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The Tube Screamer Mods Page

Ibanez Tubescreamer Mods - the Mysteries Revealed!

I've done these mods for myself and various people over the years, and it's been fun. I'd like to share my experience with others in a way that simplifies the whole process of the D.I.Y. mods. I originally figured out the mods by studying the schematics kindly provided by Jack Orman and other knowledgable folks on the web.

I realize a lot of people would like to do these mods, but may not have the background to decipher and compare circuit schematics.

The TS-9 and TS-5 (the Soundtank plastic version) are fairly easy to modify to the 808 specs. Two resistors and you're done. Most of the work is getting the unit apart and back together.

The TS-10 is a whole different story, and you shouldn't attempt this unless you have a little experience under your belt. There are a quite a few differences between the TS-10 and the TS-808, and there's a lot more work involved, such as removing components and putting circuit board jumpers in their places, for example.

Here are some pictures of the actual circuit boards, with the mods shown in an easy to understand, graphic style. (I use these for reference sometimes!). Let me know if these are too small to be useful. I can always put larger versions out there. (Resizing them in a graphics program or printing them out might help.)

If you want to get into the schematics of these and other stompboxes, check out Aron Nelson's Stompbox Page, an excellent reference source.

Note: If you don't know which model of Tube Screamer you own, you probably shouldn't try to mod it. And unless you're comfortable desoldering components from printed circuit boards, don't attempt these modifications. Please read my disclaimer below, and have fun!

Here's what you can do:

• Convert your TS-9, TS-5, or TS-10 to the coveted TS-808 specifications - get that SRV tone!
- - This is probably the most noticeable difference you can make in the Screamer, it's browner, creamier.

• Replace the opamp in your Screamer with a JRC4558 - just like the original!
- - Depending on what is already in your unit, this may or may not be a subtle change. The 4558 is smoother than most of the other stock opamps, in my opinion. I haven't seen NOS opamps for a while, but I've gotten the more recent 4558s from various sources on the Internet. An excellent source for these and other pedal-specific parts is
Small Bear Electronics .

• Install an IC socket on your circuit board - swap your own Opamps!
- - This can be fun for experimenting with different components and comparing. You can get the sockets from Mouser electronics (see below).

• Replace the nasty tantalum tone caps with poly film caps - smooth tone!
- - This is a fairly subtle mod. Some claim the stock tantalum caps have a grainy character when compared with the poly film caps.

• Install a new switch - these go out all the time.
- - I've tried a couple different ones for the TS-9. I don't have any reports yet as to durability, but I found some that are really close, if not exact, in terms of drop-in replacements. You can get them from Mouser Electronics (see below). So far I haven't found a TS-5 replacement. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. I have a great modded TS-5 that is unusable because of a worn out switch (sniffle).

(Click on a picture to see a larger image - all photos open in a new window)

TS-9 Modifications Diagram
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TS-5 Modifications Diagram
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TS-10 Modifications Diagram
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Some selected part numbers from Mouser Electronics (1-800-346-6873):
(part numbers subject to change, call them for a catalog)

581-BF63V224K -- Caps .22 metal poly film
1430-1224 -- Alternate caps - try these
575-113308 -- Quick change sockets, all gold contacts
291-10K -- carbon film, 1/4 resistor for 808 mod
291-100 -- carbon film, 1/4 resistor for 808 mod
101-0621 -- Mountain Sw tactile sw - TS9 replacement, best
612-TL1100 -- E-Switches - 2nd choice


Please observe common sense safety procedures when using a soldering iron. I cannot be held liable for damages if you destroy your prized stompbox in the process of modifying it, so if you lack experience in simple circuit changes on a PC board, please find an experienced friend or professional tech to do the work.

If you've found this page to be helpful, please consider a donation to support my efforts - Thanks!

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This page updated 07/10/08, 11:44 EST