If you’re on a quest for the ultimate guitar tone, the TS9 Tube Screamer pedal might just be your holy grail. With a legacy that spans decades and a reputation as a tone-shaping legend, this pedal has earned its place as an essential tool in the arsenals of countless guitarists. In this review, we’ll delve into the key aspects that make the TS9 a classic choice: gain, tone, versatility, and build quality.

At a Glance

TS9 Tube Screamer

TS9 Tube Screamer

  • Increased Gain
  • Tight Low End
  • Versatility

Brian's Take: This is a beloved, widely-used pedal that is versatile enough to do it all, whether you’re looking to boost your signal or add edgy but controlled distortion. It's very similar to the TS808, but has its own character.

Pros
  • Excellent reputation
  • Very versatile
  • Cheaper than the TS808
Cons
  • Some still prefer the 808's warmth
  • Stock can often be low

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Gain

The TS9 has won the hearts of guitarists looking to add that extra layer of drive without overwhelming their sound. Countless users have praised its ability to provide an ideal amount of gain, allowing you to coax everything from a gentle breakup to a thick, harmonically-rich overdrive. Even at maximum distortion settings, the TS9 retains clarity, keeping unwanted static noise at bay. Whether you’re a metal shredder or a blues enthusiast, the TS9’s gain control provides a wide range of drive possibilities that cater to different musical styles.

Tone

One of the standout features of the TS9 is its remarkable tone control. With the ability to subtly shape your guitar’s tone or dramatically transform it, the TS9 adds a layer of character that enhances your overall sound. I personally love the TS9’s tone-shaping capability, especially when it comes to boosting midrange frequencies and making harmonics pop. While some have wished for a more comprehensive EQ, the TS9’s simple tone control remains a staple for achieving that signature Tube Screamer sound.

Versatility

From metal to blues, the TS9 has consistently proved its versatility across genres. It’s not just a boost pedal; it’s an integral part of your signal chain that can both enhance your existing amp’s distortion and stand alone as a quality overdrive. I’ve used it to tighten up your heavy riffs or to lend warmth to clean tones. Whatever you seem to play, the TS9 adapts to your playing style, making it a true workhorse for any guitarist.

Build Quality

Guitarists put their gear through rigorous use, so a pedal’s build quality is paramount. The TS9 shines in this department, boasting a heavy-duty metal construction that can withstand the rigors of the road and countless stomps. The soft-touch switch is responsive and reliable, ensuring seamless engagement during performances. If you look hard enough, you can find people who have experienced issues with packaging or the occasional defective unit, but the general consensus is that the TS9’s build quality is top-notch, and it has more than proven itself over decades of use.

Final Thoughts

The TS9 Tube Screamer pedal has solidified its place in the pantheon of guitar gear for good reason. Its gain capabilities, legendary tone control, versatility across genres, and rugged build quality make it a must-have tool for any guitarist seeking to achieve their ultimate tone. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your musical journey, the TS9 offers a universe of sonic possibilities waiting to be explored. Don’t miss out on the classic Tube Screamer experience – it’s time to join the ranks of countless musicians who’ve found their sound with the TS9.

If you’re still undecided, or interested in looking at other options, check out my post on the TS808 versus the TS9.