Tubescreamer Review by Electric Guitar Teacher in Miami
Electric guitar teacher in Miami, Dyce Kimura here doing an equipment review video of the Ibanez tube screamer. This is not any ordinary tube screamer this is the hand wired tube screamer that just recently came out, actually about two years ago. I’m just going to play a little bit and then we’re going to talk about it. So as you can see I’m using two of them. I’m going clean into a Hughes and Kettner amp so here’s a clean sound. And then here’s with one of them.
That was at the fourth position. Here’s with two of them. So let’s talk about it. Why do I like the tube screamers?
As a working electric guitar teacher in Miami, I’m obviously a huge fan of the tubescreamer. I have two of them. I just want to say just to set the tone that I have owned every tube screamer that I could get my hands on. I have owned an Ibanez TS9 because you know there’s the Maxon as well. So I believe Ibanez was first and then they sold the rights to Maxon and then they bought it back and then they started producing it if I’m wrong leave me a comment and tell me. Some of you aficionados might know the exact history, but I believe Ibanez designed it licensed it out to Maxon to manufacture if and then later they took it back. And so some super duper tone purist will get the maxon version of the TS9 instead of the Ibanez. I don’t see a huge tone difference, maybe it’s a hair warmer, but if you show up to the jam session with a Maxon it’s like you know your stuff. I’ve had the TS9, I’ve had the 808 -the 808 is the original tube screamer so with the 5851 chip that is so famous that makes that tone that everybody wants. The tube screamer I believe was incepted in 1978 and it’s since morphed so they started these in the original 78 all the way to like 82 or I think it was 78, 79 and then 80, 81, 82, it might have been up to 83. Those were the choice years of the super rare-tube screamer sound that everybody wants and those are what Stevie Ray Vaughan would use. And by the way I’m a huge Stevie Ray Vaughan fan and teach a lot of his music as an electric guitar teacher in Miami. I’m actually playing right now on Stevie’s own signature Strat with the Texas special pickups in the fourth position. So I’m going to be playing that for most of this review video.
So why you ask, do I have two of these tube screamers?
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Well, very simple. Stevie Ray Vaughan used two of them so I got two of them. Of course there’s more to it than that, but it’s exactly that simple. And by the way I just want to share my philosophy and gear; that’s how I buy gear. I don’t believe in magazines, I don’t believe the hype, I don’t believe the marketing, I don’t go to guitar center or the music store and let the salesman convince me of what I need to buy. What I do is I’ll look at who I want to sound like and I’ll buy that person’s equipment if that makes sense. As an electric guitar teacher in Miami, a lot of students ask me about gear and I tell everybody the same thing.
So if you want to sound like Slash get yourself an eighties Les Paul, early eighties, get yourself a marshall 2203 head with a Celestian greenback calves or actually he’s using vintage 30 speakers and you’ll sound like slash. I have a student that did exactly that and that’s exactly what they sound like and they also got a hand wired tube screamer. Now the person who turned me onto the hand wired tube screamer the first time was Kenny Wayne Shepherd. I saw a review with him talking about it because I use a lot of analog man products while working as an electric guitar teacher in Miami. Matter a fact you can see here is analogman peppermint fuzz, so I’m big into analogman, analog Mike he makes pedals for Kenny Wayne Shepherd. So after watching this video with Kenny Wayne Sheppard talking about the TS808HW and it’s just an incredible pedal. I was getting my pedals modded by analogman. I’ve had a modded bakili as well, like I’ve said I’ve had the tTS9, I’ve had the 808, I’ve also had the 9DX, the one with the four knobs and then I got it modded by Keeley. That was actually a huge disappointment but I’ve had all these tube screamers and once I heard the TS808Hw I sold them all and buy the N-word and I didn’t mod it at all. There was no need to mod this tube screamer. It sounds so huge and so fat right out the box there’s really no room for improvement in my opinion. It’s so good that I even got two of them. And I run them stacked on top of each other, I’m going to show you exactly what I do and this is exactly how I get my sound. I’m a guitar teacher in Miami. My students are constantly complementing the tone is of my amp in my studio and the secret to my tone in terms of what I’m using electronically, I’m using the Hughes and Kettner amp set on clean. I do not use any of the distortion. I don’t like using Hughes and Kettner distortion that much, it’s kind of mediocre in my opinion. I’m using TAD tubes and then I’m using two tube screamers, one in clean and wanting in high gain. And then I’ll probably used like a fender or a Gibson or a PRS guitar. So let’s get into it.
