Ibanez TS9 TubeScreamer
The Ibanez TS9 is a staple overdrive pedal. Pretty much everyone with a pedalboard (especially metalheads) seems to have one. It's super easy to use and very intuitive. Like most drive pedals, it has 3 knobs: drive, tone, and level. The drive knob controls the amount of drive. The tone knob controls the treble. All the way up = the most treble. All the way down = a more bassy tone and less prominent. The level knob controls the pedal's output. The whole thing is pretty straight forward. It's an easy pedal to use and is very responsive.
I use this pedal with my Schecter Hellraiser and Peavey 6505+. When combined with the amp's clean channel, and the drive set to about 2 or 3, you'll essentially get a nice boosted clean tone. Put the drive at about half, and you get some slight drive. Crank it up to 10, and you'll have a pretty crunchy sound. It's a very smooth pedal. While not the hottest overdrive out there, it's great for getting some nice blues tones or even some AC/DC style tones. Here's some examples of what it sounds like on a clean channel. You'll notice you can still hear every string being played, even during the strummed chords.
Combine this pedal with the lead channel on your amp or with a nice distortion pedal, and you'll start getting some very nice heavy tones. When used this way, it just enhances your tone a bit. This is what I do when I'm playing heavier metal stuff like ABR. In the examples below, I'll be playing with my amp's lead channel for maximum drive. This is exactly what J.B. Brubaker does to get his tone. You'll notice in these examples that there's not a huge difference between 25% and 100% drive. It's mostly just enhancing the tone on the lead channel.
The TS9 is also very reliable. I'm not sure how long I've owned one, but I've never had a problem with it. It's super sturdy and feels very solid. I've actually thought about taking it apart and rhino-lining the case just for effect. Ha! But seriously, you can take this pedal to gigs with no pedalboard, or drop it on the ground a few times without worrying about it. Even the knobs feel sturdy, with a decent amount of resistance when turning them.
When you use this pedal for the right kind of music, it sounds awesome. No matter what you use it for, it adds drive while always maintaining clarity. Whether you play rhythm with full chords or lead guitar, this pedal sounds awesome. If you're looking for a pedal to turn your clean channel into a heavy metal tone, you probably want to look elsewhere, because by itself, this pedal doesn't produce that kind of sound. If you're in need of a great overdrive pedal for enhancing your cleans or boosting your distortion even more, get it! It's a great pedal to keep in your arsenal, and if anything ever happens to mine, I'll definitely be getting another one. \m/