Big Muff Pi (Made In USA) Review

manufacturer: Electro-Harmonix date: 01/15/2014 category: Bass Effects
Electro-Harmonix: Big Muff Pi (Made In USA)
The distortion that countless musicians such as Hendrix and Santana relied on for its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain. A timeless piece, the Big Muff has been defining the sound of rock guitar for the past 30 years. From Pink Floyd to the Chemical Brothers to Korn, everyone wants a piece of the Pi!
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 7.3
 Ease of Use: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (4) pictures (1) 17 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Big Muff Pi (Made In USA) Reviewed by: basspriest, on september 25, 2005
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 78.21

Purchased from: Ital Melodie

Ease of Use: One volume, one tone and one sustain/distortion knobs. It doesn't get any simplier. The on/off switch is can kind of less accessible than a regular pedal but you get use to it in the end. The manual is as minimalistic as the pedal it self but who cares, you don't need a company to tell you how your bass should sound. // 9

Sound: You can't get everything from a Muse-like fuzz to harsh grunge metal. It does sound vintage, which is why I like it so much. I use it in covers such as NIB. from Black Sabbath, any Motorhead or just to add some dirtyness to my own compositions. Use to play through a Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive but I like the Muff way better. It's got a "rounder" sound compared to the razor-like ODB-3. I play on a Warwick Rock Bass 5 strings Streamer and an Eden Nemesis 200 watts combo amp. It also sound great through a guitar (actualy it was first design for guitar) as my brother loves to steal it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This thing is build like a tank. It's bulky, it's vintage and it looks like it could survive a nuclear war. I don't rely on batteries (I prefer plugging an adaptator). // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing for a year and a half or so now and as you might have noticed, I love anything that's linked to vintage heavy rock. This pedal is a perfect match as it first appeared during this golden era. If anything happen to my Muff, I would run to the store to replace it. The only thing I don't like of it is that there is no way to totally cut the fuzz (sustain) in order to get a "natural" overdrive. But that's all right. I love my Muff the way it is. // 9

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overall: 7.8
Big Muff Pi (Made In USA) Reviewed by: BrokenLaney_DBC, on june 22, 2006
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Merchant City Music

Ease of Use: This pedal produces a great fuzz pretty much all of the time and it's probably harder to get a bad sound out of it than a good one. There isn't a manual in the box but the pedal is so simple their isn't really need for one. Their are three controls, Sustain, which controls the length of notes played, Tone, which controls the bass and treble in the signal and Volume, which controls the output of the pedal volume wise. There is also a standard 9v power supply input at the top of the pedal so there is no need for expensive batteries if you own a 9v supply. Basically quite a simple pedal to use. // 8

Sound: It's no Zvex Woolly Mammoth, but the sound is great(considering it's a quarter of the price), it adds a nice low end boost to your sound as well as creating a very good fuzz. I'm using mine with an Ibanez BTB200 and Laney R2 and don't find the pedal noisy at all, I'm guessing this is because. Although it takes some time finding the right mix of all three settings I've managed to find a sound similar to the bass sound on Hysteria by Muse which I'm more than happy with. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Not had it for very long but as its made of metal I'm guessing it's solid enough, I'd rely on it at a gig without a backup. Can't forsee any problems with it, but if anything did happen it's covered with a free 1 year warranty so I'd just get it replaced or repaired. Gave it a 5 due to not really owning it for long enough for anything to go wrong, 5 seemed a suitable neutral rating. // 5

Overall Impression: I play hard rock in my band and it seems to fit in well during breakdowns and intros. As mentioned before I play with an Ibanez BTB200 through Laney R2 and it suits the set-up perfectly. My favourite thing about this pedal is the fact its quite compact and light (compared to the Big Muff which you could brick windows with which I was originally intending to buy until I saw the size of it). If this pedal were lost or stolen I'd probably buy another one mainly because of the consistently good fuzz you get out of it and the compact design. // 9

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overall: 9.5
Big Muff Pi (Made In USA) Reviewed by: guybrush122, on july 02, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 76.5

Purchased from: Sam Ash Music

Ease of Use: This thing is incredibly easy to use. The manual doesn't say too much and it doesn't have to: the three knobs are self-explanitory. The volume knob controls your overall volume. The tone knob is glorious. Low-end tone will get you a muffled, feedbacking, Jesus & Mary Chain sort of effect-- like you're playing underwater. If you crank the tone, you get something that sounds like an attack dog, with little bass. Both extremes are friggin delightful, and somewhere in the 2-4 o'clock range the sound is just pure guitar nectar. The sustain knob controls the level of distortion and overall sustain. The sustain is brilliant. I'm surprised at how clear, crisp, and un-sullied single notes sound. Strum a power chord? Fat noise and static. Hit the high E? It's as clear as an infinite whistle, undisturbed by any background noise. Tasty. // 10

