010: Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini: A Closer Look at this Classic Reissue | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Welcome to episode 10 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. Up for today, we're going to be talking about Ibanez's Tube Screamer Mini, another renegade pedal that has changed the music landscape. This is a fun one, and we're looking forward to unpacking it for you guys today.
Hey everybody, Scott Schwertly here with Siren Pedals.

Austin Bryan:
Hey guys, Austin Bryan here with Siren Pedals.

Scott Schwertly:
Today, we're going to be talking about Ibanez's Tube Screamer Mini.

Austin Bryan:
Mini.

Scott Schwertly:
Got to love this one. It's fun. I know with the Tube Screamer, it's got a really rich history. People tend to either love or hate this circuit, but for today's discussion, we're really going to focus on all of those things that we love about this little, great mini pedal here.

Austin Bryan:
The tiny yet incredible Tube Screamer Mini, released in 2015. We'll talk a little bit about the old school Tube Screamer, but today we're really going to be focusing on this awesome pedalboard-friendly sized Tube Screamer.

Scott Schwertly:
The mini.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. Released in 2015. For those that are looking for more pedalboard space, here's a great option. Most players out there know what the Tube Screamer is, or has heard that phrase before. Even folks starting out on guitar have probably heard Tube Screamer somewhere. It is one of the most talked about, copied, respected guitar pedals and models and circuits in pedal history.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's one of those foundational circuits behind so many of our favorite boutique pedals that are out there today. One thing we need to clarify if you're new to the world of tube streamers, it's overdrive. This is a famous, classic overdrive circuit that, again, has a pretty rich history behind it.

Let's go and quickly talk about some of that. If you want to go all the way back to the beginning days of the Tube Screamer, it actually goes all the way back to the TS808, which was 1979.

We've seen many iterations since 1979. Fast forward in 2015, which was the birth of this mini version.

Austin Bryan:
36 years.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's crazy.

Austin Bryan:
And this is what is now becoming a standard, because as more pedal companies exist and more pedal options are out there, that real estate on your board is pretty important.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah.

Austin Bryan:
Having something that will nail the sound that you're looking for, but in a more pedal-friendly size is great.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I know particularly these smaller pedals are, I don't want to call it a fad, necessarily, but they're definitely more popular these days. Probably more so than ever has been before.

I know a lot of people are buying things like the Pedaltrain Nano, because they just want five or four key pedals on their board. It's great for travel. It's easy to lug around. It's a great option if you love overdrive. If you specifically love the Tube Screamer type tone, then this will serve you well.

Austin Bryan:
Absolutely. No pedal has been respected more than this model. I'd say the Tube Screamer is... I brought up the word staple a lot in our previous episodes, but for overdrive, when someone says the word overdrive, this is what usually follows.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's inspired pedals obviously like JHS's Bonsai. Obviously, Earthquaker just came out with the Plumes, which is Tube Screamer inspired.

Austin Bryan:
And the Dunes. Wampler's Clarksdale.

Scott Schwertly:
That's right.

Austin Bryan:
Oh my goodness. The Green Rhino. Seymour Duncan's 805 Overdrive. Walrus Audio's Warhorn, Electro-Harmonix East River Drive. The Nobels ODR-1, which is another legendary and a Nashville staple. And the Keeley Red Dirt Overdrive. There's a lot of them and we could list that for days.

Scott Schwertly:
Yes. I mean, obviously it's inspired a ton of pedals that exist out there today. A lot that I know are personally some of my favorites. I have a few of these in my collection. Again, just testament to the history and the rich legacy of the Tube Screamer circuit, just now for today's discussion, served in a mini size.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. It's compact.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's really hard to argue against its portability, which is probably no surprise here why it is actually popular amongst several musicians out there. I know folks like Tom Misch, a big user of this.

Austin Bryan:
Oh, yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
I think it was spotted on his pedalboard during one of his U.S. tours.

Austin Bryan:
That's cool.

Scott Schwertly:
So I know he's a big fan of it.

