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.

MGR/Jeff 12/01/2002

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff PI : MGR/Jeff's user review

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I got this thing off eBay in basically mint condition and even still in the nice classy wooden box it got shipped in for 40 bucks or so. I wanted it because I love the sound of the Smashing Pumpkins' distortion, and this is what they use (sort of, see below).

Gorgeous fuzz. Beautifully solid sound when a mid or high single note is played, gotta hear it to know what I mean, and you want to, trust me. The tone control is really really good at changing the sound of the effect. It can pump out warm, thick overdrive or a crispy, nasty higher-end fuzz. Sustain control isn't as versitile, but still can do a LOT to the Tone-controlled sound, giving your guitar better range of possible sounds with just one pedal than I thought possible. So it was pretty good at imitating the Pumpkins' sound.

Wasn't nearly as heavy as the Pumpkins' distortion. It lacks the sheer punch that the Pumpkins' distortion dished out. The Sustain isn't nearly as high on this thing as I thought it would be, kinda disappointed with that. Kinda lousy at artificial/pinch harmonics, because (and a bad thing by itself) the gain is pretty low. I've got a DOD Death Metal pedal, so relative to that, it's lousy for loong sustain or huge gain, but I could just have my universe warped by that DOD pedal.

It looks tough. It looks like a little tank that could roll around and launch some missles out of the INPUT and OUTPUT jacks (which by the way are left and right respectively, backwards from any other pedal I've used, which makes things a little annoying, but oh well). So anyway, I dropped a speaker on it one day, and now the case is dented, so the metal isn't that strong, it's no tank. And the Sustain control also broke. It got twisted around too far, so now I can move it from minimum to maximum in a 10-degree turn, instead of 350-degree, so that's no good. Everything else is holding up well though. I don't stomp on my pedals though, so I'm not sure how well of a description this is for those of you that do mistreat your pedals.

It's really good.
BEST THING ABOUT IT: is it's easy to modify. I haven't done so yet, but everyone on DIY pages have modified their Big Muff into something slightly different. You can't make it a delay or anything, but you can change the sound texture or something like that. Speaking of which, I found out after I got it that the Pumpkins used a Big Muff modified by the little company Sustain Punch, which simply boost (aLOT) the sustain and the punch, appropriately enough, of the pedal. All in all, excellent excellent purchase, especially if you can/want to modify it, you can get exactly what you want out of this baby. Get it, it's worth it if you need a fuzz pedal, even if you don't like the Smashing Pumpkins, but I don't know why you wouldn't like them.

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