Before I talk about it in depth I just want you to hear it so I’m going show you my clean sound. What I’m going to show you now is the tube screamer off but I actually used the tube screamer from my clean as well but I’m going to start with it off. Very spanky. I don’t actually play this as a clean tone I just want to play this for you to establish what everything off sounds like. This is my clean tone that I use as an electric guitar teacher in Miami and if you look I actually got all the knobs at twelve o’clock so if you can see that -the camera is focusing but- you see the little white dots, everything is on twelve o’clock. And so basically I’m playing with just a little bit of hair on the note. The beautiful thing about the tube screamer is you can get a little bit of hair or gain on the note and you still have a clean amount of sound so it’s not over driving to the point of dirtiness but it’s there just giving me some mid- range and into some sustain. I got the volume on the Stevie Ray Vaughan Strat all the way up. I’m in the fourth position, I got one tube screamer on and everything at high noon so here it is.
So that’s my little wing sound right there. One tube screamer, the fourth position. I love to use this for my lessons as an electric guitar teacher in Miami.
By the way I just want to point out I’m right now in bedroom volume. You can tell by the volume of my voice that I’m playing at like talking level. This is the volume level I use as an electric guitar teacher in Miami. So that’s really important to point out because tone is very easy to sound good when you are loud. Why is that?
Well the more you have the speakers the more air that you’re moving in the speaker in terms of sheer volume output the more bass were going to get. And the more you max out the speaker the more natural mids you’re going to get. In highs are pretty easy to do you, just crank everything up and they sound amazing. One of my tone heroes is obviously Stevie Ray Vaughan and the guy used on any given night two vibro verbs of 115s on 2 deluxe reverbs, 2 super reverbs, Marshall Townshend and a Leslie, that’s 8 amps right there and he would have it all turned up. And then maybe you wanted a little extra umphed you turn a bassman on for solos which started doing like around the instep album era and then you would use two tube screamers. So I mean if you are loud it’s relatively easy to get a great guitar tone. Let me tell you though, it’s really hard to get a great guitar tone if you’re quiet-like the tone I use as an electric guitar teacher in Miami. So notice the tone that I’m getting and notice how quiet I must be because I can talk over it. I just want to take a second and draw away from the topic of the tube screamers just to show you my amp. See how big my transformers are. Those are massive transformers. That’s why I have such huge bass response right now at this low volume. That’s another video which maybe I’ll talk about in another date. So notice with this tube screamer I’ve got one of them on which gives me great crunch tone and it gives me a nice clean tone.
That’s kind of a Hendrix kind of a clean tone. Hendrix never really played clean. He had a little bit of hair on the note, he had a little bit of gain and he would roll it down and I use the same kind of sound as an electric guitar teacher in Miami.
So I’m just going to play now with the front pickup still volume all the way up.
Notice that’s a great blues tone. Still one tube screamer half way up. There is just something very unique about the tube screamer in terms of the way it handles mids, compression and gains. It’s these three variables (mids, compression and gain), that make this pedal absolutely amazing. By the way, I want to point out that this pedal has been slightly modded. I bought this used but you can see that this is not factory. It doesn’t affect the sound at all just that the person who sold it to me wanted to have a bigger response for the on/off button and so they got a real switchcraft switch which clicks as opposed to this one which is stock and it’s very easy to maneuver. I actually prefer the stock one. I like how easy it is to turn it on/off. It is super quick, if you really want to feel it engage (this person put a different button on there).
So that was with one pedal. I am going to show you with two. This sounds like I got my snare drums rattling a little bit which I use as an electric guitar teacher in Miami. Hope it doesn’t bother you. But with two pedals, you are getting the exact same super unique tones, mids, compression and gain. It’s very unique on the hand-wired tube screamer. I am telling you. I’ve had all of them, plus I’ve had the Keeley and the analog man mods, and this one takes the cake. If you do one, that’s great. If you want more of that do a second one, and I’ll show you, I went from this here, and here is the second. It’s super clean. It gives me clarity but it also have this mid-range fuzziness, and this compression that gives me sustain which I love as an electric guitar teacher in Miami. By the way, I need to give credit where credit is due. Like I said to you, the way I buy gear is I figure out who my favorite guitar player is or I figure out what I want to sound like and I just buy the exact same thing that they are using. It’s a very simple thing to do but very few guitar players do this. Most guitar players what they do when they go buy gear is they go to the music store and they ask the sales man what they should buy, or they believe what they saw on the commercial or the magazine. And that’s not what I do because that’s marketing. You’re getting marketed to and that’s them spending tons of money to get you to buy their thing. But I would rather look to my heroes like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix or Jeff Beck or even Eric Clapton Buddy guide/ look at what they are currently using and buy that. If you want that sound buy that then. It’s that simple folks. I think that’s the way to go. So that being said why do I have two tube screamers?
