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Parked Wah dark lead, 2003 Les Paul R8
|Download Example 3
British cutting rhythm tone, 2003 Les Paul R8
|Clips recorded through a Fender Concert II amp with a little spring reverb mic'd with an SM57 into a Chandler LTD-1 mic pre with no EQ. Apogee Symphony I/O into Pro Tools 9 HD.|
James has also used that know-how to create his own line of pedals under the Amptweaker name. The Tight Boost is the successor to the Tight Drive, and differs in having less aggressive gain section and the ability to get cocked wah tones with a special Mid control. He’s listened a lot to the feedback and suggestions of players via internet forums and emails and more. So it’s no wonder this pedal feels and sounds unique.
Built in a blue, 14-gauge steel, tank-like chassis, the Tight Boost feels rock-solid and substantial. A roll bar positioned above the controls gives the pedal another level of road-worthy protection. A very cool slide-out magnetic battery compartment conveniently hides on the side of the chassis. Another nice feature is the ability to run the pedal from 6 to 18 volts, which gives you a more compressed sound at the lower setting and more headroom at the higher end. There are controls for Boost, High, Mid, and Tight, all lit up with red LEDs (when using an external power supply) that make them easy to read onstage. Between the Mid and Tight controls you’ll find a two-position Wah switch that selects the Wah frequency. At the top of the pedal are Return and Send jacks for the FX loop with a corresponding 2-way switch on the bottom to select between Pre or Post loop placement. Switching is true-bypass and is buffered when the Tight Boost is on. Input and Output are in the standard position on the right and left side of the pedal, respectively.
Tight and In Control
For demoing the Tight Boost I used a very pedal-friendly Hip Kitty Panetone combo. First up was an Epiphone Sheraton plugged into the Tight Boost (with all controls set to noon) and directly into the Panetone, which I set up with a big, warm and semi-clean tone. In this setting you get just a hair more gain than straight through the amp but with the tone shaping elements of the pedal. Right away I noticed that there was a bit more high end that was great for rhythm playing.
Pushing up the Boost does what you’d expect by adding more front-end gain to the amp much like having an additional preamp tube in your amp. And this is where the Tight control becomes most useful. By turning the Tight knob clockwise you can tighten up the bottom end while thinning out some of that bass wooliness. It’s great for chiming tones, especially when backing off the volume on the guitar. And I liked the setting with the Boost on full and Tight at about 3 o’clock. Pulling the Tight control way back loosened up the bottom end significantly kicking out a wide and raunchy mix of dirty Joe Walsh and Neil Young tones.