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Totally Gnarly: Five Modern Effect Pedals That Recreate Gritty '80s Sounds

Totally Gnarly: Five Modern Effect Pedals That Recreate Gritty '80s Sounds

To music fans, the 1980s will always represent the pinnacle of rock and roll decadence.

From bank-breaking record advances and extravagant arena tours to non-stop parties and girls dancing on cars, a guitarist's gear in the '80s had to be just as over-the-top as his look, whether he was sporting Spandex or a nail-spiked armband.

But don't think thrash and glam is all there was to the '80s. While metal ruled the airwaves, a Texan named Stevie Ray Vaughan was busy reinventing the blues with his Tube Screamer and his trusty No. 1 Strat.

The '80s was truly a great time to be a great guitarist, and this list — compiled by a group of Guitar World staffers including Gear Editor Paul Riario — will help you recapture some of the era's totally awesome tones using modern effect pedals.

Ibanez TS808 Vintage Tube Screamer Reissue

Here's a pedal that's arguably as legendary as the guys who stomped on it back in the day — guys like George Lynch and, oh yes, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Since Ibanez (with some help from Maxon) introduced the first Tube Screamer in the '70s, they've come up with a few variations, including the equally popular and slicker-looking TS9. But the TS808 — with its distinctive pale-green color and funny little square footswitch — is considered the real classic of the bunch. (Feel free to argue in the comments below!)

Serious gearheads used to search long and hard for this pedal before Ibanez reissued it a few years ago, complete with the sound of the original JRC4558 chip. Control-wise, they keep it as simple and self-explanatory as always; there's Overdrive, Tone and Level.

The Tube Screamer dishes out some truly warm overdrive, sounding very much like a gloriously overdriven tube amp, even when you're not playing at eardrum-splitting volumes, providing strong sustain and mids along the way. Bear in mind the TS808 isn't an all-out distortion pedal; just check out any live SRV performance to hear it in action.

MSRP: $257.13 | Head here for more info.

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