Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
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Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI

Big Muff PI, Fuzz pedal from Electro-Harmonix in the Big Muff series.

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All user reviews for the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI

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Average Score:4.4( 4.4/5 based on 61 reviews )
 38 reviews62 %
 14 reviews23 %
 7 reviews11 %
 1 user review2 %
Value For Money : Excellent
Buy at Sweetwater
Fireguy840212/23/2011

Fireguy8402's review"Sounds..... Muffy!"

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
The Big Muff Pi is a fuzz effect from Electro-Harmonix. It’s one and a half pounds of fuzz in a box measuring 2.95" x 6.875" x 5.5". It has three basic controls: Volume (for overall volume) Tone (for EQ adjustments) and Sustain (which in this case is a gain or fuzz control) and one big bypass switch in the middle. The pedal can be powered by a 9 volt battery or by a 9 volt power supply.

UTILIZATION

Electro-Harmonix doesn’t give you much to work with on this one. Basically you just set your volume and amount of fuzz and you can tweak a little bit on the tone and you’re set. The pedal is built well in an all metal housing with a sturdy switch, but it seems a little large for such a basic effect. I haven’t ripped this one apart yet, but I’m sure they could cut back on some of the housing and save you some pedal board room, but I think that’s why they came out with the Nano line of effects. I never run my pedals off batteries (though a dying 9 volt can sound wicked in a fuzz), so in order to use with a One Spot or similar power supply you will need an adapter, as this pedal does not have your usual “Boss” style barrel plug. Not a deal breaker, but a slight pain if unexpected.

SOUND QUALITY

This pedal is pretty much a one trick pony, but nothing sounds like it. You can always tell when someone is playing a Big Muff, because it just has that tone that is nasty, fuzzy, and.. well Muffy. This is the USA NYC version and I hear the Russian model has a slight variation in tone, but I have no experience there to suggest an opinion between the two. The Sustain knob has plenty of harmonic distortion on hand, but I wouldn’t call it an over the top fuzz. Though I have heard some fuzz pedals that could peel the paint off the walls (this can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the circumstances), this pedal stays fairly smooth and musical through all its settings. I would call it dirty for sure, but not exactly raunchy. There is plenty of low end available and classic fuzz tones are easily coughed up.

OVERALL OPINION

Overall this pedal does what it does and that’s about it. It’s a fuzz pedal and it’s gets that classic Muff sound. They always say “classic sounds of Hendrix to Santana” on their ads, but I hear more Santana than Jimi for sure. It doesn’t get as raw as Jimi’s classic tone, but it’ll get you in the ball park. Overall for 80US dollars it’s a well made pedal that is capable of a few good tones. It’s nothing spectacular if you ask me, but used sparingly, unique and signature for sure.
wwhhhaatt07/20/2011

wwhhhaatt's review"Classic"

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
Analog fuzz pedal with Standard 1/4" input and output jacks
Control knobs for volume, tone, and sustain (ammount of fuzz)
True bypass stomp switch, 1/8" power input, bottom battery box.
All housed in a huge enclosure.

UTILIZATION

I think fuzz pedals should be kept simple and it does not get much more simple than the big muff. No instructions are necessary and I don't even remember there being a manual when I bought this. You just hook up your cables, put some power whether it's an adapter or battery, turn some knobs, stomp the switch and go.

SOUND QUALITY

There is a reason why this pedal has become such a classic. I have been through many fuzz boxes from run of the mill all the way through some of the most sought after boutique boxes and the classic big muff can run with all of them. Some may think the EQ is limited but there is actually a lot of range in that one tone control. From fizzy to huge it's all there. I have run this pedal with guitar, Bass, keys, and even vocals and been able to get some useable or even great sounds out of it. To this day it is still my favorite fuzz for bass. I mostly use it on guitar as that is m main instrument. The wall of sound is what I typically go for with a fuzz and it is easily achieved with this pedal. There is not much in the way of lower gain tones but I find that to be pretty common with most fuzz boxes.


OVERALL OPINION

For the money I just don't think this can be beat. I have other fuzz pedals that sound better in some situations and have a more refined sound but they cost much more than this. There are some inconsistencies with it though. I have played others that sounded quite different from mine. I wouldn't say worse but different. The huge size is also a turn off to some people. The size of the circuit could easily be crammed into a box half this size so if you're handy with a soldering iron it might be a good idea.
iamqman06/29/2011

iamqman's review"The original fuzz box!"

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
I went to Guitar Center one day looking for something to buy because I had money burning a whole in my pocket. Decided to pick the Big Muff up since I have seen so many players use or talk about this pedal. Took it home and wow!!!...This is the first time I have played a fuzz box before and very different than natural amp distortion or other OD pedals such as Boss or Ibanez. To my pleasant and utter satisfaction I was getting very cool sustain to which I had never gotten with regular OD pedals before. I was even getting a violin type sound with playing around with the Sustain knob.

