Big White Monkey Spider 808 Overdrive Pedal

Welcome back to those of you who actually follow my reviews! Today I’m checking out another pedal from the boys on the Gold Coast, Big White Monkey!

Now I have mentioned in previous posts that Big White Monkey started out customizing pedals and then branched into low-wattage valve amps, they then brought out their own line of pedals, of which I have played them all.

Big White Monkey Spider Overdrive Pedal

Big White Monkey Spider Overdrive Pedal

Today we are having a look at the ‘Spider‘ overdrive pedal, which is a Tube Screamer TS808 clone, so we are definitely in vintage territory.

A genuine Ibanez TS808 will retail from $200 to nearly $400 (I have seen them higher!) so I won’t go on about why the ‘old is better‘ and how the pricetags associated with vintage gear determines its quality, but the TS808 tone is possibly the back bone of the Rock n’ Roll era and is a highly regarded staple for nearly every guitarist’s pedal board (or some form of Tube Screamer).

There are two versions of the Spider, the Old and the New, in this review we will have a look at both, but the main focus of this article will be looking at the newer version of the pedal. The main difference between the two is a simple change in the OP Chip, all other aspects are the same.

The pedal is virtually indestructible in its steel casing, which is reminiscent of a ProCo RAT2 Distortion pedal, but a bit longer. Finished in bright yellow with Big White Monkey’s, monkey face logo on the front of the pedal.

It can be powered by a 9v battery or by using a 9.6V Regulated DC300ma negative tip positive ground adapter, which is pretty much the same as the standard Boss sized 9v power adapter (inserts on the right side of the pedal). The guitar and amp input, output jacks are on the sides.

Set of 2 1979 & 1980 Ibanez Ts 808 in near mint condition with manual and boxes

End Date: Thursday Feb-27-2020 13:23:04 PST
Buy It Now for only: $4,999.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Okay, a simple pedal, as the vintage pedals usually were, with three controls…

  • Volume/Level
  • Tone
  • Gain.

Now BWM use symbols as the control descriptions (I must admit I am not a great fan of the symbols) instead of words, but no biggie! For the Volume you have the Waterdrops, for Tone you have the Peanuts and the Gain is a banana. Troppo theme!

Okay, so some of the basic aesthetics covered, I just want to stop here and dig a little deeper into the difference between the Older version and the Newer version, then I will share my thoughts on how the pedal sounded and performed for me.

The Older Version…

Ok, so the original Spider is designed to be a very, very close replica of the TS808. Using the same OP Chip as the original TS808 Tube Screamer. It has a True Bypass design that is hand-made with an analog circuit on a military grade glass epoxy circuit board.

Here is a short Demo we did with Darren playing his made in Japan modified Fender Stratocaster into a Peavey Delta Blues valve amp.

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer Overdrive Pro Guitar Effect Pedal TS-808

End Date: Thursday Mar-26-2020 17:32:46 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $126.98
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

So as you would have heard in the video, it is a very transparent pedal, allowing the tone of your amp to remain true. It also has a real vintage Marshall flavor to it with its slight mid boost frequency.

The Newer Version…

So the newer version is pretty much the same pedal in every way as the older one, it still has the True Bypass Analog circut on the military grade glass epoxy circuit board, it is still hand-made, it still comes in the same indestructible steel housing with the same Heavy Duty SOF FET foot-switch, but it has one very important change, it now has a TL072 OP Chip, which is a new Hi-Fi version of the JRC4558.

Here is the video. Darren is still playing his Strat into the Peavey Delta Blues…

Used Keeley George Lynch Time Machine Boost Guitar Effect Pedal

End Date: Tuesday Mar-24-2020 0:56:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $749.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

So, still very transparent sounding with great sustain for soaring leads, and importantly, as Darren pointed out in the video, it is completely silent, there is absolutely no noise or hiss at all with this pedal, which is very impressive.

Ok, So How Did I Find It…?

