by this company but that has no bearing on it being in my top 5)
Maxon Apex 808
Maxon OD9

I'll give the Way Huge Green Rhino an honorable mention as well

There are subtle differences between tube screamer type pedals. Some will have slight different sonic variances to them, but largely they are similar. A lot of times, it just comes down to extra features on the pedal. A normal cheap tube screamer will get you a similar sound to a more expensive one.

For any beginners on this forum or anyone looking to get into these, I recommend a few very budget friendly pedals. First is the Behringer TO800. It costs $25 and it sounds spot on to the Ibanez TS808. Josh from JHS Pedals compared the two pedals and has concluded they sound identical. The only drawback is has a plastic housing, which isn't very tour or gig friendly. Another option is any of the cheap chinese made tube screamer clones on Amazon. You can usually get one for around $25, and they have metal casings. Recently, Amazon released their own line of guitar pedals from Amazon Basics and they have a tube screamer clone, which is just a rebranded Kokko pedal (another chinese option on Amazon).

Please let me know if you have any questions about Tube Screamer/Overdrive pedals.



IMG_9070.jpeg
 

Dominik Gräber

Ambassador
Legend
  • Nov 11, 2019
    2,411
    4,931
    22
    Saarland
    www.youtube.com
    5
    I hear lots of great things about the horizon pedal! Would love to try it out. But I am not sure if I should even spend money on it cause it's rather expensive and my Boss Katana 100 MKII has tons of effects already.

    Wanna give us a little review on that pedal?
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Ed Seith

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    I hear lots of great things about the horizon pedal! Would love to try it out. But I am not sure if I should even spend money on it cause it's rather expensive and my Boss Katana 100 MKII has tons of effects already.

    Wanna give us a little review on that pedal?
    That pedal does have tons of hype, but I think it's worth it. What makes it special to me is the Attack and Bright knob. I love a sharp pick attack and that pedal gives me a nice high frequency attack that I just love. That pedal also has more gain than a regular Tube Screamer. They even said that 6 on this pedal is a 10 on a tube screamer. It works better going into a tube amp, but they optimized these to work very well on digital amps like yours. They even have a Nano Attack pedal that's cheaper and will give you that attack, but obviously there's no overdrive section on that pedal. I'm not sure if you record on a computer at all, but there's a free Precision Drive plugin out there. I haven't used it, but I'm sure it's pretty good.
     

    Dominik Gräber

    Ambassador
    Legend
  • Nov 11, 2019
    2,411
    4,931
    22
    Saarland
    www.youtube.com
    5
    That pedal does have tons of hype, but I think it's worth it. What makes it special to me is the Attack and Bright knob. I love a sharp pick attack and that pedal gives me a nice high frequency attack that I just love. That pedal also has more gain than a regular Tube Screamer. They even said that 6 on this pedal is a 10 on a tube screamer. It works better going into a tube amp, but they optimized these to work very well on digital amps like yours. They even have a Nano Attack pedal that's cheaper and will give you that attack, but obviously there's no overdrive section on that pedal. I'm not sure if you record on a computer at all, but there's a free Precision Drive plugin out there. I haven't used it, but I'm sure it's pretty good.
    Thanks man! Doubt I will get the pedal any time soon. Thomann does not have it and it is expensive. Gonna check out that plugin although I prefer to have my tone mostly shaped before recording.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Ed Seith

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    Thanks man! Doubt I will get the pedal any time soon. Thomann does not have it and it is expensive. Gonna check out that plugin although I prefer to have my tone mostly shaped before recording.
    My suggestion then is to maybe get the Nano Attack and use an OD effect on your Katana, if that's what you're going for. It'll get you most of the way there. You can buy from Horizon Devices website. They offer international shipping and even offer payment plans if needed.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Dominik Gräber

    Lindsey

    Active Member
  • Nov 16, 2019
    485
    1,133
    The Netherlands
    www.instagram.com
    10
    I never thought of using my overdrive pedal as a booster. I’m going to try that and turning the distortion up too. Usually I have the amp distortion lower and the overdrive around 3/4 open.
    I have a demon clone, it’s also a cheaper variant that can be recommended.

    Thanks for posting this.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: [DELETED]
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    I never thought of using my overdrive pedal as a booster. I’m going to try that and turning the distortion up too. Usually I have the amp distortion lower and the overdrive around 3/4 open.
    I have a demon clone, it’s also a cheaper variant that can be recommended.

    Thanks for posting this.
    No problem! Most of the "metal dudes" use it as just a boost to drive the preamp (and therefore the tubes) a little harder and get that nice EQ curve the pedal has.

    And definitely, that's falls into my category of cheap chinese pedals on Amazon. A lot of them are made in the same factories and have really great quality
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Lindsey

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372

    Jesse Salmons

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    471
    1,179
    22
    Indiana
    8
    Ive been eyeing an EVH 5150 distortion, is it worth the money? Big fan of EVH tone and not saying that will get me his tone but id love to have an element of his tone in mine!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: [DELETED]

    Dominik Gräber

    Ambassador
    Legend
  • Nov 11, 2019
    2,411
    4,931
    22
    Saarland
    www.youtube.com
    5
    Just a question that occured to me as I don't really have experience with mixing or post production. Do you think I can use of the precision drive vst to tighten up my sound that already has distortion after I recorded a track?
     

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    Awesome reading!! For someone who just uses a DAW makes me really want to get a real amp and pedals!
    I used a DAW exclusively for quite a while, there's lots of versatility there.

