The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is probably one of the most common guitar pedals you’ll see. Not that there aren’t plenty of other options out there.
You can find hundreds, if not thousands, of other distortion and overdrive pedals. And a lot of them are really good at what they do. Not to mention the fact that most guitar amps can do one or both without any pedals.
But I’d have to say (and I think most people would agree) that the vast majority of distortion pedals and amplifier distortions simply sound like garbage. In my time, I have played overdrive and distortion pedals that turn your guitar signal into a jumbled mess that sounds like it is being fed into a blender. However, I have also owned overdrive and distortion pedals that sound so great, they would make Stevie Ray Vaughan weep.
(Here is my personal pedalboard – featuring the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer)
In comes the TS9 Tube Screamer from Ibanez.
These pedals really are probably the cheapest and most versatile overdrive/distortion pedals out there. The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer offers tones ranging from subtle (hardly) driven tones that help your guitar cut through the mix, to completely saturated and heavy distortion tones.
In fact, I have witnessed many guitar players simply running a TS9 and nothing else. Point being – they sound great.
That’s not to say that you can’t use them in conjunction with other overdrive/distortion pedals.
Personally, I have my TS9 Tube Screamer on (nearly) all of the time – stacking it with my fuzz, or my Rodent from General Guitar Gadgets.
So whether you’re playing blues, rock, country, metal, even some types of jazz, this pedal is definitely an essential part of your pedal arsenal.
Here are some recent reviews of the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer
“I love this box! I don’t get these people trying to boost their distortion channels, If you want distortion, buy a distortion pedal! If you want solo tones, it all depends on what you like. But if you want sweet and spicy blues with soul enough for Jesus, this is your box.”
“It’s a very solid pedal. All metal construction. Will not break under regular use (including gigs). Only way I see it breaking is if you were to throw it against a wall a bunch of times.”
“Tough as nails! I’ve taken mine through hell and back tryna make some cash. This thing loves it, the more you abuse it the better it seems to sound. Must be all that ugly paint that got stripped off. I use mine as a backup for my Original TS808, its older brother built back in the day. Same construction, something about the chips make it sound a little different though. Battery life is decent, Id buy an adapter.”
“This thing is extremely simple to use, and I find it is almost impossible to get bad sound out of this little green pedal as long as you run it in front of a tube amp. It’ll sound decent in front of a solid state amp, but doesn’t give you the same effect”