The Big Muff is a distortion pedal near and dear to the hearts of many guitarists around the world. It is credited with some of the most iconic signature guitar tones in history, from David Gilmour to Billy Corgan and has inspired countless clones and variations by other manufacturers.
The Big Muff first came to be in 1969 to fulfil Electro founder, Mike Matthews’ vision of a three-knob distortion pedal with substantial sustain. In collaboration with Bell Labs designer Bob Myers, an innovative circuit was conceived and the Big Muff was born, introducing a game- new sound. After Jimi Hendrix adopted one of the earliest units, it quickly became one of the most popular guitar effects of the 1970s and began to shape the sounds of many players. Over the many decades of production, several versions of the Big Muff have been produced, all offering a slight variation on a similar sound.
Often categorised as a fuzz pedal, the Big Muff employs a much more complex circuit than a traditional fuzz and exhibits sonic characteristics that sit somewhere between fuzz and a typical distortion pedal. Where a fuzz effects generally raw and somewhat untamed, the Big Muff is greatly compressed and has an even, violin-like sustain and even at its most conservative settings, is heavily saturated. Its sound is characterised by a robust, open bottom end and scooped midrange, with a malleable top end via the single Tone control. On rhythm guitars, it has a thick ‘wall of sound’ quality that is right at home on 90s-style alternative rock tracks. On lead guitars it sustains like no other pedal, making it perfect for slower, expressive playing. Perhaps one of the best tricks up the Big Muff’s sleeve though is how well it works on bass guitar, particularly the Russian-made versions due to their midrange growl. One of the best bass distortions available, it maintains all the low end energy and creates a controlled, even sound without harshness.
Controls 1 x Knob: Volume
1 x Knob: Tone
1 x Knob: Sustain
1 x Footswitch
Connectors 1/4" phone jack, audio input
1/4" phone jack, audio output
2.1 mm DC power jack, power input
Power Requirements 9 VDC, 100 mA current draw
Dimensions 6.75 x 5.5 x 2.0" (17.14 x 13.97 x 5.08 cm)
Weight 1.53 lb (0.69 kg)
The Gear Rack