    Here's 2 great FREE Tube Screamer plugins:


    And I also put a free link to a Precision Drive plugin in one of the comments above
     
    • Like
    Reactions: carlosmqr
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    Ive been eyeing an EVH 5150 distortion, is it worth the money? Big fan of EVH tone and not saying that will get me his tone but id love to have an element of his tone in mine!
    Yeah I think it's pretty great. Keep in mind that it emulated the blue channel of the 5150 III. The best thing to do to get that sound is use this pedal as a preamp. If you have an amp with an effects loop, you can plug your guitar into this pedal and then out of the pedal directly into the Return loop which bypasses the amplifiers preamp. It will give you the tone straight up from that pedal. To save some cash, I'd get one used. Keep in mind, you can get one used from Guitar Center online and return it if you don't like it.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Jesse Salmons

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    Just a question that occured to me as I don't really have experience with mixing or post production. Do you think I can use of the precision drive vst to tighten up my sound that already has distortion after I recorded a track?
    It probably wouldn't sound good, the precision drive needs to come before the amp. What you could do in the future is plug your guitar into an audio interface to get the DI, load up the plugin, use a Send on your interface to go out to your amp, and then out of your amp into the Return on the interface. Sounds a little confusing, but that's what happens when you mix software and hardware lol.
     

    Jesse Salmons

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    471
    1,179
    22
    Indiana
    8
    Yeah I think it's pretty great. Keep in mind that it emulated the blue channel of the 5150 III. The best thing to do to get that sound is use this pedal as a preamp. If you have an amp with an effects loop, you can plug your guitar into this pedal and then out of the pedal directly into the Return loop which bypasses the amplifiers preamp. It will give you the tone straight up from that pedal. To save some cash, I'd get one used. Keep in mind, you can get one used from Guitar Center online and return it if you don't like it.

    Dude. I love this information! I might be in the market for one of these then!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: [DELETED]

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    Dude. I love this information! I might be in the market for one of these then!
    I'd also recommend the Diezel VH4 pedal as well. It's definitely pricier than the 5150 pedal, but I use it how I described in my post and it sounds amazing. You get $3000 amp tone for like $250
     

    carlosmqr

    Active Member
    Legend
  • Nov 17, 2019
    321
    504
    33
    Portugal/Manchester UK
    www.instagram.com
    1
    I used a DAW exclusively for quite a while, there's lots of versatility there.

    Here's 2 great FREE Tube Screamer plugins:


    And I also put a free link to a Precision Drive plugin in one of the comments above

    Cool, I will have a look!! Thanks!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: [DELETED]

    troyf805

    New Member
    Feb 1, 2021
    2
    3
    @Alex Cain I know this thread is a few months old, but have you ever tried the Amptweaker Tight Drive? My Maxon OD-808 broke, and I want something that sounds exactly it same to push my 5150, and the addition of a noise gate looks pretty cool. I know the Precision Drive has one, but I don't play anything super-djenty or whatever the kids say. I prefer 2000s metalcore tones to the 8-string stylings I hear now. I'll probably just buy another OD-808, but options are cool!
     
    • Like
    Reactions: [DELETED]
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    [DELETED]

    Active Member
    Nov 11, 2019
    154
    372
    @Alex Cain I know this thread is a few months old, but have you ever tried the Amptweaker Tight Drive? My Maxon OD-808 broke, and I want something that sounds exactly it same to push my 5150, and the addition of a noise gate looks pretty cool. I know the Precision Drive has one, but I don't play anything super-djenty or whatever the kids say. I prefer 2000s metalcore tones to the 8-string stylings I hear now. I'll probably just buy another OD-808, but options are cool!
    I don’t unfortunately, it’s on my list to get. I don’t play anything Djenty either and I love the Precision Drive. I mostly use it in Drop D and it pairs with my 5150 extremely well (like most overdrives). The main advantage that has is the ability to control the Attack, and I love a good pick attack. And you can also remove the flubby mud using the Bright knob, especially good on lower tunings. Noise gate helps a ton too.

    Honestly, most tube screamer clones and variants will get you to a similar sound to the Maxon 808. I own one and it doesn’t stick out more than any of the others. If you’re lookin to not spend a lot, just get a TS9 or some sort of
    clone. If you’re lookin to spend, then another OD808, even a modded one, a Ghoul Screamer, Tight Drive, Precision Drive, anything likewise i’m sure you’ll like. Maxon and Fortin also teamed up and are releasing a limited number of Fortin modded OD9’s which will start shipping soon. Already got mine preordered.
     

    troyf805

    New Member
    Feb 1, 2021
    2
    3
    I don’t unfortunately, it’s on my list to get. I don’t play anything Djenty either and I love the Precision Drive. I mostly use it in Drop D and it pairs with my 5150 extremely well (like most overdrives). The main advantage that has is the ability to control the Attack, and I love a good pick attack. And you can also remove the flubby mud using the Bright knob, especially good on lower tunings. Noise gate helps a ton too.

    Honestly, most tube screamer clones and variants will get you to a similar sound to the Maxon 808. I own one and it doesn’t stick out more than any of the others. If you’re lookin to not spend a lot, just get a TS9 or some sort of
    clone. If you’re lookin to spend, then another OD808, even a modded one, a Ghoul Screamer, Tight Drive, Precision Drive, anything likewise i’m sure you’ll like. Maxon and Fortin also teamed up and are releasing a limited number of Fortin modded OD9’s which will start shipping soon. Already got mine preordered.
    I know you don't play djenty stuff or tune to drop Q. That's why I asked, haha. I've been an A7X fan for like 20 years. I met you and Zach at Warped Tour 2002 and we talked about guitar stuff. (Marshall vs. Mesa/Boogie, etc.) Anyway, when I saw this thread, I was like "That dude knows his stuff! I'll ask his opinion." Thanks for the input!