Classic gear: Ibanez Tube Screamer

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer overdrive pedal
(Image credit: Future)

Not only is the Ibanez Tube Screamer the most famous overdrive ever produced, it’s also probably where we get the name ‘overdrive’ from, as the original TS808 model labeled the gain control on the pedal ‘overdrive’. Its origins are interesting - although now Maxon is a company you can buy readily in a guitar shop, back then they were an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for other brands, in this case Ibanez.

The Tube Screamer circuit was designed by Susumu Tamura, an engineer for Maxon, in 1979. It was conceived as a competitor to the Boss OD-1 and MXR Distortion+, and its op-amp based topology instantly set it apart from transistor and JFET-based designs, as well as fuzzboxes. 

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Alex Lynham

Alex Lynham is a gear obsessive who's been collecting and building modern and vintage equipment since he got his first Saturday job. Besides reviewing countless pedals for Total Guitar, he's written guides on how to build your first pedal, how to build a tube amp from a kit, and briefly went viral when he released a glitch delay pedal, the Atom Smasher.