Jacques Overtube

The famous Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer has been the touchstone for multitudes of folks who make distortion boxes—none more so than France’s Jacques, whose website even uses the address ts808.com. Sacre bleu! Jacques’ previous Tubeblower pedal was basically a clone of the venerable ’808, and, as anyone who relies on Tube Screamers knows, you need two of them running in series to nail that magical high-gain overdrive sound that SRV made famous. To facilitate obtaining this degree of overdrive with one pedal, Jacques has introduced the Overtube ($139 street), which is essentially two Tubeblowers in one package.

You could identify the Overtube blindfolded, as it features a sly Casc (cascade) toggle switch that links the two overdrive circuits in series. Otherwise, the Overtube sports the same Drive, Level, and Tone controls found on the Tubeblower and TS-808. The Overtube has a metal enclosure that’s similar to a TS-808’s, as well as an FET-type footswitch (made of plastic in this case) and a 2.1mm jack for an adapter (not included). Succeeding in its mission of being an über ’Screamer, the Overtube has great dynamic response, potent output, and a warm, tube-like distortion voice. Activate the Casc switch and the pedal shifts into hyperdrive mode, pouring on the corpulent grind like a sommelier dispenses fine Bordeaux. Despite the huge increase in gain, the noise level is low and the dynamic response is such that you can still pull out cleaner tones by lowering your guitar volume. In cascade mode, the Overtube’s tones will certainly please sustain-hungry blues rockers and could probably make many a metal shredder welcome a classic green box on their board.

Kudos: Warm, dynamic distortion. Cascade function dramatically increases gain. A well-evolved clone of the TS-808.

Concerns: None.

Contact: Jacques Stompboxes, (011) 33 4 91 57 1001; ts808.com