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more... GearEffectsBass GearReviewsBass EffectsOverdriveAmptweakerAugust 2010

Amptweaker Bass TightDrive Pedal Review

The Bass TightDrive was born after amp guru James Brown met Greg Weeks, bassist for the metal outfit the Red Chord, at the January 2010 Winter NAMM show. Weeks played the TightDrive guitar model and, based on the extreme settings he seemed to favor, Brown suggested making some circuit alterations to better accommodate his playing style.

Controls and Features
The Bass TightDrive’s controls are identical to the guitar model. The basic setup of Volume, Tone, Gain, and Tight controls are still there, nestled securely on the pedal’s rear flank. Behind the knobs is a sturdy metal roll bar, which covers a rocker switch that disengages the 9-volt battery circuit. This is handy for players who use batteries, but don’t want to unplug the unit on their pedalboards when they’ve finished playing. The sturdy, 14-gauge steel chassis feels substantial and offers a magnetically latched battery door that slides out from the side. A simple solution to a common problem, this is one of the best ideas I’ve seen in a pedal in a long time. I realize cost is a consideration for pedal designers, but every battery-powered pedal should provide tool-free access to the battery compartment. For those who hate having to reach for a screwdriver every time they change a cell, the Bass TightDrive’s battery door is a godsend.

The Tight control on the standard TightDrive offers a multitude of distortion flavors, mostly affecting the amp’s attack and response. With the Bass TightDrive, the Tight control presents a whole new way of helping the bass fit in the overall mix. The adjustment knob still allows the player to fine-tune the amplifier’s attack, but since bass serves an entirely different purpose of filling out and supporting the rhythm section, the control comes into play in a very different way.

Plugging In
I tested the Bass TightDrive using a 1987 Kramer USA Striker bass plugged into a Gallien-Krueger 700RB head. My cabinet, a 1970 Orange 8x10 with Ampeg SVT speakers, really allowed the whole rig to open up and clearly reveal the Bass TightDrive’s capabilities. With the Tight control turned fully counter-clockwise, the low end was very expansive. My notes carried across the room quite well when I played at the lower end of the fretboard.