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Electro-Harmonix Classics USA Big Muff PI Distortion / Sustainer Guitar Effects Pedal

Sound Quality

I have a Fender Blues Deluxe, and love its clean tone. Damned if I'm gonna mess up good tone in exchange for distortion, I like to just step on some stompboxes instead and see how I can dirty it up. My signal chain is as thus: Strat->Boss CS-3 compressor->Snarling Dogs "Blues Bawls" Wah->Ibanez TS9 tube screamer->Big Muff->Ibanez AD9. At first I almost got rid of the Big Muff. It was kind of fun at first, but my Strat's noisy enough, and I felt like I was getting more static and white noise than anything else from the Big Muff, plus it immediately muddied up my sound and cut out all the high end. On a lark I threw it in next to my Tube Screamer and turned it on expecting an unholy racket, only to find... The Big Muff and Tube Screamer in conjunction are f'ing KILLER. These are NOT expensive pedals by any means (The TS-9 model is about 70 bucks), and I'm getting sounds that have the neighbors applauding. (by applauding I mean NOT complaining to the building manager.) Anyone who's got something like a Marshall half-stack and can pull up that saturated gain anytime they want will never understand the heart-break of loving your clean tube-amp tone, but still wanting to lay on some filthy distortion when the situation calls for it. This effects combo is a great solution. It still rings true as my original tone, and keeps all my amp's characteristics, but it's thick and dirty and vicious. I personally consider the phrase "sounds like Hendrix" to have lost all meaning, but when I want to make him roll over in his grave with a half-assed imitation, this is how I do it. Previously I was using the TS-9 and the distortion from my Snarling Dogs pedal in conjunction to do my dirty work (the snarling dogs BLUES BAWLS basically has a tubescreamer complex combined w/ a wah pedal). But this is much much much better. I'm giving it a 7, because on its own I probably wouldn't have kept it, but like I said, I have DEFINITELY found a use for it, and am not shy about saying it is now a major part of my sound.


I've only had it for a few months, but it seems pretty sturdy. My only concern is that it's basically a large hollow tin box, and I suspect stomping on it too hard could do some damage.

General Comments

Overall I'm going to give it a 7, as on its own it's not so special. If you were to throw $100 more at this purchase you could probably leave the Big Muff in the dust. But like I said, I'm MORE than pleased with what I've coaxed from it, so don't be afraid to buy one and give it a shot, just keep your receipt in case it's not for you.

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