The Ibanez TS-808 tube screamer is one of the most copied guitar pedals of all-time. And of course, these copy cats are sometimes terrible, while others are genuinely great. I’m happy to report that the Bad Monkey from Digitech is one of the better ones if you’re looking to pick up a simple overdrive without breaking the bank.
Compared to the TS-808, the Bad Monkey borrows a lot from the Ibanez stompbox but there are a number of differences as well.
The Bad Monkey offers dual outputs, which means one output goes to the amp, and the other output can be used to plug directly into a mixing board or recording device. Pretty cool! The original TS-808 features only three knobs, and they’re used for adjusting the overdrive, the tone and the level. Digitech has taken this a step further and gives the player four knobs to play with.
The Bad Monkey features a level knob for volume control, a low adjustment knob that cuts or boosts the bass tones, controls for high adjustments, and finally a gain knob that provides that signature smooth tube amp sound.
It would have been nice if the Bad Monkey was true bypass, but considering the TS-808 also lacks true bypass, I’m not mad about it. Overall, the effect doesn’t muddy the signal much at all, at least not to my ears.
One of my favorite use-cases for the Digitech is to crank the gain all the way up and it almost turns into a psuedo-fuzz box when used in addition to my amp’s built-in gain controls. You can also boost the low frequencies and turn the Bad Monkey into a great little weapon if you’re playing metal or anything that requires a heavy riff.
These low and high adjustment knobs add a ton of versatility to your playing and sometimes I also like to turn on the pedal so I can tweak the low and highs of my guitar without affecting the overall tone too much.
Like most overdrive pedals, the Bad Monkey also works fairly well as a simple boost pedal. Set the gain low, boost the level, and keep high and low at noon and you should be set!
You can add a Digitech Bad Monkey to your pedal board for about $50 if you buy it used. An Ibanez TS-808 cna cost up to $179 brand new or about $110 used. If you want to save yourself some money and still grab a fantastic overdrive pedal, you can’t go wrong with the Bad Monkey.
Billy is the Community Specialist for Guitartricks.com, the #1 Online Guitar Lessons website. GuitarTricks.com as over 11,000 lessons covering everything a beginner guitar needs to know to get started, as well as more complicated techniques like tapping, sweeping, scales, and more. GuitarTricks.com also features over 1,000 officially licensed songs from both classic and modern artists like The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran and more.