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Boost and Overdrive

Alpha Distribution Showcases Revamped Amptweaker Range following its Takeover of James Brown's Pedal Brand

AmptweakerBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveTimmy+-
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As reported on this site a couple of times already - James Brown, celebrated 5150 amp engineer and circuit designer extraordinaire, sold his Amptweaker brand to Alpha Distribution earlier this year after he accepted a new post at Fender’s EVH Gear Division, Amp Department specifically.


Amptweaker has been best known for its high gain pedals - in particular the FatMetal and TightMetal series - but also the TightDrive and TightRock / BigRock Overdrives. The range had sprawled into quite a large assortment of various effects - and with most being made available in three different degrees / sizes of execution. The Standard Edition mid-size BB enclosure boxes, the Jr Compact Editions and the imposing large-format Pro Editions with no less than 3 x FX loops available.


It makes total sense that a range revamp should result in a re-focusing towards the key flagship pedals - which are now colour-coordinated by way of their metallic control knobs. With Tight / BigRock in Gold, TightMetal in Scarlet Red, TightDrive in Black, and FatMetal in Silver.


Gone are the former quite distinct and iconic slanted 2-step custom enclosures with knob-protection bar on top of the pedals - and instead we have fairly vanilla standard flat rectangular enclosures with very consistent artwork and the main visual differentiator simply being those cool looking colour-coordinated metallic knobs.


The Jr versions have 6 controls as before - 3 regular knobs, 1 mini knob, and 2 slider-switches. While the larger Pro editions have 15 controls - 10 regular knobs, 2 mini knobs and 3 slider-switches. I have detailed each of those controls in my above visual - along with the 3 x FX-Loops - SideTrack, Global and Boost for the Pro Series editions. On the Pro Series you can see two states / LEDs next to the Engage/Bypass footswitch - this is because in Bypass mode, the Pro pedals send signal to the SideTrack Loop.


The circuits supposedly remain exactly the same on the inside - to all intents and purposes, while I would venture they feature a fair few more SMT parts than before. There are no new demos of these yet - so I will instead lead on those classic discontinued predecessors which most appeal to me - or roughly in that order. Generally I’m more at home with the Jr Editions here and have stated on this site before that I have had the TightMetal and TightRock pedals on my wishlist for a while. Of the bigger boxes the only one I would ever be likely to acquire, and that would seem more remote now since my acquisition of the Toneczar Openhaus EQ - is the TightMetal Pro II - which I have also shared admiration for on this site on a number of occasions.


I feel the new pedals look pretty slick still - while they’re not quite as stand-out or iconic as their predecessors’ custom enclosures. I also question the use of the same dominant ’skull in a plectrum’ graphic motif on each pedal - but that’s probably just a personal / subjective thing.


In summary I feel that this is a very decent exercise all-round and is very much the right sort of thing to do to ensure the longer-term viability and success of this brand. Obviously these are hot off the press right now so not quite into distribution yet - while I was alerted to their presence by Prymaxe - where pre-orders are currently being taken.


Prices seem to have been held to the exact same levels as before - i.e. $189 for Jr and $299 for Pro variants. And if you’re looking for modern saturated tones, then this brand is still well worth a look-in. As mentioned, I have had a number of these on my wishlist before - in particular the TightMetal Jr - that for sure will be added to the collection some day fairly soon!

Classic Discontinued Models

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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