Thursday, May 20, 2010

History of the Big Muff

Interesting how tastes change.

I used to hate distortion pedals. Had a RAT in the 80's from Walker (hated it). Got a Metal Zone (hated it). Got a BOSS turbo distortion (hated it). Then I quit and went straight to the amp. For the next decade I had to have a channel switching amp. The Marshall JCM 900 was my amp of choice (it would take me 12 years to buy my own). I got what I could afford which was a Marshall Valvestate combo (which I still kinda own though I left it in Eddie Joe's house in NY).

But last year I fell in love with the Vox AC30. It was quirky, traditional but unique and had classic tremolo. But it didn't have a distortion channel. I had to go back to a pedal.

I thought about what I wanted. I didn't want a pedal that would pretend to be an amp. So overdrives, including the classic Tube Screamer, were out. I hated what I had so I wasn't going back to the wide range of pedals I already owned.

Then I thought about the distortion sounds I liked. Monster Magnet. Black Sabbath. Nirvana. Smashing Pumpkins. Weezer. The solo in "Who's That Lady?" The melody line in "Never Met a Girl Like You Before".None of those guys got their drive solely form the amp. They all used fuzz. And most used a Big Muff.

I got one last year before my birthday and it worked well. Except it was so bassy it lost presence in the mix of a band (like most equipment, it sounds completely different when other instruments are playing). But Electro Harmonix solved that for me with the newest version with a "tone wicker". It gave me the option of knocking the tone control out of and keeping me in the mix no matter how many guitars were next to me (and in Walker's band, I never knew). To make a long story short, I love it. And I wnat to know more about it.

Here's a whole history of the Big Muff posted interestingly enough, on a David Gilmour site. Cause if there's one thing that can thicken a strat's tone, it's a Big Muff.

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