5 Best Tube Screamer Clones for Creating Your Signature Sound

Back in the late 70s, Ibanez, a renowned guitar and instrument manufacturer in the industry released what became known as the original Tube Screamers. These screamers were utilized by iconic artists and musicians, such as Joan Jett and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Of course, you’ll already know just how legendary these musician’s sounds were since they were known around the world, and still remain popular to this day. In part, this is all thanks to the original screamer pedals they were using.

While an original Tube screamer is expensive and hard to find for this exact reason, this became one of the most cloned effects pedals in all music history, and you’d be forgiven for believing that every audio company had their own Tube screamer pedal on sale.

With such a saturated market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re trying to find the model that’s right for you. However, there’s no need to fret as we’re here to help. We’ve searched the market far and wide, reviewing and analyzing what’s out there and then narrowing down the best to our absolute best final five.

The following five pedals contain all the features you’ll need, retain a high-quality build and, of course, are available for an affordable price. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into it!

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

To start off our list, we’re going to start with the official Ibanez Tube Screamer clone that remains incredibly affordable and contains all the original technology of the classic Tube Screamers. With this in mind, it goes without saying that this is one of the closest emulators you’re going to find.

We love the fact that this pedal comes with 100% analog circuitry for that authentic and genuine sound, as well as a True Bypass filter to ensure your sound remains interference and noise-free.

As with all Tube screamers, you’ll be able to control the tone and the level of the sounds you’re producing with your guitar, and then manipulate your selected sound with the Overdrive dial. All the dials are sturdy and feel reliable; not like they are going to break if you treat them roughly.

Since this is the Mini edition, you’ll be happy to know that this pedal takes up minimal room in your pedalboard, which is ideal if you already own other essential guitar pedals, such as a treble booster pedal. With the ability to create that hallowed, grounded sound you’re looking for, it doesn’t get much better than this.

PROS
  • Produced by Ibanez, the original Tube Screamer manufacturer
  • Comes with a True Bypass filter
  • Control over your tone, levels, and overdrive filter
  • Compact and highly durable design
CONS
  • None!

Maxon Reissue Series OD808 Overdrive Pedal

Maxon Reissue Series OD808 Overdrive Pedal

While slightly more expensive, the Maxon Reissue is an extremely popular guitar overdrive effects pedal, and easier one of the most used Tube screamer clones in the music industry. In fact, this is the pedal that’s used by leading musicians, such as Adam D (Killswitch Engage), Metal Mike (Halford), Nick Hipa (As I Lay Dying), and many more.

As you can see from this collection, this pedal is ideal if you’re overdriving your sounds for the metal or heavy rock genre, but the chances are that you’ll be able to find uses for it regardless of the style you’re trying to play.

This particular model offers an incredibly smooth and natural overdrive effect that’s free from distortion and unwanted noise/interference. It’s the power of a full-tube amplifier in compact pedal design.

This pedal really comes to life thanks to the dynamic technology that’s integrated into the unit. This is because the pedal responds to the sounds you’re creating and then overdrives each part individually, which results in that natural sound, rather than a cheaper model that simply boost your sound or adds an effect.

Despite this being a Reissue model, each unit contains the same, original circuitry and circuit boards, the JRC4558 IC chip, as the first model, meaning you can enjoy that authentic, genuine sound in the modern age. If you’re looking for a powerful, beautiful-sounding overdrive Tube Screamer that will see you through for many years to come, this is it.

PROS
  • Durable, compact pedal design
  • Reliable plunger switch and hard-wearing dials
  • Outstanding, industry pioneering sound
  • Retains high-performance capability for years to come, in studios and during live performances
CONS
  • Slightly more expensive than other Tube Screamer pedals

Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive TO800

Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive TO800

The Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive Effects Pedal is an incredibly affordable overdrive pedal which is perfect for musicians who want to try out an effects pedal of this nature to see whether it’s for them or would require an affordable unit to match their budget requirements.

