30 Pedals in 30 Days: Amptweaker Tight Metal Pro

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Don’t forget to check out the video at the bottom of the page.

James Brown is a hit man, a killer in our industry. Whenever somebody wants something done right, they call him. Whether it’s the Peavey 5150 or the Schecter Hellwin, James is known for getting things done. Which is why the TheToneKing.com is always keeping an eye on him, especially when it comes from his own company, Amptweaker. For 30 Pedals in 30 Days TheToneKing.com had a chance to check out Amptweaker’s Tight Metal Pro to find out why James Brown is on everybody’s speed dial.

Fans of TTK will remember James Brown from our earlier article The Godfather of Modern Amplification To give you the quick talking points: The dude’s had his hand in the 5150, the JSX, the Classic 50, the Classic 30, the Delta Blues, and the Hellwin just to name a few. That’s a big freaking list of some of the biggest name amps.

The idea behind Amptweaker was to get feedback directly from the players. The website has an “ideas” page where you can tell James what kind of gear you want to see him come up with next. Every pedal that Amptweaker designs is a direct result of feedback from players all around the world. And, the TightMetal Pro is no exception.

This goes without saying, but the TightMetal Pro is the big brother to the TightMetal, a pedal that took saturation to the next level. These pedals dripped tone. Where a lot of pedals fail with too much saturation is when they start to sound sloppy. That’s where the TightMetal’s Tight control came into play. James mentioned Mark Kloeppel from the band Misery Index as an inspiration for this. “Like many other metal players, Mark was looking for a particular guitar tone, one with a lot of harmonics but with the ability to stop the notes really fast to work with their music.”

But, more gain isn’t always the solution to a great distortion pedal.

You need a good foundation. Otherwise the whole thing falls apart. James went with something he already knew worked. His own pedal, a carefully modified TightDrive. Using the TightDrive as a foundation, he added additional gain stages in the front end until he reached those harmonics and that saturation that he was looking for. The result was a rich distortion that reacts well to harmonics that hasn’t lost its punch.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough for Mr. Brown.

At Summer NAMM 2013, Amptweaker unveiled the TightMetal Pro. A two-button version of its predecessor, the TightMetal Pro gives players more control over their tone along with a ton of new features. “While developing the TightMetal Pro, we not only used suggestions that had been flooding in since the introduction of the first TightMetal, but also contacted people who DIDN’T like the original.  That’s where things like the Fat switches and Smooth Edge switches came from, and when combined with the 3 band EQ, this allows the pedal to reach more players with it’s ability to get a lot more of the various metal tones.”  If nothing else, the TightMetal Pro has more features than many 100-Watt amps.

Three FX loops.

Yes.

I said FX loops.

And there are three of them.

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The first, Amptweaker’s exclusive SideTrak loop, is only engaged when the pedal is off. And, turns off when the pedal is on. A unique feature lets players patch 0cca9007-2b91-497a-acc9-5ed21a5cb988their clean effects in so they automatically shut off when the TMPro is turned on. The second. It’s called the universal loop. It’s always active when the pedal is on. The Third is a boost loop. Put whatever effect you want in the boost loop, and that effect will only come on when the boost is engaged.

The TMPro has two boosts, a Volume Boost and a Gain Boost. There are also two dipswitches that add a Mid or Fat bump on top of each of the boosts. Then, there are a couple more toggle switches on the front, giving you a choice between thrash and smooth gain structures. Three band EQ. Plus, there’s a noise gate. With other pedals like this most guys will reach for the volume knob or buy a noise gate because they’re noisy as hell, the TightMetal Pro has one built in. And, that’s just what’s on top. There’s more when you look under the skirt.

The TightMetal Pro runs on 9 to 18 volts, via a supply or one or two 9V batteries. The variable voltage sounds like going from a 50W to a 100W amp. The battery compartment is held on by magnets for easy access, which is another James Brown trademark. Once you pull the battery tray out, though, you’ll find more dipswitches. The first is to choose between 9 or 18 volt when using batteries. Next are two trimpots to adjust noise gate. The thirds is a switch that chooses either pre gain or post gain for the universal loop. Wah pedals for example sound better before the gain, where reverb and chorus sound better after the gain stage. Depending on what you put in the universal loop, you can choose to have that run before the gain circuit or after.

Phew!

Options like these are usually reserved for amplifiers, not pedals. But Amptweaker has given players these options in the new TightMetal Pro. The result is a spectrum of different tones that you would normally need two or three pedals to get.

James Brown has made his name by working with big names like EVH, Joe Satriani, and Synyster Gates to get them the sounds that they want. Now, he’s working with players like you and me to get us the sounds that we want. Anytime that TheToneKing.com gets the chance to check out something new from James Brown, we’re going to take it.

 

Click here to enter into TheToneKing.com’s 30 Pedals in 30 Days Randall Give-Away!

Also, check out The Tone King’s Unboxing of Amptweaker’s Tight Metal Pro, Here:

And, here’s the Official Video Review of the AmpTweaker TightMetal Pro:

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aCkZXFji0I’]

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About the Author:

Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets.

His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks.

He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.