The layout is as follows...

Volume,Tone, Sustain,

Volume is at is says. Tone will color your tone to dark or bright depending on how you dial it in. Sustain add the gain and violin like qualities to your tone.

What I like best about this pedal was how the sustain was very long and drawn out. Very useful in certain situations. I probably wouldn't use this as my everyday rig tone but it adds a cool and fun element to your arsenal.

UTILIZATION

Specs:

True bypass
Singing sustain with attitude
Crushing distortion
Adjustable tone
9-volt battery included
Optional 9DC-100 power supply available

Well it does not get much simpler than this. Maybe the easiest pedal to figure out. The manual was a mute point as anyone can figure out how to use this thing. It did help a little to find that violin setting which I did not know it could do until I read the manual. So that was a plus to add in the box.

SOUND QUALITY

When it comes to fuzz boxes I don't think there is anything better than the Big Muff. I have played a tone of fuzz pedals and nothing really comes close to the Big Muff. It is very warm and thick. Other pedals I have played seem to be thinner and more metallic sounding. This pedal is so simple and cheap at $80 it is not something that will necessarily break the bank.

I would use this with a Tele, Strat, and a Les Paul. Each instrument sounded very good and usable. It beefed up my Tele and just made my LP explode into sustaining saturation. I ran it in front of a Vox AC30 and a '74 Marshall JMP. The combo with the Vox was quite good and a tone that I actually miss since I don't have my Vox anymore. I have gone through a ton of pedals throughout my years and this is one that has stayed with me and I will never sell.

One downside is that I have an older one that is not true bypass which is a bummer now that the newer ones have this feature. However, I'm not going to shell out the extra $80 to get one with true bypass when I don't use it that much anymore

OVERALL OPINION

I love this pedal. Easy to use and the most classic fuzz box this world has ever known. I would say the only down side is the size of the box. It is HUGE and takes up a ton of space on your pedal board.

Another thing is the odd plug which is on the male side. It doesn't use a normal Boss or Ibanez plug so beware of that. It feels kind of hollow to which you would think it could break but I have never had a problem with mine.

At new these pedals come in at around $79, which is an excellent price for this item. I would recommend this pedal to any guitar player. It to me is a staple in rock n roll and should be owned by everyone. For the money some spend on gear this is one that will always sound the same and provide that irrefutable classic fuzz tone.
denied05/10/2011

denied's review"Overrated but affordable"

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
- Controls for volume, tone, and sustain (gain/clipping)

- Top mounted jacks

- Buffered bypass

- Large classic enclosure

- Lightweight

- Powered by 9v battery or standard Boss style adapter

UTILIZATION

This one is pretty simple and straightforward to dial in. Tone knob gives a pretty wide range of tones, its worth taking the time to tweak. The sustain knob is really just a gain/clipping control, but yes that obviously adds sustain. '

I wasn't really a fan of the construction on this one. Yes its lightweight, but the enclosure is very thin and doesn't come off as sturdy at all.

The internal build quality is not great. The wiring job is very shabby and I've totally seen these start to fall apart with use.

The bypass is a pretty mediocre buffer, love it or hate it.

SOUND QUALITY

To be honest, it doesn't sound that great, especially for the amount that this pedal is hyped up. Yes some of the old ones could produce fantastic tones, but they were also built a lot less consistently. The reissues really just aren't that great. Harsh and gritty, yes its a fuzz, but muffs are a pretty mild fuzz variation and this one fails at creamy tone.

It can do the wall of sound thing pretty well, and as mentioned, the tone knob is pretty versatile. The gain knob will take you from very mild compression to a wall of sound type deal.

OVERALL OPINION

Not the best Muff type pedal I've come across. They sound decent, nothing more, nothing less. They go for quite cheap used, so if you are on a budget, its not a bad choice. But personally I would pass. The mediocre, bland sound, coupled with the shoddy build quality and flimsy enclosure just don't do it for me at all.

If you are after a serious nice sounding muff, take a look at Stomp Under Foot. Matt makes great pedals, and has a few modeled after good sounding vintage ones.

As far as I can tell, the hype about the reissue Pi is more about image and reputation than anything else. The sound just isn't there.
darkwolf29104/01/2011

darkwolf291's review"Great sounding Fuzz/Distortion"

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
This is a Big Muff. You know what you're getting when you but it. Thick, Hairy, distortion somewhere between a Fuzz and distortion. A Volume Knob, a Tone Knob, and a Sustain knob are all this has, keeping things simple and making it easy to find a good tone. It uses a, 1/8" plug for it's 9V DC instead of the normal BOSS style, so it needs a special adapter if you want to daisy chain it with other pedals.

UTILIZATION

It is very easy to use this pedal. Set the sustain and tone where you want 'em, set the volume so it's the same bypassed as on, and you're ready to rock.

