After returning the Vox Valve-tone V810, I was a bit down on my quest. I knew I liked the tone of that pedal more than what I currently own, but I couldn’t justify spending money on something that wasn’t “perfect.” But anything that is likely to be “perfect” is way out of my price range anyway.
I later stopped by a different local guitar shop to see if they had an Ibanez Tube Screamer (the original TS808) I could try. Sure enough, they had an Ibanez pedalboard in their amp room with every variation of the Tube Screamer Ibanez now offers. So I took full advantage of it. The TS9DX was too bass heavy. The TS9 actually sounded better to my ears than the TS808. The TS808 sounded too one dimensional while the TS9 had enough treble and bass harmonics to have more depth. That could be just me.
For my test run, I plugged a Fender American Deluxe Strat into a Fender Hot Rod. I think it was a 1×12, but now I can’t remember. The other interesting thing is that all the Tube Screamers were loud. They had noticeable hum when nothing was being played, just like the Vox Valve-Tone V810 I complained about.
Afterwards I spoke with one of the sales/tech guys who has been there a long time. I explained what I was looking for and that I was just exploring. He laughed about how you can find a Tube Screamer clone at just about any price point. He suggested, if I wasn’t afraid of moding things, to check out a used Boss SD-1 (new street price is $45, used is around $30). They are popular, cheap, and mod instructions are all over the internet. We talked about other options. Then I remember I have a Boss SD-2. This was a gift from my wife (then girlfriend) who was just trying to get me something when I had no idea what I wanted. I’ve kind of dismissed it because it isn’t “boutique,” the lead effect is too much for my tastes, and it was discontinued right after I received it. Plus I think the sales guy ripped my wife off and I started to get into my Big Muff Pi fuzzes. But I started to wonder: Is my SD-2 a Tube Screamer clone?!? Do I already have what I’m looking for? Do I just need to start looking for mod suggestions? Is AnalogMan the answer to all my troubles? Has the financially responsible answer to my tone quest been staring my in the face for years?
Guitar For Worship then posted a demo of his Boss OD-1.
What is the difference between the Boss OD series and the Boss SD series? Do they really make that much difference? Is it worth modding any of them? Perhaps. Perhaps the first thing I should do is continue to explore the effects I have while I learn to play better. It is the combined process of exploration and learning that make this a true quest.