Which Muff?

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Kramertron 2000
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Which Muff?

Post by Kramertron 2000 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:55 pm

Hey all - I need some help making a decision, mainly because there is only one music store in my town, and they only have a Bass Muff.

Basically as the title suggests, I'm struggling to decide which Big Muff variant or clone to go with. I'm into grungy/noisy stuff like Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, B. H. surfers, My Bloody Valentine etc, as well as more electronic based stuff like Nine Inch Nails, Manson and even full on electronic music like Infected Mushroom.

I know Thurston and Lee used Russian Muffs (in front of a Turbo Rat, though) and Billy Corgan used an op-amp Muff, so there is already a conflict there, so I guess the question is which one or which pedal based off the Big Muff would be able to adequately cover the whole range?

I dont think I want to go anything too boutique - the EHX pedals are pretty reasonably priced, but I have heard demo's of the Caroline Shigeharu, which sounded good and versitile, I also liked the TC electronics Honey pot (although some of them didnt sound too impressive as well).

Any suggestions?

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by oid » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:16 pm

You will not find a Muff that will get the sound of both the transistor and opamp Muffs in one, they are quite different circuits. Your list of influences suggests that any of the 3 knob EH muffs will be a safe bet. Personally I say just pick one and learn it, your playing will have more effect on the sounds you get then which variant you choose. Did you try the Bass Muff out on guitar? it is worthwhile to try.

In the end I say a Big Muff is a Big Muff, it has a strong character and if you do anything to alter that character it loses that quality which makes it a Big Muff. Way Huge might be my favorite though, but I am content with any decent muff.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by Kramertron 2000 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:36 pm

Thanks for the response. Id say you're right there - the only one that would be majorly different sounding would be the op-amp version. From what Iv heard its way brighter and a lot more on the ragged edge than the others, pretty much instant Siamese Dream sound.

You're right about playing having a lot to do with it (also the guitar and amp). I may just go with the op-anp version, and if its not what Im looking for I can always get something different and sell it - they are cheap enough that it isnt a huge deal to make a bad choice. Im going to have to do that with another pedal I bought recently - its called "I was a wolf in the forest" distortion or something, and I dont know if its me, my amp or the pedal, but I really am struggling to get a good sound out of it - it just always seems to sound like something's missing or its too weak for my style.

I didnt try the bass muff, but from what I understand it's based off the green russian version, but eq'd differently to be more suitable for bass.

I think Ill also grab a Hot Tubes overdrive while Im at it - it seems pretty cool, and a bit more fuzzy than your average tube screamer or blues driver variant, which I never particularly liked.

Keep the discussion coming Id love to hear other people's opinions - Im not in any big rush to buy anything. Id also like to hear people's opinions on the Hot Tubes.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by Zork » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:59 am

What about the JHS Muffuletta?

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by MechaBulletBill » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:28 am

Kramertron 2000 wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:36 pm
I didnt try the bass muff, but from what I understand it's based off the green russian version, but eq'd differently to be more suitable for bass.
The bass muff is really cool, equally useful with guitar. My favourite muffs (back when I was buying/selling different clones like crazy) were the w&c box of war, efe dope priest v7, and fredric green russian. The fredric is a bargain on the secondhand market and is perfectly voiced for grungy/crunchy/bluesy muff sounds. A russian muff clone with the gain maxxed will cop the smooth ultra-compressed sounds that op-amp and ram head muffs do, but they're most useful when set conservatively as a fat rhythm sound.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by Mike S » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:50 pm

I sold my Muffaletta for a Deluxe Big Muff after learning about the additional versatility and some of the issues with JHS...
The Deluxe will let you dial in most of EHX and Sovtek Muffs and will let you plug in an Expression Pedal for a fuzz-wah effect. It can't do the Op Amp Muffs very well and doesn't have a tone bypass switch, but does cut through because of the mids controls. It also obviously can't do the Ge4 Big Muff, which is one of my faves. It can do the Triangle, the regular and Violet Ram's Head and the Civil War, so what more do you need?

If you want something even thicker and more brutal, go for the Fredric Super Unpleasant Companion in the Super Fuzz Tone 2 mode.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by Kramertron 2000 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:09 pm

Some good suggestions there. The muffaletta and deluxe both sound interesting, a bit pricey, but I guess they make up for it with the extra versatility.

I have been listening to some clips of the bass muff too, and it sounds pretty good (although it doesnt seem to quite get the high end of the spectrum like the other versions do - as you might expect). There are plenty of used bass muffs available pretty cheaply though, so it might be worth grabbing one anyway.

