Rough and rusty vintage Big Muff - but man, it sounds sweet!

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by wildbill59, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. wildbill59

    wildbill59 TDPRI Member

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    An old cat gave me some pedals the other day that he had stored in his garage for decades - this early Big Muff Pi, and possibly the first version of the Memory Man pedal. They're rougher than a night in jail, but they're old and awesome. He told me about the Bad Company sticker - he bought that album in the late 70s at our Pittsburgh National Record Mart (!) and it came with some promo stickers, his buddy stuck it on there. I wish it wasn't on there, but since it's on there pretty good, and it's been there for over 40 years, I guess it'll stay there for the time being. I had to replace the battery connector and the on/off switch on the Pi, just tested it out tonight - it's huge! I tried my Telecaster through a small practice amp, it roars! Can't wait to play my Strat through my Marshall. I'm mainly a bass player, I'm gonna have a blast using this with a bass too. Better pics to come. upload_2019-3-26_3-38-31.png upload_2019-3-26_3-37-49.png
     
  2. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Afflicted

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    It’s a bad muff.

    The sticker sucks but it’s the only preserved place on the pedal
     
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  3. DeVilleDude

    DeVilleDude Tele-Holic

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    Let's see that Memory Man! I'm a sucker for beat up old pedals.
     
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  4. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

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    When my first band did some recording in a local studio, back in the mid 90s, one of the studio toys that was laying around was an early Big Muff like that. I'd never tried one before, and man, that thing was cool. I ended up using it in a couple places on our recording by doubling a part using the Muff on one track, in drop D tuning, and my less evil-sounding amp distortion on another track, and different chord voicings on each. That snarly, ripping Muff sound, mixed a little behind my normal sound, made for a huge improvement in guitar texture and complexity.

    I liked it so much I went home, whipped out my Musician's Friend catalog and ordered a big ugly green Russian Big Muff. To my dismay, it seemed nothing like the old model I'd used. Seems like the green Russian ones get a lot of internet love these days, but to me it seemed like a big sonic mess, with bloated lows, scooped mids and ugly, scritchy highs. Not my thing at all. With additional EQ--a lot of EQ--it seemed like it could be useful, but it seemed like a different sound altogether.

    Anyway, if the one you have there sounds like the one I used, I'd call that a great find. Have fun with that thing and don't sweat the surface rust and Bad Company sticker. Are going to rock out, or curate a museum collection?
     
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  5. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Tele-Afflicted

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    There's a great site for Big Muff history here:

    http://www.kitrae.net/music/music_big_muff.html

    I've read a lot of good things about the green Russian as well and had a hankering to build one one day, but you got me thinking. Maybe I should do more research on the earlier versions.
     
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  6. teleteej

    teleteej TDPRI Member

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    Oh yeah! The old Big Muffs are the best, IMHO. There is a lot of variance between individual pedals, due to Mike Matthews using whatever components that were cheap and available at the time, but if you find a good one, it's a keeper!
     
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  7. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My friend pulled out some of his old pedals one night.

    IMG_1036.JPG
     
  8. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve heard that the bass muffs are closer to the original?
     
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  9. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I had a silver Russian Muff, the "Gilmour" model. I never bonded with it and sold it to a punk rock girl from NYC. I hope she's still rockin' it. I kind of wish I'd kept it. They've become kind of collectable.

    Those early Memory Man pedals are sweet. It was the first delay pedal other I ever tried. It had a special sound that I've not heard in any other delay pedal.
     
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  10. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    I had one of the originals that I got around 1965. It even made my Mustang sustain.
     
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  11. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

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    I will check that link out; thanks!

    And I hope I didn't rain on anyone's parade about the green Sovtek Muff. It just didn't tick any of the boxes I wanted ticked...but my Les Paul-and-Laney-halfstack-playing buddy thought it was great so he ended up with it. I always liked his tone, so hey, if he heard something there he liked, more power to him. Not long after I found what I was looking for in a ProCo Rat 2.

    Now that we've got the subjectiveness of my comments out of the way, let me suggest two other pedals that struck me as unuseable (therefore they are probably perfect for someone else): the old DOD FX-55 Supra Distortion and the FX-69 Grunge. If you ever come across either of those, make sure you try them, because you will either come away with a new appreciation for truly awful, or you will buy them immediately and do something genius with them that did not occur to me. Win/win...
     
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  12. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    I got into building pedals by cloning a friend's op-amp Big Muff. I still drag it out every once in a while, but it needs a little love to get it back to ship-shape. One day soon I'm going to build one based on the "triangle" circuit, as I like the squizziness of the old transistor-based ones better. I remember reading a while ago about what was "wrong" with the Russian Muffs, but I can't recall at the moment. Either way, I agree Muffs are pretty darn cool.

    Those old DOD pedals are good for a laugh, but don't forget the absolute ridiculousness of the FX-86 "Death Metal". It doesn't even have a Gain knob; it's permanently pegged to 11... or something.
     
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  13. wildbill59

    wildbill59 TDPRI Member

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    upload_2019-3-27_1-28-13.png A slightly better pic. Thanks for all the great info and responses!
     
  14. wildbill59

    wildbill59 TDPRI Member

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    Here ya go, thanks for asking! I'm gonna start a thread with it too.
     
  15. wildbill59

    wildbill59 TDPRI Member

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    upload_2019-3-27_1-32-33.png Memory Man
     
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  16. DeVilleDude

    DeVilleDude Tele-Holic

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    ^^^ Amazing relic job! Your friend's garage apparently is well suited for being a pedal aging facility. Kinda like the caves used to age fine cheeses.

    Any chance his name is Tom Murphy?
     
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  17. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Ahh the sweet smell of germanium transisiters!, just run thoese puppies through the dishwasher they will come out clean and shinny!:lol::lol::lol:

    nice toys kids!
     
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  18. wildbill59

    wildbill59 TDPRI Member

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    Nope, his name's Steve, he's from Blairsville. And it's strange - his garage seems pretty dry, I think they had a layover somewhere else before the garage. But wherever they were, they sure ended up with some nice 'patina'!
     
  19. wildbill59

    wildbill59 TDPRI Member

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    :D
     
  20. wildbill59

    wildbill59 TDPRI Member

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