Little Big Muff by Electro Harmonix

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.

Little Big Muff by Electro Harmonics

Little Big Muff by Electro Harmonics

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.

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$995.00
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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.

Now the fun knobs, well you know what I mean! This pedal has the typical Fuzz controls – Volume, Tone, and Sustain. The control knobs are black plastic, but yet sturdy and not too small, so if you need to turn a dial with your feet you could in an emergency situation!

Ok, so I plug-in to the Vox AC4TV, and I was prepared to hear a thin starved tone but man, HOW CREAMY AND THICK WAS THE DISTORTION FUZZ TONE. I am not usually impressed easily (being in this spoilt generation of lots of choices you see) but I loved what I heard, Thick, rich creamy but yet articulate fuzz and very close to that elusive Gilmour ‘Comfortably Numb’ tone that I have been chasing. It was beautiful to hear single notes sustain on until feedback took it like a leaf in the wind. Bonnamassa styled licks on my G & L were now possible as the pedal filled out all Stratty thinness in the bridge pickup and gave them some Les Paul grunt and balls!

The tone knob was interesting. I found that it sounded best at about 11 O’clock and it seemingly added more grit and fullness, whereas going to 3 o’clock, made the tone a little too thin with that ‘can of bees’ tone we all love to hate. I set the pedal for my sweet spot and just played for an hour as I loved it.

So Myth Busted, The Little Big Muff Sounded Great on a Small Wattage Amp…

Ok, let’s test it on my Hiwatt T20 head into 2 x 12″ cab with Fane Reissues (as opposed to the Vox AC4s 10” speaker). Hmmm still pretty good, and definitely still articulate but something different going on, just a hint less creaminess and mojo, but then again it is going into two high-powered speakers that are not broken in and a little flat in EQ response (as Hiwatts are known to be ‘clean clear’ amps).

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Now most possibly, it is not pushing the 20 watts of tube power hard enough, especially at bedroom volumes that we bedroom rockers play at, but I found that once I stacked it with my MI Audio Blues Pro OD it was magic. Gilmour does this with his Butler Tube Driver, so good enough for him… So verdict, on low-wattage amps, it will saturate your amp with creamy bluesy goodness but on a bigger amp, I suspect it needs volume and more push to sound as good, but definitely one of the better pedals I have heard.

In summary though, a fantastic pedal that is a one shop (and possibly a one trick pony although a great pony!) that you can just stomp on and play with no mucking around. Just like the tumbled steel industrial casing and mini vintage Big Muff graphics on the front, this pedal means business and will express your magic coming through your fingers. I totally recommend this pedal for your bedroom (tonal) conquests!

Enclosure and Graphics…

The Big Muff box is a die-cast steel casing, with a raw looking silver finish. The graphics and font are a similar stye and color of the V3 and 6 Big Muffs. The bottom plate must be removed to change the battery which is held in place by four screws. When the circuit is on a red LED light just under the tone knob is lit up.

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The Circuit…

The schematics on this version is almost the same  as the larger V9 reissue Big Muff, with the changes coming in the form of newer micro sized “surface mounted” components instead of the older, larger through-hole components.

The Sound…

Sonically the Little Big Muff sounds very similar to the NYC reissue V9 as described above, but a bit brighter and a bit less bottom end to the sound.

So thanks for reading my Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff review, If you have any questions, or would like to share your experience with this pedal please leave your comments below.

Keep Rock’n….

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End Date: Thursday Sep-28-2017 10:37:51 PDT
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About strataminor

Born in Brisbane I am a bedroom guitar player, although having played in front of churches (tough crowd!!) for quite a few years so some understanding of band dynamics, timing, gear (private use compared to public use) and melodic structure, instrumental breaks (okay leather pants solos....) and of course amps! Besides from my love of guitar and the G.A.S that goes with it (hey email me I am always offloading gear!! lol) I love languages, and can converse in basic Japanese, and study biblical Greek. I live in Logan with my young family (so not heaps of time at the moment) and will be contributing gear reviews based on a lot of gear I have or still currently have.

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