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Rats, Swollen Pickles, Mastotrons, Muffs and such

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Cornelius Dawse, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Ok, I'll briefly explain my situation: My dirt pedals are a Bad Monkey, a Way Huge Green Rhino and a Bass Big Muff. Sure, for the beginner that I am, it did the job. But I want to improve.
    After a lot of research (by that, I mean I spent all my free time for the past year reading about it), I thought a few weeks ago that by adding a Black Russian Big Muff to my board, along with a ProCo Rat, I would be happy for 3 reasons:
    -My favourite band is Muse (Not intending to duplicate Wolstenholme's sound, he's just a big inspiration)
    -Sonic Youth, Nirvana and such are along my favourite bands
    -Those are 3 freaking hyped pedals that would fit perfectly, regarding the top jacks.
    But then, my thoughts have grown bigger: Perhaps a Swollen Pickle would be better? What bothers me with the Blakc Russian is the lack of 9v adaptor and the fact that I would probably have to blend it. I HATE BLENDING. So a Swollen Pickle could be nice: It's Muff-based, no blend needed, and would fit well beside my Green Rhino.
    But now, there's this thing: It has A LOT OF KNOBS. Internal pots, also. It irritates me to have to fiddle around with a pedal to get a good sound, I'm a lot into ''plug and play'', and I love simple things. That's what took me away from it a little.
    Then, I encountered the Zvex Mastotron. I imediately fell in love with it. I loved every single tones I heard of it! I know it's nothing like a Big Muff, but I almost like it's tone better!
    Now, here's what I don't like about it: its shape. I didn't know how bad of an issue OCD was until I started checking out pedals. The Mastotron has its own shape that completely destroys what I wanted initially my pedalboard to look like (top jacks, all aligned, even the colors would fit well). I thought perhaps getting a Distortron instead of a Turbo Rat, to go with the Mastotron, would solve the superficial problem? Would it be worth it?
    Help us, Talkbass, You Are Our Only Hope!

    (P.S. I don't want to buy boutique...)
  2. Durden26

    Durden26 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    H-town, Texas
    Oh boy, this is some serious troll fodder here. (grabs popcorn)
  3. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    The muff has 2 ways to adapt a one spot.
    The Muff does not need blended.
    The Mastotron is a gated fuzz that plays well with active basses. It is essentailly a woolly mammoth with a sub switch and push/relax knob.
    The Swollen Pickle is a Muff, with lots of adjustments, and is very deep and dark if left alone. Best choice out of all of them, but also the worst for a beginner.
    Top jacks vs side jacks is a superficial BS personal argument you need to get over. Not everything is going to be the same, unless you go with one company, and then, you are ruining your chances.

    Get the best pedal you can for the sound you want, buy the appropriate power supply and buy cables to route it. Get over the OCD of cable mess and where your jacks are and learn the pedals and play the bass.
  4. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    Could you get it rehoused?
  5. I have no idea about the rehousing, but Kaput totally convinced me on not giving a damn about the look! Also, it's very interesting to hear that the black Muff works well without blending! (And I figured I could just work with batteries, I mean, for just the Black Muff, I can make this sacrifice!). However, I'm pretty curious regarding how it sounds by itself, I only recall hearing it blended... Does anyone have clips?
    (Also, whatever I choose, I know it will cost me around 300$, so I don't mind!)
  6. bcplemons


    Oct 23, 2008
    Keller, TX
    Hit up all the local shops that have pedals and try them all out. Borrow from friends. Try as much as you can and keep in mind that they'll sound different in a mix than they do when playing by yourself.

    When you decide to buy, go with your gut, and realize you're diving into a never ending pit of experimentation. The first pedal you buy will almost certainly but be your last. Welcome to the club.
  7. Oh, I already am a pedal freak, although my student budget have me to restrain myself to a Digitech Bad Monkey, a Green Rhino, a Bass Big Muff, a FAB chorus (this one shall be a keeper), a Peavey DDL delay, I also have B***inger Bass Synth and a Zoom B1 laying around! I just want to have better pedals, or pedals that fits more to what I like, especially the Bass Big Muff, which, let's be honest, is not very good.
    The more it goes, the more I think it could be the Black Russian Big Muff and the Turbo Rat, both because they are recurent on the boards of my favourites, and on those who have the tones I like the most.
    But the Black Big Muff is sooooooooooooo hard to find, I can only use eBay, and I don't buy anything online, usually.
  8. Lebowsky

    Lebowsky Effects Forum Resident Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2007
    Lausanne, Switzerland
    I used to have a swollen pickle, sold because of the internal trimpots. Unusuable... A Pickle Pie B replaced it, it has a blend, but you can always turn it off... anyway, it's the swollen pickle but better and easier to use, IMHO.

    as for the rat, why not consider a fuzzrocious rat tail?
  9. Well... There is two reasons I don't wanna go into boutique:
    1st: I want the real thing.
    2nd: I am not equipped very much for online purchases.

