As I turned the Tight control up, the low end decreased steadily and the midrange slowly started to creep out, along with sharper high-end frequencies. For a standard guitar, this feature would probably be most useful for adding sting to notes in a lead passage, but with bass it offers a whole new world of texture. Hard rock and metal bassists are often left out in the cold in the final mix, and their lines are often hard to hear. The Tight control allowed me to adjust exactly where I sat in the mix with my band, whether or not I wanted a really fat, rounded tone à la Jack Bruce, or a more aggressive, punchy one in the vein of Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. I was astonished at how much influence that control had over my tone, and it was really fun digging in and seeing how far it would take me. It was as if I could choose my own voicing for the pedal. If the low end wasn’t present enough, all I had to do was turn it up on the amp. Having the Tight control up too high did create some feedback, though. Carefully balancing the Gain and Tight controls, in tandem with not dialing in too much low end on the amp, helped keep the feedback in check.

Brown also included another cool feature from the original TightDrive: an effects loop. I saw this as a way to revisit effects I’d unsuccessfully tried in the past, such as octave or auto-wah devices that can sound too weak on their own. Placing them in the Bass TightDrive’s effects loop really helped emphasize their special colors. As on the guitar TightDrive, a switch lets you select whether you want the loop before the pedal’s first preamp stage or after its final output stage. This option really helps if you’re using a time-based effect, such as chorus, and want it to sound clearer by placing it after the TightDrive’s circuitry.

The Final Mojo
For bassists looking to cover a lot of sonic ground, the Bass TightDrive is a magnificent choice. The foundation of great bass overdrive tones is there, along with plenty of gain, if that’s what you need. Having an effects loop opens a lot of creative doors, especially for players who have never experimented with one before. With its great sound, tonal versatility, and rugged construction, the Amptweaker Bass TightDrive is a clear winner.
Buy if...
you’re looking for a highly versatile, great sounding bass overdrive that lets you choose where you sit in the mix.
Skip if...
bass fuzz is more of your thing.

Street $180 - Amptweaker -