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Big Muff and others

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by r05c03, Apr 19, 2006.


  1. r05c03

    r05c03

    Jul 21, 2005
    Lafayette, IN
    It seems like there are many Bg Muff users here. Is this pedal favored because it does not drop the bottom end? What is the difference between something like the Big Muff and an Overdrive? How much can one trim down the Fuzz of the Muff so to speak?
     
  2. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    (Edited for minor errors)

    Your typical Big Muff sports a Sustain dial, a Tone dial, and a Volume dial, along with the usual bypass switch.

    One Tone control your bass seems like it's not a great thing, but you'd be surprised - it's rather flexible with a great range. It will sound like an old car radio if you turn it all the way up, with no way to compensate for the bottom end loss unless you have an EQ pedal or the like. However, I think many will agree that the lower range of the tone control on any Big Muff is very bass friendly, and retains bottom end well. Most bassists won't have much of a need to venture into the high-treble regions of tone anyway... :smug:

    The Big Muff is definitely a fuzz pedal, as it's considerably different in sound from an overdrive pedal. It's more distorted (obviously :D), but warm, and "slightly" muffled depending on your settings (origin of the name?). You really need to demo one to get an idea of how it sounds. Or, just listen to old Metallica songs from the Cliff Burton days. "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" come to mind, although the Muff Burton used on his solos was combined with a Morley Power Wah Boost.

    The Sustain control on the Muff controls distortion and sustain simultaneously. Crank it up, and both will rise accordingly. At minimum, it's a bit like overdrive.

    Again, demo it first, as I would definitely not compare a Big Muff to an overdrive pedal - two completely different monsters.

    Oh yeah, and there are three different kinds of Big Muffs on the market now:

    NYC Big Muff Pi - big pedal, shiny silver casing. I used to own one, and I liked it, but I didn't fully grasp its greatness at the time because of my old practice amp's limits. It can be a b**** to power because it uses an odd adapter plug (companies like 1spot make the adapter plugs for these pedals to add on to daisy chains and the like), but it does well on a 9V battery.

    Russian Big Muff Pi - Black casing, usually a bit cheaper than the NYC version. Same controls, about the same size, but overall sound is reportedly harsher? I haven't tried one myself. Again, a pain to power by A/C for the same reasons as the NYC Muff.

    Little Big Muff - Scaled-down version of the Big Muff Pi. This is the one I own now. Slightly wider than your typical Boss pedal, runs on ordinary 9v Boss-style adapters and 9v batteries. Tonewise, I love it! Reminds me of the NYC version, but it's reportedly a blend of the Russian and NYC versions. I need to test a Russian Muff to confirm this.

    You can find online sound samples for the NYC and Russian at www.musiciansfriend.com, www.zzounds.com, and other bigger online stores. For the Little Big Muff, you'll probably need to find a real one to test, as I haven't seen online demos yet.

    Maybe I should record some? I've been meaning to record some Little Big Muff and M-80 samples...
     
  3. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    It's good to hear you like your little big muff. I've got one heading over from MF that should arrive tomorrow.
    I'd love to hear some soundclips. Thanks.
     
  4. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I tried to convince myself to write this 15 page paper instead of coming to Talkbass, but then I saw Muff and had to reply.

    First of all, the Muff is favored for it's totally unique tone. Not much bottom end is lost (from my findings -- others say they lost some -- I've made small mods to fix this)

    Secondly, the Big Muff is a Fuzz, which is different than an overdrive. I've explained the difference in the FAQ at the top of this forum, however, in a nutshell, it's the amount of clipping caused by the circuit. The Muff fuzz circuit chops off the tops of the sine wave to resemble more of a square wave. This is fuzz.

    And thirdly, you can calm a Muff to be a fairly subtle effect, however if that's what you're looking for, more than likely this isn't the box for you. Maybe you should be checking out a DOD Overdrive/Preamp 250. They do wonderful subtle fuzz.