Austin Bryan:
I'd say Dave Knudsen and Jake Snider of Minus the Bear. They're big users of this pedal. It just came out in 2015, about five years ago, which is still pretty fresh if you think about it. But it's making its way onto more boards for that nice real estate space.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. If there are any barriers for why it actually is not making on people's pedal boards, there's just a few very tiny flaws about it.
Again, it's a mini, so there's always some limitations. Obviously with most mini pedals, you're going to find that these are surface-mounted pedals. There are conflicting reports on whether there's a difference between stuff that's through hole, or in other words, handmade, as compared to surface mount. And then its size obviously poses some limitations.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. And one aspect of the size is, if you are an Eric Johnson style pedal guy and you might want to just use batteries, this pedal, you can't. Due to its size, you're just restricted to using just the nine volt option that's built into it. The nine volt power.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Speaking of size, I'm holding ours right here in my hands. The two top knobs, tone and level, are really, really tiny. I know there were some complaints that some people actually wish that it had dials or little dashes, whatever you want to call it, where you can actually see where you want to set things.
Really, if you're looking at it from... You're standing up and looking down at your pedalboard, you really can't see where you actually have the thing placed at. I know that can be a frustration for some folks. Super minor complaint, but definitely still worth noting.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah, no. I guess there's a cost to everything. If you do size it down, knob space is limited. It makes sense.

Scott Schwertly:
You're going to sacrifice.

Austin Bryan:
And it is small to check out, so if you are somebody who maybe sets and dials it in and just leaves it, you might be in good shape. But if you are tinkering with your overdrive tone maybe mid set, it might be hard to know where you set your tone and level, because it doesn't have the same kind of indicator as the main overdrive knob does.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Other than that, with that small size, I think that obviously has its limitations in that case, but in the same spirit, it's a huge plus. I mean, this thing does not take up that much real estate. I think it's probably one of the biggest assets altogether. Small size, built on a classic circuit. It's really hard to complain about it.

Austin Bryan:
There are players that have blindfold tested this pedal with its larger-sized brother and couldn't really tell a difference. So hey, something to consider for sure.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, and it's got that classic green, Tube Screamer green color, which is cool.

Austin Bryan:
It does. And if you're looking for that warmth, that punching transparency, if you're a metal guitarist, put one of these guys before the lead channel of your amp to really focus that distortion, get it tight.
If you're a country blues player, you want to sweeten up your lead tone. This is it. This is the one.

Scott Schwertly:
Definitely. Well, let's go and test this thing out. For those that are new to Tube Screamers, you'll get a nice sampling here of what it actually sounds like. It's again, classic overdrive.

Austin Bryan:
Let's do it.
The Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini. You heard it here, folks. Sweet overdrive tone.

Scott Schwertly:
It's sweet all right. No, it's a great pedal. Really can't complain. Love that overdrive sound.

Austin Bryan:
It's so nice.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's hard... Again, I know there's a community out there where people either love or they hate the Tube Screamer. I'm probably more in the love it category. It's hard not to like the circuit.

Austin Bryan:
I don't understand why you wouldn't. It's great. If you're really wanting something to stack with your pedals to push your amp just a little bit into that sweetness, into that spot of drive that just feels at home, this is a great option of anything in the overdrive world to pick. Just to have in your arsenal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Well, there you have it, folks. The Tube Screamer Mini by Ibanez. Join us us next time. In our next episode, we're going to be talking about another classic renegade pedal, the MXR Phase 90.

Austin Bryan:
Phase 90. That's going to be a cool one. Can't wait to hear that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, I love this one. I have a little nice home for it on my pedalboard. It's been there forever. It's so unique.

Austin Bryan:
That orange color is a classic.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, think bands like Pink Floyd.

Austin Bryan:
Van Halen.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh, yeah. Especially Van Halen. Yeah. All users and architects of this fantastic pedal.

Austin Bryan:
If you pause, you can actually hear that sound in your head right now. So cool.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Can't wait. Well, have a great day, have a great week. We will see you next time.

Austin Bryan:
See you guys later.

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