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Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi Reissue

Who doesn't like reheated Pi...?

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

 

Three reissued Big Muff Pis in two years? Electro-Harmonix is clearly fully digging in to giving guitar players what they want, and what they want is clearly more Muff. There are dozens of Big Muff variant clones currently available, and hundreds have shown up in the last decade, proof of the mark Electro-Harmonix made on the guitar world. After much applauded re-releases of the Electro-Harmonix Green Russian Big Muff Pi and Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff Pi, EHX is going all the way back the the Muff’s roots with the new Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi.

 

The Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi features three controls for Volume, Tone, and Sustain (gain), is true-bypass, and ships with a 9v battery or can be powered with a standard 9v center negative power supply.

 

What You Need to Know

 

The Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi purports to recreate the original 1969 issue of the first fuzz box they released under the Big Muff Pi name. The pedal was conceived to be a gain pedal that brought massive amounts of sustain to replicate the sound of cranked amps at reasonable levels. This design was brought to life by multiple cascading gain stages to create a huge, saturated sound that Matthews described as “violin-like.”

 

One of the most contentious arguments in the world of Muffs is what the original BMP sounds like, due in large part to there being nearly 18 circuit variants released in the same enclosure and the specifications of the individual components drifting over the decades since they were released (the BMP was made to be affordable, and that mean using less-than-rigorously spec’ed capacitors). So while at this point there is no “one” sound to the original BMP, it’s fair to say that if anyone can make a claim at recreating the sonic twin of what it was meant to sound like it would be the engineers at Electro-Harmonix.

 

With three simple controls, the Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi creates a thick, smooth distortion/fuzz hybrid that stays musical while pushing the envelope for how much gain is “too much.” The Volume control takes the output of the pedal anywhere from well below unity gain to noticeably hotter and louder, although the final output is dictated by the interaction between the Sustain and Volume controls. The Sustain control increases the level of gain in the Triangle Big Muff, starting with a heavily distorted, gated sound that crunches on rhythm parts and thickening, focusing, and smoothing out as it is turned up. The Tone control filters through all levels of sweet and sour spots, depending on your guitar and amp, and helps to anchor the distortion into the mix.

 

The Big Muff Pi sound, generally, is scooped in the midrange and bonds best with a clean amp or an amp that already has a mid focus. The Triangle Big Muff Pi, however, has noticeably less of a scooped mids and does a better job of standing out in the mix. Although less mid-heavy than the Green Russian BMP reissue, the Triangle BMP still has enough presence and extra distortion to jump out for leads without the hinderance of the Green Russian’s heavy bass emphasis. Compared to the Op-Amp BMP, the Triangle BMP has more clarity and preserves note definition and is less hollow in the midrange. There’s a gritty sharpness to the Op-Amp BMP that contrasts with the smoothness of the Triangle BMP, although the Triangle BMP does produce slightly more grit surrounding notes than the Green Russian.

 

Demoing the three reissues head-to-head for several hours, the Triangle Big Muff Pi was the Goldilocks of the group, not too scooped, not too gated, not too bass-heavy. It is most like the Green Russian, but more aggressive, flexible in varying gain characteristics, and more vintage sounding.

 

A cool trick I found to have the Triangle Big Muff Pi serve double-duty as rhythm and lead without tweaking the knobs was to place a treble booster (Dallas Rangemaster) in front of it for leads. The treble boost kicks in additional presence bite to the Muff sound adds dimension and texture to the distortion that really takes the BMP into a Marshall-style amp to a new level.

 

Limitations

 

Like all Big Muff Pi circuits, the Triangle Big Muff Pi isn’t the quietest pedal. While the hiss and rumble that swells when the pedal is on but not being played is almost entirely lost in a band setting, bedroom players used to more refined circuits will quickly learn to turn the pedal off when not playing notes.

 

Conclusion

 

With three classic Big Muff Pi circuits to choose from now (in addition to a handful of modern versions EHX offers), the Triangle Big Muff Pi stands out both as one of the most sought-after tones and as the truest to what the Big Muff Pi sound is. Those looking for a bass and mid heavy Muff to run in to clean American amps will most likely bond with the Green Russian, and those looking for high-gain, gated fuzz that dominated Alternative Rock in the 90’s would be best suited to starting with the Op-Amp Big Muff Pi, but those looking for the smooth, stringed-instrument bloom of classic soloist like Gilmour and Santana should jump on the Triangle Big Muff Pi as their starting point.. -HC-

 

Resources

 

Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi Product Page

 

Buy Electro-Harmonix Triangle Big Muff Pi at Amazon ($99.99)

 

____________________________________________ 

 

Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 

 

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