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Gear Review: Tech 21 Bass Boost Fuzz Pedal

Tech 21 Bass Boost Fuzz PedalTech 21 has a long history with bassists, and that history is growing even larger with the inclusion of bass-friendly versions of the Boost Series pedals.

Offering an extra 21 dB of clean boost at your disposal, the line is characterized by analog circuitry that takes classic tones and attempts to improve them. The Bass Boost Fuzz takes aim at the “fat, gritty sounds of ‘60s fuzz” while being voiced more appropriately for our beloved instrument.

The Bass Boost Fuzz’s build is superb, and Tech 21 bumped things up with buffered bypass and silent switching custom actuators. These make the pedal extremely quiet when switching the effects on and off. No pops, no clicks – just your signal.

The controls are laid out clearly and they set the Boost away from the fuzz controls. Across the top, the pedal offers Level, Tone, Drive, and +Clean controls. Level, as you might expect, adjusts the unit’s output. The Tone knob controls a low pass filter that shifts its high cut from 10kH to 1kH so as not to scoop out your mid frequencies. Drive adjusts the overall amount of fuzz, and the +Clean knob blends in your direct signal. Settled in the center, the Boost knob gets its own separate footswitch and red LED for an easy visual of whether or not it’s engaged.

Adept with both active and passive basses, the pedal’s fuzz sounds only require a little bit of tweaking to get a pleasing tone. Playing with the Tone and Drive knobs in tandem brought out a host of sounds, but the pedal can best be described as thick and gritty. I generally liked to keep the Tone rolled off at about 11 o’clock with the Drive at 2 or 3 o’clock. To me, the best sounds were well suited to heavier styles like doom and sludge rock. The +Clean knob was excellent in blending in the original signal, providing a natural sounding mix to the overall output.

It may be easy to think of the pedal as a fuzz with a boost, but that doesn’t do the boost any justice. The Boost itself is a powerful tool and is clean as a whistle, adding no extra coloring to your signal. Since it operates independently of the fuzz, it adds value to any bassist’s pedalboard and can give a little extra oomph on gigs that don’t require dirty tone. It is really two pedals in one, and that adds more bang for your buck.

The Tech 21 Bass Boost Fuzz pedal is hand-built in the U.S. and carries a street price of $149.