Submitted October 14, 2010 by Jon
"Leave it to EHX to create an amazing Big Muff for bassists."
zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I own effects pedals that I'm not always sure what to do with, and some pedals whose application is somewhat limited. This is not one of those pedals. It's versatile, it sounds great, and I got it for a great price. I would recommend this to Big Muff fans, bassists looking to get their first fuzz pedal, and anybody frustrated with losing presence at shows or practice whenever their fuzz/distortion is on.
You may try this pedal out in a store or at a friend's, and it may strike you as a little less woolly than other Big Muff pedals. However, where it really shines is in group performance. My usual frustration as a fuzz-lovin' bassist is that so many of my favorite-sounding pedals just aren't present once other people start playing. This is a notorious issue with Big Muffs especially. However, thanks to the bass-friendly voicing and the awesome Dry blend setting, this fits in great with my five-piece rock band. I've also used it in the studio a couple times, and its tight control has made it my fuzz/distortion stompbox of choice over a vintage Rat. Electro-Harmonix outdid themselves with this one.
The big attraction is the three separate EQ settings - Bass Boost, Normal, and Dry. Normal is what you might be most familiar with - standard Big Muff tone, voiced especially for bass guitar. It's nice, but I have to say the real attractions here are the other two settings. Dry blends the muff with an unaffected bass tone, and does a great job of keeping the signal present even in wild playing conditions. Bass Boost does pretty much what it says - I recommend turning the tone knob toward the treble side if you're going to use it, but it's a great choice for especially freaked-out tones. The EQ settings make it a great multi-purpose fuzz, whether you're looking for something a little rough around the edges or something wilder. Beyond that, it's got a dry out signal, which I don't have enough pedals to justify the use of, but if you prefer to do your signal blending the old Chris Squire way (sending a dry signal to one amp and a distorted signal to another), it's nice to have.
Ease of Use
Any effects pedal is going to have a learning curve. However, the Bass Big Muff is pretty startlingly easy to grab a good tone from. With three viable EQ options and the bass voicing, you'll probably find a workable sound in seconds rather than minutes.
It's got the classic EHX build - the die-cast chassis that feels like it could survive things I couldn't. I'll freely admit to abusing my pedals a little bit. I've got a compressor pedal with the -5dB switch missing, and an 80's distortion pedal that has started offering a disconcerting hum. This is one of my newest pedals, so maybe things will change, but right now it's performing admirably without even a scuff from a couple months getting thrown into a van and onto a stage.
Unquestionably one of the best values I've ever got from a pedal. There are more versatile and more powerful Big Muff clones out there, but they can run you $200 and up. At under $100, this is a CRAZY deal, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Bass Big Muff to fellow bassists as an introductory fuzz pedal.
I've never dealt with EHX's support team, so I can't speak to this. I have spoken to a couple people there on other occasions, though, and they seem like pretty awesome folks. It seems like Mike Matthews and company tend to focus as much on how gear helps the creative process as what sort of sonic options their pedals give, and I really appreciate that outlook. I'm not a native gearhead, so that attitude really appeals to me.
The Wow Factor
If I didn't have this pedal, I'd still be pining over it. The kelly green paint job looks awesome. It's not as iconic as the old Big Muff Pi, but with how well this pedal performs, I could see that changing over time. When I was looking into getting a fuzz pedal, I was considering this one as well as a couple of others (most notably the ZVex Woolly Mammoth.) The deciding factor for me was seeing that John Paul Jones has been using one of these with Them Crooked Vultures. Hearing that tone on record was enough to sell me on this pedal.
19 of 20 people (95%) people found this review helpful. Did you?
Thanks for your opinion!