Sound: Delicious sound. It's noisy when you want it to be-- all the knobs you're given affects the volume in some way. I can play the thing on low, low volume (when practicing) with virtually no compromise in sound. Effects always sound great, except maybe if you've got the tone knob all the way down to 0. Even then, that's a stylistic preference. This pedal can get you everything from heavy metal, to punk, to grunge, to a QOTSA-type sound, to a White Sripes vibe (play Ball & a Biscuit with this thing-- it's like cake), to a Radiohead sound, to just a seriously Killer solo boost. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Durability? I wouldn't stomp down on the thing TOO hard, but this is one solid pedal. I'd gig without a backup (primarily cause I can't afford one), but I'm in no way shape or form worried about it's condition/ability to withstand some serious wear and tear. // 9

Overall Impression: I dig on fuzz. I dig on blues especially. I dig on punk. I dig on weird Indie. I dig on the classics hardcore. This pedal gives it all to me. I plug this thing in through a Boss OS-2 (sounds great when both are on), with a Grestch hollow body (Tennessee Reissue). My amp's a Vox Celestion-- Killer tube amp. I use my clean chanel (which still has some mud to it). The sound is like butter. If this thing were stolen or lost, I'd absolutely replace it. I only wish it came with an adapter. // 10

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overall: 8.3
Big Muff Pi (Made In USA) Reviewed by: grandmastergeof, on january 15, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Ebay Seller

Ease of Use: This pedal is really as easy as it gets. There are three knobs, volume, tone and sustain. You all know what volume and tone do. The sustain knob basically controls the amount of distortion output. It's very simple, yet very effective. The manual is as simple as the pedal, for the simple fact that there's not much to explain. The best thing to do once you take it out of the box is to just plug it in, experiment, then rock! Accessing the battery compartment is simple enough, you just need a small Phillips head to remove the battery holder. Like most stompboxes, it uses 9volt batteries. // 9

Sound: Describing the sound of this stompbox is no easy feat, as it sounds like pretty much nothing else out there. Rich, creamy yet also very crunchy, this effect produces nothing short of an absolute wall of sound. There is so much low end, that you have to have the tone knob positioned at least around 2 o'clock, otherwise it sounds like your amp is behind a wall of mattresses. For this reason, it can be difficult to find the "right" sound, but once you've found the sweet spot, you'll definitely know about it. What's also amazing is how different it can sound through different amps. I usually run mine in a slightly crunchy Vox amp, and it sounds totally different going through a big Marshall or even a clean Fender amp. Mind you, it still sounds awesome. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This is where I was somewhat let down. This pedal was first built back in 1970, and the design has barely changed at all since. It's basically a thin stainless steal face screwed onto an even thinner piece of metal that makes up the sides and bottom of the stompbox. The switch isn't exactly the smoothest thing in the world, and when I received it the knobs weren't in the correct position, but that is an easy fix. The potentiometers, however, feel very solid. The finish scratches extremely easily, and I also experienced a problem with the LED indicator, where it wouldn't switch on at all, or would but only as long as the switch was depressed. However, this problem sorted itself out after a short amount of time. All of this being said, I've still never had any problems with the operation of this pedal (apart from the LED), and I can't imagine it will ever break on me any time soon. All of the circuitry inside the pedal is very simple, so there's not really anything that can go wrong. So as long as you don't do anything like drop it out a window or run it over in a car, you really shouldn't have any problems. // 6

Overall Impression: Because of the unique sound of this piece of equipment, it isn't the most versatile thing in the world, but you would still be surprised at the different sounds you can get out of it. I play in a grunge/alternative rock band, and the sound of it is perfect for our style of music. David Gilmour used this pedal quite a lot to achieve creamy and smooth lead tones, such as the first solo on "Comfortably Numb," and Santana used it a lot as well. That should give you a pretty good idea of what this pedal is appropriate for. I typically use a few different distortion and overdrive pedals to achieve different sounds when practicing and gigging, and I find that I use this Big Muff the most. The fact that it sounds so different from anything else out there also really helps to set you apart from all the other average joe guitar players and their Boss DS-1s. The Big Muff has truly become an integral part of my sound, and I imagine that it will remain on my pedal board for the rest of my life. That's just how good it is. I just wish EHX could make the chassis a big sturdier, or at least make it with thicker steal. // 8

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