Well, Stevie Ray Vaughan used two tube screamers, and he was a real smart cookie when it comes to tone. He pioneered a lot of things so I think he realized he could get all the bottom and the heat out of his amps. That’s why I showed you how big my transformers are because I can get all the tonal shaping I need as an electric guitar teacher in Miami. It’s in my head here, and then I can get the mid-range, the compression and the gain through these two pedals. So with the second pedal on, I’m going to get the bridge pickup. You can hear some harmonic action.
That’s so serious.
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By the way, in case you were wondering, that’s a P90. I’ll show you real quick. I’m actually playing a Joe Barden. Can I just show this to you? Here we go. It’s a Joe Barden P90 I’ll do a whole other review on that. If you’re curious though, look on my YouTube video channel on the video that says ‘why I play a Strat’ and I talk all about my Strap mods. I’m using Joe Barden P90, 2 tube screamers, Hughes and Kettner head with a Celestian Vintage 30 speaker. This is exactly what you’re hearing and thats exactly how I get my tone as an electric guitar teacher in Miami.
What I really love about the 2 tube screamers is the really intense compression. I get all the gain I need for sustain and harmonic. It’s all there folks. The EQ is intact. I feel like I don’t lose any signal. I am using mogami cables as you can actually see, this one is a planet waves, but everyone else is a mogami; they’re all gold though. The coating inside these tube screamers is hand-wired, if you open them up, inside these are mogami hand wired point to point connections.
Why does it sound so good?
Well, all of the EQ, all of the signal is intact. The compression is what makes the mid-range and distortion working. The compression is super unique. And you are going to have to take my word for it, or you are going to have to go and play one of these yourself. But if you play in a band, and you kick this pedal on and it gives you this shape, the tone, in a way that the compression and the mids make it pop right out of the mix, so it becomes audible and you can hear it better even though it’s not louder. And it can get plenty loud. I don’t know what the decibel boost is. I think it’s probably got an 18 decibel boost. But its huge boost. It’s more than enough. It’s actually monstrous. I have not seen a boost this big since like a Keeley pedal. And that’s a new fad by the way, having like massive gain boost inside the pedal. But Keeley is doing it, I know Analogman is doing it, but Keeley does it stock. And this tube screamer gives you a massive gain boost. So if you turn it off- let’s see if I can just show you here- if I just turn this off, I am going to show you with one pedal with the gain all the way up.
Here’s two pedals.
Here’s with the volume and the gain all the way up.
That’s a huge boost. I hope I’m not distorting the microphone right now because that’s just massive folks.
I like to use it like I told you. This is my clean which is not really clean. It’s just a hairy kind of clean.
Gives me a nice, round kind of clean with some hair.
Let me jam for you a little bit. Some Jack Johnson kind of stuff here that I use in class as a electric guitar teacher in Miami. (Just get the levels right).
Really amazing sound. It does all that I need it to do. I’m very picky when it comes to tone. I’ve been through so many pedals. BY the way I just want to say as a disclaimer that probably the best distortion you can get would be tube distortion straight out of your hand. But a lot of times you are going to need more than one amp onstage. At least I’ve noticed that usually I’ll need one amp for distortion and one amp for clean. Usually if I am going to use distortion which is exactly what Stevie Ray Vaughan did for the end of his career. He’d use a Thunder basement dimed out for his lead sound and then other black basis for his cleaner sounds. The easiest way to do that is to just get one sound like a great clean sound like a half note Hughes and Kettner and then stack the pedals on top of it. The worst thing you could do tone way I think is use the gain and switch between like the Hughes and Kettner leads and crunch in all the other stuff. I’ve done that for years and I have not had good results. In other words, if that dial on the amps for lead it needs to stay in lead. If you have a bonafide lead channel for the lead, like with fenders don’t give you a bonafide lead channel, but I tend to like the cleaner sound, like what you get out of the fender twin or the deluxe or the super or the vibe reverb and then just push the amp with a tube screamer and with sheer volume and let it break up the old fashioned way where it just breaks up at volume. But it’s really hard because to play the sound great at a low volume is always the challenge. Sounding great at a really high volume is relatively easy as long as you know what you are doing but sounding great at a low volume like what I am doing right now is going to require some more think and I’m using two tube screamers. I would definitely use this live or in the studio and while teaching electric guitar teacher in Miami, and it sounds great. So I am going to put below a link of the Amazon affiliate link where you could buy this pedal new off Amazon and I highly recommend it.
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