TS History

Ibanez Tube Screamer and the Maxon OD9

A Brief History:

If you’ve been playing guitar for any period of time, chances are you’ve owned this popular little green box at one point or another. Let’s take a brief look at the history behind the tubescreamer. Here’s a small excerpt from a great book on vintage effects pedals, titled The Stompbox.

The Ibanez story dates back to 1908, when Matsujiro Hoshino opened a book and stationery store in Nagoya, Japan. By 1932 Hoshino was producing guitars under the Ibanez name, and 30 years later the Honshino Guitar Company purchased half interest in a small American guitar firm called Elger that had been importing guitars from Hoshino and other Japanese companies.

Marketing manager Roy Miahara describes Ibanez’s early pedal efforts: “When Ibanez CEO Tom Tanaka saw MXR stuff. We began making copies of it. In those days the Yen was 260 or 270 to the dollar. You didn’t have to worry about marketing anything, You could just bring it over here and make tons of money on it. Nisshin made all of Ibanez’s pedals, and they also owned the name Maxon.

One of Ibanez’s most famous effects was the TS-9 Tube Screamer, medium-gain overdrive unit designed to emulate the sound of a tube amp. Designed by Nisshin in the early ’80’s and made legendary by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Johnson, the TS-9 was essentially a repacked version of an earlier Ibanez/Nisshin hit, the TS-808. “I don’t think I used the TS-9 the way they made it to be used,” Stevie Ray told Guitar Player in 1983. “I have it set so it makes everything sound turned up.”

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