    I definitely would not go with a clone for the Turbo Rat, I love the thing too goddamn much... But I have to say those Grey Staches looks very interesting. But once again, I would be happier, down there in the bottom of my heart, with the ''real thing''.
    Plus, I kinda like the sound of the Black muffs better than the tone of the green muffs, despite the better bass response.
  10. best advice ever.
  11. It is! Haha! Kaput's post convinced me of a lot of things, and made the internal debate much easier!

    I'd like to know: How hard is it to find a Black Russian Big Muff? I found 2 or 3 on eBay, but appart from that?
  12. lsabina


    Sep 3, 2008
    Not sure about this. I buy nothing but "boutique." You can usually call up these makers directly and talk about mods that would suit your needs, often with no extra charge. Also, I've paid with personal check many times, sent to the maker directly (while omitting the middle man, i.e., a dealer).
  13. I saw somebody selling one in the classifieds the other day. They aren't terribly uncommon. I think they go quick though.
  14. There's this huge detail, also: I am Canadian, thus I don't think I could pay by check, nor do I know how I could pay at all, actually. That's mostly it, I believe.
    Although I know you can pay with Canadian dollars on eBay, even if the product is in America, you'll just pay the equivalent, I think.
  15. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    It's called Paypal.

  16. Titania


    Aug 17, 2012
    Shirley, MA
    I'd suggest giving the Deucetone Rat a try. It's big, but it's got the Turbo Rat, Vintage Rat, Dirty Rat and Clean Rat all available to you on two separate channels to mix and match to your your hearts' content. I have one...it's awesome. I especially love the Clean Rat, which isn't available anywhere but on the Deucetone. Amazon carries the Deucetone, btw.

    I'd also suggest giving the Deluxe Big Bass Muff Pi a try. I like mine, especially when played in serial with an B:Assmaster Germanium.
  17. sam adams

    sam adams

    May 21, 2009
    I loved my Swollen Pickle for guitar but couldn't stand it on bass. Ended up selling it to my band mate and then I bought a Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh. Probably one of the most versatile Muff variants and sounds amazing for bass.

    My favorite all around OD for bass(and guitar) is the Fulltone OCD. It's hard to make that thing sound bad.

    The real thing is not always the best thing. Though "best" is always subjective, the Fuzzrocious Rat Tail is one of the more hyped Rat variations for bass. I think for good reason. They were redesigned/modded with bass in mind. They sound amazing. Not that current production Rats are bad or anything. If you know you like the Turbo Rat, or any of your pedals for that matter, don't fix things that aren't broke.

    A lot of pedals are just someone else's take at another pedal. Your Green Rhino and Bad Monkey for example, both in the Tube Screamer family. So they are "not the real thing." But I would take a Green Rhino over a a TS808 any day.
  18. Get yourself a Swollen Pickle and get back to rocking the eff out. Oh, and we Canadians write cheques, not checks!:smug:
  19. On the topic of real Rat vs Rat Tail, I own both and find the Rat Tail is capable of everything the Pro Co Rat does and more. As you see from the picture too the Rat Tail is smaller and saves a bit of space.
    I will say that if you decide to get a Pro Co Rat over the Rat Tail, make sure its one with the LM308 op amp in it. I also have a Rat 2 somewhere around my place without the LM308 and it sounds bad in my opinion.

    Attached Files:

  20. +1 to cheques! :D

    Also, when you buy on eBay, you pay in Canadian dollars if the person will accept that, say in the form of a cheque! ;) But if it is a US seller or something, you'll need to get the payment into a USD format one way or another, be it Paypal (easiest way to do it) or credit card, even money order. About the only way you'll get to just stick to Canadian dollars is by buying in Canada, from Canadian stores, which is great and all, but then you are shutting yourself out from so many amazing pedals and sellers.

    FWIW, my recommendations would be to buy only from TB classifieds - so many great deals coming from great sellers, and you are helping other bass players out - and also to buy only boutique. The boutique guys really know what they are doing, their products are often the best tuned for bass and/or will get you incredible and unique sounds that the generic options won't. Overall its a higher quality product (usually), and typically customer service can't be beat.

    Good luck!