With this pedal, you’ll still be able to enjoy the vintage sounding overdrive sound that prides itself on impressive sustain, at that fat screaming tube tone that you’ve grown to love. This is all made possible thanks to the original 4558 IC chip which have been combined with MA150 distortion diodes for the best sound generation.

On this pedal, you’ll find a dedicated drive control, a tone selection dial and then level controls. This all comes together to give you complete control over the sound you’re producing, and a ton of opportunities to shape your sound with ease.

Despite being an affordable, budget-conscious model, we love the attention to detail that’s been placed here. This includes a status LED indicator that lets you know whether your effect is turned on or off, and a battery check so you can be sure you have enough power to see you through to the end of your show.

With the ability to run on both battery power or a DC power supply cable, and all produced from iconic Germany manufacturing, what more could you want from your overdrive effects pedal?

PROS
  • Germany-manufacturing for outstanding build quality
  • Can run on battery or DC cable input
  • Uses implemented original 4558IC chip for overdrive settings
  • Detailed, compact build with LED status indicator and battery level
CONS
  • Effect not as comprehensive on a bass guitar
  • Plastic build more brittle than metal cases

Joyo JF-01 Vintage Overdrive Guitar Effect Pedal with True Bypass

Joyo JF-01 Vintage Overdrive Guitar Effect Pedal with True Bypass

While Joyo is typically enjoyed by musicians for their affordability and basic functions, their Tube Screamer clone is surprisingly effective, and perhaps considered one of their best pedal clones to date.

This incredibly affordable overdrive pedal provides you with all the sound functions you would expect from a pedal of this nature, all cased in a reliable and highly durable housing that’s ideal for home, studio, or performance use.

You can easily control whether you want your effect on and off using the foot-switchable True Bypass filter, and you can shape your sounds easily and limitlessly using the control knobs fixed to the top of the pedal.

Despite the low price tag, you even have the option to power your pedal via a battery or a DC power connection, giving you the best of every possibility where you’re not restricted by operational basics.

With a standard jack input/output for your instruments, a compact size, so it fits effortlessly into your pedalboard, and a design that’s meant to last for years by your side, there’s no reason a Joyo pedal couldn’t be the overdrive pedal you’ve been looking for.

PROS
  • The incredibly affordable pedal that’s suitable for all musicians
  • Stomp-box style True Bypass filter
  • Can be powered on battery or via DC power supply
  • Suitable for all kinds of guitar
CONS
  • DC power cable not included

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer – Classic

While we mentioned the Mini version of the Ibanez Tube Screamer, it would be rude not to mention the classic edition, which is, in fact, a reissue of the original Tube Screamer that all these clones are based on. With this model, Ibanez has worked hard to maintain a lot of the original features and level of quality.

As you can see, this model retains its iconic green paint, all encased in a hard and highly durable metal shell that’s built to last for many years to come. Of course, you’ll find all the controls you need to shape your guitar sounds any way you please, including a tone, drive and level control.

Each dial has been securely fastened to the device and remains sturdy and reliable, even if you’re making quick setting changes during your set or live performance. The sound quality of this pedal is absolutely amazing, and since it’s made by the same manufacturers, it really doesn’t get much better than this. This pedal is going to make your 10-inch guitar speaker sing.

Interestingly, these pedals are even produced in the same factory as the original Ibanez Tube Screamers were. If you’re on the hunt for the best pedal that will help you create those awe-inspiring, audience-captivating sounds, this could be the pedal you’ve been looking for.

PROS
  • Original manufacturer where pedals are made in the same Ibanez factory
  • Three controls for shaping your sound however you want
  • Retains the original housing and color scheme as the original pedal
  • Incredibly affordable and suitable for all musicians of any skill level
CONS
  • None!

Summary

As you can see, when it comes to choosing a Tube Screamer clone that can help you to emulate that traditional rock and metal sound, there’s plenty of amazing options out there for you to choose from.

However, instead of risking a poor-quality pedal, sticking to any of the five pedals above is sure to leave you and your audience with a smile on their faces.

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