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BBE Sound Inc. Green Screamer V2 Overdrive Pedal

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the original TS-808 Tube Screamer likely tops the list of most imitated. BBE has produced their own version of the screamer for many years, and the newly redesigned V2 Tube Screamer is their latest take on the Screamer, with thoughtful features to improve its versatility. 

The BBE Green Screamer V2 features:

  • Modified "Green" overdrive circuit
  • 4558 Op Amp
  • 3 position deep switch
  • Selectable input buffer
  • True hard-wire bypass
  • Discrete through-hole PCB construction
  • 9V battery or power supply capable
  • Top mounted input, output and power jacks
First introduced in the late 70's the Ibanez TS-808 (later TS9) Tube Screamer has taken on mythical greatness and legions of fans. But like most musical products, there have always been imitations and attempts to make it even better. The BBE Green Screamer uses the same Op Amp as the original TS but focuses on providing greater control range, plus the addition of a three position mode switch.

True to the original design, the Green Screamer emphasizes the midrange frequencies, and pulls out some low end. It's not a pedal built for chugging, but that's true of any TS. BBE compensates for this by adding a 3 position mode switch. The "0" position is the standard TS, circuit while position 1 adds a little more low end response, and position 2 increases the thickness and low end to a greater degree. In our opinion neither mode 1 or 2 dramatically changes the character of the pedal, but they provide subtle ways to tailor the low end response without losing the essence of the TS circuit. 

Where does the Green Screamer excel? It makes a very good "always on" grit pedal to add crispiness and touch responsive crunch to your playing. It also works well stacked with other pedals, and you can use it to feed a hotter signal into a more aggressive overdrive or distortion pedal. But even in its most extreme setting, it's the light-to-medium clipping and distortion of an overdriven amplifier. If you want heavy distortion or the sound of a Tweed about to melt down, there are better options.

The tone control is definitely voiced on the bright side, and never having actually owned a true TS, we can only assume that this is typical of the breed. Anywhere above 9 o'clock is going to add additional high end, and above 1:00 it's really sizzling. If your guitar is voiced on the dark side or gets bass heavy with some overdrive pedals, the Green Screamer can definitely perk it up and lean it out. That being said, testing the Screamer with Strat and Tele style guitars yielded very good results, adding tasty overtones and sizzle to both chords and single notes.

There is also a switchable buffer to preserve the tone of your instrument and compensate for tone degradation inherent in cables, complex signal chains etc. 

There is no shortage of TS imitators, and if you can find an original TS it will set you back a bundle. But BBE has always been packed a ton of engineering into their products, and the new V2 Green Screamer is no exception. If you are looking for a taste of the original TS with added features and flexibility, the Green Screamer is a great option, and a bargain.