SOUND QUALITY

This is one thick and hairy pedal. It lies somewhere between a distortion and a fuzz, but is neither. Thick, mean, hairy, and aggressive are all words that can be used to describe this pedal. I find this is one of those pedals that you either like it's sound or you don't.
The input is connected to the output via a buffer. Being an Electro Harmonix pedal, it's a good buffer. There's almost no treble loss while bypassed, meaning what you hear while bypassed, is your guitar tone.

OVERALL OPINION

This is a quality pedal. Great sounding (if you like the sound of it) and decently priced. I personally don't find myself much of a Muff fan. I like a thinner, treblier and fuzzier fuzz. I am being unbiased in my rating and not rating it low because I don't like it. This is a great pedal, but I just don't like the Muff tone. This is one of these pedals that you either like it's sound, or don't. If you like the Muff sound, you will love this pedal. If not, don't get it. It's as simple as that.
badgerific03/24/2011

badgerific's review"Big tone, small price."

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
Standard stomp-box effect set up of 1/4" input, 1/4" output, 9V power supply input, 9V battery snap inside and a bypass stomp switch. Three knobs, Volume, Tone and Sustain.

UTILIZATION

Simple to set up, just stick a battery and plug your guitar to the input and the amp to the output and you're ready to go. The three knobs are pretty self explanatory and there's not a great deal of need for a manual, just playing around with the knobs until you find a sound you like is the best idea for effects pedals like this in my opinion.

SOUND QUALITY

I use this pedal with my Squier Duo-sonic and Epiphone Valve Junior amplifier and they make a great sound together. I really like the tone of all the big muff variants that I have tried although this is my least favorite of them. One problem I have with this pedal is that it can be quite noisy when in operation, but it's true bypass so when it's bypassed their is no effect on your tone.

The way that the knobs interact with each other on this pedal allow you to have quite a versatile range of tones as well as THE Big Muff wall of fuzz sound. By dropping the sustain knob to 0 and the volume knob to maximum a lightly distorted overdrive type sound can be achieved which I really like. I find this pedal to be too mid scooped for my liking to be used as a rhythm tone in a band situation but I love the sound of it as a lead boost on top of an already overdriven amplifier.

OVERALL OPINION

For the price of a used one I believe it's worth it, definitely a good first pedal to dip your toe into the world of fuzz. Although I think there are better Big Muff variants available, I much prefer the tone stack in the Sovtek built Big Muffs.

I think this model of muff is a great pedal to modify to provide more versatility and a more unique tone, even a mod as simple as bypassing the tone stack or adding a voltage sag knob can open up the sonic possibilities a vast amount.
iamqman03/16/2011

iamqman's review"Only one Fuzz in the World"

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
I went to Guitar Center one day looking for something to buy because I had money burning a whole in my pocket. Decided to pick the Big Muff up since I have seen so many players use or talk about this pedal. Took it home and wow!!!...This is the first time I have played a fuzz box before and very different than natural amp distortion or other OD pedals such as Boss or Ibanez. To my pleasant and utter satisfaction I was getting very cool sustain to which I had never gotten with regular OD pedals before. I was even getting a violin type sound with playing around with the Sustain knob.

The layout is as follows...

Volume,Tone, Sustain,

Volume is at is says. Tone will color your tone to dark or bright depending on how you dial it in. Sustain add the gain and violin like qualities to your tone.

What I like best about this pedal was how the sustain was very long and drawn out. Very useful in certain situations. I probably wouldn't use this as my everyday rig tone but it adds a cool and fun element to your arsenal.

UTILIZATION

Well it does not get much simpler than this. Maybe the easiest pedal to figure out. The manual was a mute point as anyone can figure out how to use this thing. It did help a little to find that violin setting which I did not know it could do until I read the manual. So that was a plus to add in the box.

SOUND QUALITY

When it comes to fuzz boxes I don't think there is anything better than the Big Muff. I have played a tone of fuzz pedals and nothing really comes close to the Big Muff. It is very warm and thick. Other pedals I have played seem to be thinner and more metallic sounding. This pedal is so simple and cheap at $80 it is not something that will necessarily break the bank.

I would use this with a Tele, Strat, and a Les Paul. Each instrument sounded very good and usable. It beefed up my Tele and just made my LP explode into sustaining saturation. I ran it in front of a Vox AC30 and a '74 Marshall JMP. The combo with the Vox was quite good and a tone that I actually miss since I don't have my Vox anymore. I have gone through a ton of pedals throughout my years and this is one that has stayed with me and I will never sell.