Keep it coming. Im also tossing up if I should grab a used Fender Blender reissue, which are a little hard to come by these days, but I think this is already going to get out of hand ;D The list of pedals is growing every day.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by budda12ax7 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:30 pm

For pure MUFF power....I would go with the new Op Amp Muff, or the Tone Wicker one.....then pair that with a OCD pedal or MXR 77 badass distortion.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by Kramertron 2000 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:14 am

I think I'm now leaning more in the russian direction. I think the op amp may be a little too bright. I already play through bright guitars (Jaguar and Jazzmaster mainly, but also a jagmaster with a Duncan Distortion in the bridge), a reasonably bright amp (Vox Night train, and I'm very slowly building a Fender Deluxe Reverb) and I have a Danelectro French toast, which gives me a super bright fuzz. And musically I tend more towards Sonic youth than Smashing Pumpkins, and the op amp basically just sounds like Pumpkins in a box :D

There is also a black russian on Gumtree for the same price as a new green russian nano, but I dont really know how that compares.

As for stacking, Im definitely getting a Hot Tubes for overdrive. Im not a huge fan of the night train's crunch mode and I never get it loud enough to get proper tube OD from it. On a side note, as much as I like the amp, it doesnt always play nice with pedals and it can be a bit difficult to get a really good sound from it, so I need to hurry up and get the deluxe built and/or swap the vox for something else.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by shoule79 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:01 pm

Here’s my thoughts on the muffs I’ve owned:

Original op amp muff - great pedal, but had it at the same time as my bubble font Russian muff, and greatly preferred the Russian.

Green bubble don’t muff - great pedal, one of my first. Used for years, but always found it to be a tone suck. After I had “good” pedals I didn’t like using it for that reason.

Metal muff - not really a muff per se, but has endless sustain and great eq capabilities. I use it for a Fripp Sound.

NYC reissue muff - I keep this around as a grab and go pedal, and will likely gift it to some one some day. Good but not great meat and potatoes muff.

Muff with tone wicker - this one is the keeper. I never turn on the wicker, but love the sound with the tone bypassed. It actually cuts through!


For the wall of Sound stuff you mentioned, I came to find that I just prefer either my Rat or Boss HM-2 for those sounds.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by Kramertron 2000 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:50 pm

Iv heard nothing but good reviews for the tone wicker, so I may have to start listening to some clips of it too. I think its going to end up being a decision between the green russian reissue (or maybe even the black russian I found second hand, which I can then change to true bypass to avoid the tone-drain) and the wicker, with the op amp as another option, but falling behind the other 2.

A (turbo?) Rat would be good too - I may have to see if I can find one second hand for cheap.

With a muff of some kind, a rat and the hot tubes (as well as my french toast) Id say Ill have all the bases covered for drive/fuzz, but then again you can never have enough drive pedals :P

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by Mike S » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:57 am

In terms of Muffs, the Deluxe gives you the most options. If you don't care about that, then the two Muffs that sound best to my ears are the Triangle and Civil War so you may want to explore those clones. The Basic Audio Tri/Ram is not a bad option for the Triangle sound.

With Rats, the Deucetone is just worth it. The outputs being on opposite sides kind of sucks but having every Rat pedal (except the fat rat) plus a clean boost is worth it.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by CrookedRainJr » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:55 am

I've played a Frederic Green Russian and even though it doesn't have a ton of volume, it nailed later fuzzy Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr tones really well. The Bass Big Muff is more of a Black Russian, which is fine but the sound was a bit dull from my experience with it. The dry switch was useful though. A few other thoughts:

The Hot Tubes was fun, but overly bright and a bit sensitive to what's around it. If you find one cheap then go for it, but otherwise don't bank on it being fantastic or anything.

Deluxe Big Muff is very versatile and worth the price on the used market. I've played various Rats, and the Super Rat clone was probably the best. I'd definitely look into a Turbo Rat or a clone of some sort, they're cheap and very useful if they have different modes available.

Thurston Moore used a Metal Muff in Chelsea Light Moving and I believe still uses it now. It's high gain but can get some cool lower grit growl with some tweaking. Not for everyone but they and their many variations pop up cheap often. Germanium 4 Big Muff is great, the overdrive is the right amount of fuzzy and the distortion stacks well with it, I would recommend them for sure.

I really like the Boss HM2 for wall of sound stuff and it can get pretty noisy, it's a good mix of Rat and muff characteristics.

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by beauzooka » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:31 am

For budget muff I'd go EHX Green Russian reissue.

For a versatile muff I'd get a Blackout Musket.

Here's a good overview of muffs, albeit for Pink Floyd purposes (which may or may not be helpful to you):

http://www.gilmourish.com/?page_id=3389

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Re: Which Muff?

Post by SadFuzz » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:17 pm

Fuzzrocious Grey Stache seems good.
Mids knob as well to counter the scoop. It's probably the next pedal I'm after.
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