Enclosed in a solid tumbled steel casing, with a designed look of industrial toughness, the Little Big Muff by Electro Harmonix matches it’s tone with no nonsense looks and a ruggedness that is actually quite striking.
First hitting guitar shops from 2006, this was part of the new XO line of smaller sized effects that were gaining popularity at the time.
This pedal is smaller than the full sized V9 Big Muff, the circuit is different, and the sound does vary. The industrial grey of the steel is contrasted by three black knobs, the logo in red and some black design.
The box itself is very sturdy and somehow you know you are dealing with a company who not only has a great reputation but has street cred.
The pedal itself is a Fuzz, for those of you who are new to this endless pit of guitar product lust! I will go further to say one of the original Fuzz pedals, with its big brother, “The Big Muff” first coming out in the 1960s with such rock n’ roll royalty as Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour and Carlos Santana using them, they took off.
Over the next 40 years they went through several evolutions, right through to the variation we have today, the ‘Little Big Muff‘. So having dealt with aesthetics (which I think many guitarists secretly take into account) and the history….
…Lets Now Deal with Tone.
I had been advised by well knowing websites and forums (therefore do the opposite!!) that the Muff pedals like a big wattage amp that is cranked to smooth out it’s famously raspy tones. Greats such as David Gilmour have made one sound great due to these factors apparently.
Well despite that, I bought one and have now run it through several amps, The VOX AC4TV (4watt tube amp) and a Hiwatt T20 head through a 2 x 12 Fane Reissues cab (another great amp). I used my G & L Legacy Strat (an excellent ‘budget’ guitar that rivals some MIA Strats I have played). Of course results varied, but the reason these 2 amps are mentioned is that are both affordable, fairly common fare and show different wattages.
First the pedal is a true bypass and it runs off of either a 9V battery or an industry standard 9V AC adapter which is on the front thankfully. For the first time, the AC polarity of a Big Muff was changed to standard polarity. All of the older made in the USA were reverse polarity, which meant you could run this pedal using a standard AC adapter to power it as opposed to Rat pedals which require a special adapter.