Electro Harmonix recently reissued all of their classic Big Muffs, with impressive attention to details and tone. In this feature I’ll try to compare three of the more Gilmourish sounding and reveal my favourite!
It started with the Green Russian, which probably is the most popular of them all. Not surprising perhaps as newer generations of guitarists are probably more familiar with the green and black Sovtek models. Following the Green Russian, were the Triangle and now just recently, the Ram’s Head.
There is a fourth model too. The OP-amp Big Muff based on the late 70s model. This one is perhaps mostly associated with early 90s grunge bands and Smashing Pumpkins in particular. It can be set up for your Gilmour tones, especially when paired with an EQ boosting the mids and rolling off the high end, but I’ve left that one out in this comparison.
The Triangle, Ram’s Head and Green Russian reissues are incredibly spot the original models. The smaller foot print, led and true bypass makes these a very hard competition to the boutique clones and the vintage market. Not to mention their price.
All three models have designs based on a particular pedal or a handful of pedals and what they’ve tried to do is to capture the essence of each original. You might be able to tell the difference between the reissue and an orginal if you’re an avid collector but for most people, and even the collector, these reissues are top of the line tonewise.
I’m not paid by Electro Harmonix to praise these but I think it’s important to appreciate that price alone doesn’t say much about tone and quality. My honest opinion is that spending thousands of dollars on a vintage Big Muff is insane unless you know what you’re doing. A 40+ year old pedal is a risk so if you’re not a collector and only looking for a Big Muff, then one of these reissues, or a boutique clone, is a much better choice.