    And lastly, leaving my mark: GO OUT AND TRY ONE! There's plenty of pedals out there, many for bass, and some that aren't labeled as such but sound great with Bass anyway! There are variations of it, I've found the Russian to be hit or miss, but rather raunchy and sounds great on bass. I find the American reissue to be smoother and also sound great on bass. Unfortunately I haven't been able to try the new Little Big Muff (which by the way isn't a reissue, it's a completely different circuit than the original LBM, just a recycled name)

    Anything else?
     
  5. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    dan miller has recently added soundclips on www.ehx.com for the little big muff.
    it's slide guitar stuff.... but it might be helpful.
     
  6. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I use a Russian Muff for all of the reasons above.

    It's not the razor's edge distortion, and it's not just an overdrive. It gives a thickness to my sound that I totally love on some of the songs I play.

    I've had no loss of bottom end, as I keep the tone knob all the way to minimum.
     
  7. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    Thank you! The proper term had slipped my mind..."distortion" doesn't really quite cut it.


    I just edited my original post...bad word choice on my part. I just remembered that photo you showed me. :D

    Thanks for the additions!
     
  8. r05c03

    r05c03

    Jul 21, 2005
    Lafayette, IN
    Hey, thanks for the input(s). Ty...get work! I will have to try a muff. Even if I use tamed. I do not think there are any places locally though, that carry it. Road trip.
     
  9. Mr. Pickle

    Mr. Pickle

    Aug 20, 2005
    so, in a nutshell, would you go w/ the russian or nyc for bass?
     
  10. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    Ankh-Morpork

    Part of its' being favored is that it's not too expensive, widely available, sounds pretty good when used with a bit of skill and grace, and it's been around a while so that people know what they're getting.

    It's a good pedal. I own one and use it a lot.
     
  11. Mr. Pickle

    Mr. Pickle

    Aug 20, 2005
    also, do both the russian and the nyc have a true bypass?
     
  12. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I find it's about 50/50, a lot swear by the Sovteks, a lot swear by the USA Reissues. I prefer the latter.
     
  13. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've heard rumors about modern Sovteks being true bypass, but I haven't seen one first hand or photos to verify. The NYC RI's are true bypass.
     
  14. Mr. Pickle

    Mr. Pickle

    Aug 20, 2005
    what do u mean by i prefer the 'latter'?
     
  15. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I prefer the last one I mentioned, therefore the USA Reissue.
     
  16. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    The Russian RI is true Bypass... Gotta love the DP3T switch
     
  17. Mr. Pickle

    Mr. Pickle

    Aug 20, 2005
    god... i'm so torn between the two.


    p.s.

    i dont mean to hijack this thread
     
  18. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    There are many versions of the Big Muff to choose from.

    Many say that none can touch the original triangle knob version of the early 70's. I couldn't say, as it is a rare and expensive pedal (last one I saw went for $800.00).

    The next version, some hold above all others except the first. It has the knobs laid out in a straight line with the logo in the lower left corner. Again, expnsive at $300.

    After that until the USA re-issue I don't think there is much of a difference between the USA models is sound.

    The newer USA version (in the last 2 years or so) are being made with true bypass though. The can be had for arounf $70.00 new.

    The Russian models, which I am fond of (except for the newr black casing one), have a great sound. It is very agressive, and less muddy when the tone knob is turned counter clock wise. The down side is no true bypass, no 9v jack and the input and output plugs are plastic.

    Best bang for the buck is the USA reissue w/true bypass but for AN AVERGAE $125.00 the V5 green Russian muffs are a good investment for the tone, especially if you get a "working" one to mod (had for as little as $65.00) with true bypass and a re-house.
     
  19. Mr. Pickle

    Mr. Pickle

    Aug 20, 2005
    is there any direct, quick way of knowing if it has a true bypass? also, what russians have true bypass?
     
  20. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    If it's new, it's true bypass.

    Just by looking at it? there's no way to tell without opening it up.
     

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