Big Muff first came
out in the early 1970s and was used by numerous guitarists
including Carlos Santana, David Gilmour, and Jimi
Hendrix. Gilmour used the Big Muff on the Pink Floyd albums Animals (1977)
The Wall (1979). He more recently used it in 2006
on his 'David Gilmour On An Island' tour. Mike Matthews,
the Big Muff creator, has claimed that Jimi Hendrix used
a Big Muff in some sessions prior to his death. Reportedly,
Hendrix was impressed enough to want to use it on his next
album. The very first Big Muff was manufactured in 1970,
so it's possible that Jimi may have recorded with one before
he died in September of that year. Matthews has often stated
that Hendrix's guitar sound was an integral part in the inspiration
for the creation of the Big Muff.
Of the Electro-Harmonix line of pedals, the Big Muff Pi
was their first overwhelming success. It was inexpensive,
reliable and had a distinctive sound.
It's well known for its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain.
It sold consistently
through the 1970s and was in many guitarists' pedal collections.
Though Electro-Harmonix was forced out of business in 1982,
the fuzz pedal remained in high demand and clones of the
Big Muff were made by others. There was a demand for "vintage
Big Muffs". The Big Muff was one of the first pedals
that Mike Matthews reintroduced to the market in the 1990s
when he restarted Electro-Harmonix.
Many alternative rock bands through the 1980s on have used
the Big Muff including Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur
Jr., Sonic Youth, White Stripes,
and Mudhoney (who liked
the fuzz pedal so much they named an EP after it, Superfuzz
Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Review
The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi sports 3
rotary knobs: Volume Control to adjust the output level;
Sustain Control to optimize the long sustain with just the
right amount of harmonic distortion; and Tone Control to
go from warm bass to crisp treble.
Housed in a shiny metal case, this pedal
is built sturdy and it'll stand up to some use and abuse.
And speaking of the case, it's on the large size, so it
may not fit neatly next to your other pedals. Something to
keep in mind.
Soundwise, this pedal may not be the most versatile, but
it does what it does very well. It achieves that classic
fuzz sound. If you do a variety or rock, you may also want
to have another overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedal (or two)
in your bag of tricks. You can never have too many pedals
The Big Muff is a great, classic pedal - thick, coloring,
nostalgic, and NOT subtle. Maybe a little noisy, but that's
rock 'n' roll. It's awesome sustain makes it great for solos.
Some describe it as violin-like. There's a reason this fuzz
pedal has been around, for the most part, for the last 40
years. Not to mention,
many current guitar effect manufacturers produce clones
of the Big Muff Pi. That should tell you something!