A distortion box for bassists that brings high-gain heat, but won’t suck your low-end dry.


Amptweaker’s James Brown knows dirt, and his compact Bass TightMetal Jr—one of three pedals in the Bass Jr Distortion series—was designed to move said dirt with a dash of high-gain fury. Resting below its roll-bar-protected dials for volume, tone, and gain is a slider switch for thrash/normal/smooth EQ settings and a second slider to govern the attack with settings for fat, normal, and tight. Positioned between the sliders is the adjustable noise gate for taming hum and dialing in harder stops.

The Bass TightMetal Jr delivers an edgy-yet-thick distortion that’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s also not just for metal. The snarl I cooked up in the thrash setting with the tight attack engaged and the gain at 3 o’clock was intense and, yes, tight—spot-on for fast metal runs. But by setting the sliders to smooth and fat, respectively, and dialing back the gain to about 1 o’clock, the tones thickened up nicely with a warmth that could make the Bass TightMetal Jr an interesting addition for genres from modern punk to scuzzy slacker rock.

Low-end preservation is probably what I like best about the sounds from the Bass TightMetal Jr. While the distortion sounds do lean on the grind-y side, the weight and oomph of my notes kept the word thin from ever entering the conversation. That’s helped in big part by the dry-low knob housed on the pedal’s right side. It eases in the clean signal to taste, but primarily just the lows and mids. If you’re a bassist fond of crunch with an evil streak yet want to maintain a big bottom end, be good to yourself and check out this Jr.

Test gear: Fender Precision, Gallien-Krueger 800RB head, Orange OBC212 cab, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4

Ratings

Pros:
Solid low-end retention. The noise gate and dry-low knob are welcome features.

Cons:
There’s a wide range under the hood, but tones are still relatively niche.

Street:
$169

Amptweaker Bass TightMetal Jr
amptweaker.com

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