One downside is that I have an older one that is not true bypass which is a bummer now that the newer ones have this feature. However, I'm not going to shell out the extra $80 to get one with true bypass when I don't use it that much anymore

OVERALL OPINION

I love this pedal. Easy to use and the most classic fuzz box this world has ever known. I would say the only down side is the size of the box. It is HUGE and takes up a ton of space on your pedal board. Another thing is the odd plug which is on the male side. It doesn't use a normal Boss or Ibanez plug so beware of that. It feels kind of hollow to which you would think it could break but I have never had a problem with mine.

I would recommend this pedal to any guitar player. It to me is a staple in rock n roll and should be owned by everyone. For the money some spend on gear this is one that will always sound the same and provide that irrefutable classic fuzz tone.
mooseherman06/08/2009

mooseherman's review

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
As far as the characteristics go, this is a standard analog distortion pedal. It's not rackable, and it predates computer editing so it's not Mac/PC compatible. It's got your basic 1/4" connections, input and output. 

UTILIZATION

This is one of the all time standards of distortion pedals. It's very easy to use, with only three knobs. There is one for volume, one for tone, and one for sustain. Even with a basic setup like this, it's possible to get a lot of good sounds very easily. If you know what sustain means, then you don't need a manual. Otherwise, just look it up, a manual isn't really needed. 

SOUND QUALITY

The sound quality of this pedal can't really be underestimated. It's been used since the early 1970s and it's responsible for many of the classic tones and sounds of rock music from that era. It's got one of the richest, most consistently rewarding tones I've ever heard. The sustain on it is really great. It crunches in a very distinct way. It gives a great, fuzzy, creamy tone that sounds amazing. It's better than most pedals of its nature in that it doesn't hide the musical elements of the guitar, and it lets notes ring through really well. Many distortion pedals nowadays mangle the sound until you can't even tell what you're playing anymore. This pedal avoids that problem well. It's almost bafflingly straightforward, which makes editing sounds a piece of cake. I feel like there's always a good use for it, and I never find a sound I don't like. For some notable examples of the pedal on record, you can check out Pink Floyd's Animals or The Wall, as David Gilmour used it on those records. A somewhat more modern sounding example can be found on almost every Dinosaur Jr. album.

OVERALL OPINION

I like the tone of this pedal the most. I don't have any particular qualms about the sound. It is reliable, durable, and consistent in its performance. It gets noisy, but not excessively so. It will really rock when you push it. I think that nowadays, it's probably a little bit more expensive than it used to be, but I definitely think it's still pretty affordable. I've seen it go for around $60 online, and that's a steal. You'll definitely get your money's worth at that price. I highly recommend it. 
moosers02/19/2009

moosers's review

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
The Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi (USA) is an analog distortion pedal. It has a 1/4 inch input for your guitar and another 1/4 inch output to go to your amplifier. It is not a rackable unit as it is a stomp box.

UTILIZATION

The configuration of the pedal, like most Electro Harmonix pedals, is extremely easy to follow and is easy to use. It has three knobs - one for volume, one for tone, and one for sustain. It is easy to manipulate the pedal to get a number of different distortion sounds as it only has three knobs that control pretty straightforward things. I don't have a manual for this, but never was in a situation where I wish I did.

SOUND QUALITY

The Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi has one of the fattest tones I have heard from a distortion pedal. It really rips and when the sustain is up, you can hold your note out endlessly. I have only used this for guitar, which is really what it is aimed for using with. One of the guitars I use this with is a Fender Stratocaster and I usually use it with a 1976 Fender Twin Reverb amplifier. I love using this for both rhythm and lead tones, but have found it most effective as a lead tone. The thickness from this pedal is unlike any I have heard.

OVERALL OPINION

I've been using the Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi for about three years. While I can't get every distortion sound I would like out of this, the sound it does produce is pretty great. It is thick and rich in tone and is quite easy to use. Compared to a pedal like the Boss DS-1, it sounds better overall to me as it produces a much fuller tone. The price won't blow you away, but it isn't too expensive. Electro Harmonix makes great guitar pedals, and this is a great example of the craftmanship they deliver.
MGR/Cain Man04/21/2004

MGR/Cain Man's review"Electro-Harmonix Big Muff"

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI
I bought this pedal brand-new for $59 bucks at Sam Ash. Throughout my playing years I've always looked for a distortion pedal that was heavy and thick. I used a Boss Turbo Distortion for many years because that was the closest distortion that fit my criteria. Recently I read a couple of articles in which Big Muff Distortion/Sustainer was mentioned. I decided to buy it, and I'm so glad I did.

I really love the distortion - period. It's the type of distortion I've been looking for forever. The pedal looks great and is very simple to use. If you like heavy, thick, and warm distortion, this pedal is for you. I still can't believe I found the pedal of my dreams.

The only thing I don't like about it is that it is powered by battery only. You can't plug an adapter to it - but who cares.

This pedal is so well constructed that I think it's going to last for many years and still look great. It's very good looking pedal.

This pedal is the best distortion pedal I have used and, believe me, I've used many different ones.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com