Now I have owned this pedal for some time and I will say that I haven’t AB’d against an original TS808, but I have compared it against a boutique CMATMODS Super Signa Drive and in comparison, I thought the tone of the Spider 808 Overdrive pedal is kinda darkish. But… For a lower priced pedal (retails at around $55 or so) it stood up really well against its much higher priced counterpart and could definitely hold its own.

It doesn’t add a bright or jangly (ala Vox AC15) sound to your tone, but more of a darkish vintage Marshall (think JTM 45) tone. So for me, I had to turn the Tone (Peanuts) knob up to almost all the way (about 95%) to get some clarity. Now if you like a nice dark OD tone, or have a bright amp (Fender or Hiwatt…) then I recon this pedal would pair up really well, and as you heard in the videos, it sounded great through the Peavey.

It is not a high gain pedal, as it’s ancestry lies in the vintage voicing territory, but because it has that crunchy mid overdrive sweetspot, it is certainly a pedal where you can set n’ forget and use for your main overdriven crunch sound.

Overdrive Guitar Pedal Electric Guitar Effect Pedal with Footswtich Topper

End Date: Saturday Feb-29-2020 18:49:13 PST
Buy It Now for only: $29.98
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Like Darren did in his video, where he used the Spider 808 to boost the distortion of the Delta Blues, I used it to boost my Wren and Cuff Box of War (reviewed later!) and it blended perfectly, adding beautiful harmonics and it sustained forever.

I did AB with a higher end OD (CMATMODS) and I have to say that it did really well, although the Super Signa Drive had far more tonal sculpting with a BMT EQ. If I could improve this pedal I would want more treble range.

However in summary, seriously for around $50 this is the best OD pedal I have had and I will be hanging onto mine for some time to come. It does a great crunchy rhythm and adds a very nice low gain lead tone, and I can always just add some extra treble with my cheap Behringer EQ pedal (2 years and going strong!) if needed, and voila!

The Big White Monkey Spider 808 Overdrive Pedal, a nice sounding OD for peanuts from some boys on the Gold Coast!

Definitely worth checking out and for the little cash you have to outlay, you have an indestructible vintage OD, even if you buy one just for a backup, you never know, it could even replace your main OD on your pedal board!

Oh Yeah, I nearly forgot… So how do you tell the difference between the Old and the New Spider 808. The easiest way to tell is the new one doesn’t have the rubber feet on the Battery compartment flap. If you check out the image below, the one on the right is the new Hi-Fi version.

Big White Monkey Spider 808 Overdrive Pedal Bottom

Big White Monkey Spider 808 Overdrive Pedal Bottom

Set of 2 1979 & 1980 Ibanez Ts 808 in near mint condition with manual and boxes

End Date: Thursday Feb-27-2020 13:23:04 PST
Buy It Now for only: $4,999.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

TS808 vintage black label

End Date: Tuesday Mar-17-2020 2:35:19 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $2,470.42
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ibanez TS-808 JRC4558D Tube Screamer Guitar Effect Pedal Overdrive F/S from JPN

End Date: Saturday Mar-14-2020 5:38:36 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $2,199.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ibanez TS-808 JRC4558D Tube Screamer Guitar Effect Pedal Overdrive

End Date: Saturday Feb-29-2020 6:21:39 PST
Buy It Now for only: $2,189.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ibanez Ts808 1981

End Date: Friday Mar-6-2020 7:12:45 PST
Buy It Now for only: $2,102.35
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

This entry was posted in Pedals and tagged , , by strataminor. Bookmark the permalink.

About strataminor

Born in Brisbane I am a bedroom guitar player, although having played in front of churches (tough crowd!!) for quite a few years so some understanding of band dynamics, timing, gear (private use compared to public use) and melodic structure, instrumental breaks (okay leather pants solos....) and of course amps! Besides from my love of guitar and the G.A.S that goes with it (hey email me I am always offloading gear!! lol) I love languages, and can converse in basic Japanese, and study biblical Greek. I live in Logan with my young family (so not heaps of time at the moment) and will be contributing gear reviews based on a lot of gear I have or still currently have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *