Thursday, 15 September 2011

Modded Big Muff Pi U.S.A Review

Okay, so here it is. My first post in my new Gear Blog.

I Had a fairly quiet morning, Lie in, Bit of T.V. Until the postman came bearing gifts; A medium sized package, and a D'addario Catalogue with some Stickers.
I opened up the package to find...


Okay, I have had a few days to test this bad boy out;
The versatility of the pedal is phenomenal from a slight crunch to Wall of Oscillating sound this really hits the mark.
To start i will outline the controls.

On the rear we have The standard Instrument-Amplifier-9v Inputs, and a Tone stack switch, This removes the whole EQ section, rendering the Tone knob useless, but giving the pedal a meatier growl, the only downside to this is the fact you cant adjust it with the tone stack out, which is a little bit of a shame.


Moving round to the front we have the standard Volume ( left) Tone ( Middle) and Sustain (Right) Knobs, They work as, well basically Volume Tone and Gain.
Underneath these we have the two gain stage switches, This is where the versatility of this pedal lies, with the flick of one or two switches, you can go from old style germanium OD to Wall of Fuzz Silicon style.


Moving down further on the pedal we com to the Volume Boost Section,
This consists of 1 Knob, and 1 On/Off Switch, This was installed due to the volume drop encountered when using the germanium settings, but, I tend to keep it on permanently, just for shits and giggles, oh and LOUDNESS!


The Led has also been moved, In my opinion to a better place, I have never liked Led's that were miles away from the button, but that's just me being picky.

So, we have an overall Gist of what everything does, lets move on to sound.
What does it sound like.? Well when I first plugged the unit it I was not disappointed, I'll run you through the range of sounds i can get through my blackstar ht stage 60.

Starting With both tone switches on the Germanium setting, the tone stack Off and Everything a 12 o clock- This setting is pretty transparent, and very low gain, I'm getting a little more breakup on my clean channel than usual.
Turn the sustain knob to the right however you get a very bluesy sound, Reminiscent of Purple. Next i turned the volume up to full, Cream, Cream, Cream, Roundabouts here i can get the sound from the first comfortably numb solo ( or pretty close)
Roll back the tone knob on your guitar and your in sunshine of your love territory.

This is with the tone stack out of the equation, OK, Ill bring the tone stack in now, Sustain and volume are maxed out for now, let's see what we can do.

With the tone knob at its lowest setting I get a Very muffled sound, although there still is enough definition to make it use able, Think of hearing a loud amp from a flat below. The tone is Warm, and still sings, With the knob in the middle position you lose some bottom end, and the sound starts to also lose some of its mids. but we are getting closer to the classic muff sound. With the tone knob all the way to the right we have a cutting, slightly fizzy lead tone, that would also be quite acceptable for rhythm applications.

The Twin gain stages are interchangeable, so you can mix and match Germanium and silicon to your desire. With the first switch in the silicon position i can only liken the tone to be similar to that of a Marshall, you can easily get AC/DC style tones from this setting, ( i told you this pedal was versatile) and with the Gain stages the other way round, you get a more fizzy honky sound. Really borderline Fuzz Territory.

And Now its time for MOAR GAIN. this section is when the fuzz comes into it,
Here I hit Both Switches down, for full silicon madness. First off, a HUGE volume jump comes into the equation, and here the violin like sustain begins buttery lead, DIRTY Riffs, Its beautiful, enough to make any gain addicts cry with joy.
The tone Knob affects the sound in a similar way, but when you have the sustain and tone knobs fully maxed out you get that unstable fizzy noise, with some oscillation,
this is why I love this pedal. Back off the Sustain and you get jack white sounds A'la Icky thump and Bone broke, really full, punchy distortion. Crank the sustain and lower the Tone a tad you have Plug in baby and new born Tones. Really, Really impressive.

The mods were done by Badgerific on the Ultimate guitar forums, Great guy to deal with, Honest, BUY HIS PEDALS, he does a range of one knob fuzz pedals for around the £50 mark. Well worth it.

I have one apology with this pedal, sorry guys, it wont quite do Metallica, And its not worth getting one to run through a solid state, as the sounds you get from this thing interacting with The Pre and power valves is just orgasmic.

Hope you enjoyed my first gear review.

I'll leave you all with a gut shot.


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