Who better to mod a pedal than the engineer who invented it?
In the year 1979, Japanese electronics engineer Susumu Tamura unknowingly started a sonic revolution.
Seeking to create a circuit to compete with the Boss OD-1, Mr. Tamura inadvertently developed a pedal that would go on to become the most copied, cloned and modified guitar effect of all time.
That pedal was the Ibanez TS808 TubeScreamer.
Known for its incredible warmth and organic, tube-like quality, the “808” quickly became the go-to amp-pushing pedal for countless guitarists around the globe, including a soon-to-be legendary blues player from Texas named Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Over the past four decades, the 808 has taken on a variety of incarnations and launched the careers of many aspiring pedal designers looking to build a better mouse trap. But as the saying goes, there ain’t nothing like the real thing.
The Tamura-mod TS808 is the culmination of a three-year quest by Mr. Tamura to replicate the best sounding TubeScreamer of all time.
After painstaking analysis of hundreds of 808 variants, Mr. Tamura determined that the best-sounding units all featured a specific brand of IC, and that these IC’s were also from a specific production period.
This IC was subsequently sourced by Mr. Tamura and incorporated into his TS808 mod.
The use of this hen’s tooth IC has a dramatic effect on the tonal characteristics of the TS808, generating a transparency, clarity and note-to-note separation so uncanny that it makes other drives sound as if they are being played with a blanket over the speaker.
The Tamura-mod’s hand-selected IC offers the added benefit of altering the overtone components of the signal based on input level.
At low levels, the Tamura-mod TS808 generates primarily even-order harmonics. When the input level is increased, a blend of even- & odd-order harmonics are created, yielding an overtone series that imitates the pre and power sections of a tube amp with remarkable accuracy.
In addition to this magic IC, the Tamura-mod TS808 features specific component substitutions to better match the pedal to its original vintage archetype.
Several key resistor and capacitor changes have been made to fine-tune the Tamura-mod’s tone, while NOS Toshiba silicon diodes have been installed in the clipping section for the ultimate warmth and clarity of crunch (these same diodes were used in certain production runs of the vintage TS808).
The TS808 Tamura-mod also replaces the finicky “chicklet” switch with a high-quality mechanical plunger-type footswitch, and the mod is topped off with the installation of an ultra-bright, blue-white LED.
Even the composition of the chassis plays a role in the Tamura-mod's tone. The TS808's die-cast zinc chassis has different electrostatic & electromagnetic qualities than the die-cast aluminum commonly used for pedals, resulting in superior performance & lower noise.
Each Tamura-mod TS808 is hand-signed by Mr. Tamura and is guaranteed to take your tone even further into TS Utopia.
Due to industry-wide stock shortages, production of the Tamura-mod TS808 will be extremely limited.
When you are after the most authentic vintage tone, it’s always best to go to the source.
For the most authentic TubeScreamer tones, the source is Tamura-san.