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Expert Review: Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi Distortion/Sustainer

Already one of the baddest bass distortions around, the Deluxe model introduces incredibly powerful shaping controls to dial in your perfect fuzz.

By Ara Ajizian

Introduction

We bass players know the dilemma of the fuzz. You get an awesome mid- to high-end fuzz that delivers everything you need except—the bottom end always seems to just disappear the moment every other frequency attains perfection.

This is the plight for those of us who strive for an astonishing likeness to the great fuzz tones that have come before: "Mexicola" by Queens of the Stone Age, "Exit Music (For A Film)" by Radiohead, "NIB" by Black Sabbath. As we tweak the knobs on the latest pedal that swears it will take us to fuzz heaven, we're often frustrated not by what we hear, but by what we don't hear. The Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi is here to change all of that. Loaded with what most of us already know is one of the best fuzz circuits for bass, the Deluxe adds a host of tone controls that are sure to take you to Nirvana....that is, if you're trying to play "Breed."

 

 What You Need To Know

 • The Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi takes the circuit of the original to new levels of flexibility thanks to enhanced tone controls.

• Many bass players struggle with the loss of the bottom end when engaging a distortion/fuzz effect. To combat this, EHX has created a full suite of controls.

• Sustain, Tone & Volume controls just like the original Bass Big Muff Pi
 
• Blend control for incorporating your pre-effect signal and enhancing low end
 
• Gate control relieves your sound of unwanted noise
 
• Switchable low- and high-pass crossover filtering allows shaping of both your distorted and dry tones to create the perfect distortion for your needs
 
• Input level selector accommodates active and passive instruments
 
• Direct and DI outputs provide full recording and routing capabilities for both your dry signal for blending as well as the effected sound.

Limitations

• Hard to find any limitations with this pedal. Bass players have specific demands when it comes to distortion, namely to keep the low end intact. The Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi gives you complete control, including a Blend knob, to avoid those pitfalls and deliver superb distored tones that don't take away your bottom end. 

Conclusion

The music I tend to play lends itself to distorted bass tones, and while I've often sought out the pedals that helped create the tones on songs that I'm heavily influenced by, I've come to realize that most of the time, that bass player was really just fortunate to have either the right bass/amp/pedal combination or some studio magic that helped solidify their sound. I have always struggled with finding a bass distortion pedal that kept the low end in place. Even though the original Bass Big Muff Pi has served me well, the Deluxe version not only provides more control over the original, but a load of creative options as you learn its extensive control set. Though I've always approached fuzzed-out bass tones from the stoner-rock perspective, the Deluxe can add everything from a slight bit of grit to punchy overdriven tones that keep you in the pocket, all the way to the thick, saturated tones the heaviest players need. If you've struggled finding the right fuzz sounds, look no further than the Electro Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi.

Resources

 

 Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi Video Demo

 

The Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi at Musician's Friend

 

Ara Ajizian, Harmony Central's Editorial Director, has been playing bass and guitar as well as singing since he was 18, and soon that love of music combined with a passion for writing; launching what's now a decade-long career immersed in the gear world. He's thrilled to be back on the Harmony Central team after two years as Managing Editor for Musician's Friend covering gear, bands and events and gigging in the Los Angeles area.

 

 

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