The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff is a legendary distortion/sustainer pedal that has played a significant role in the history of electric guitar effects. Here's a brief history of the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff:
Creation (1969): The Big Muff was first introduced by Electro-Harmonix (EHX) in 1969. The pedal was designed by David Cockerell, who later worked on other iconic EHX pedals. The Big Muff was one of the early fuzz/distortion pedals to gain widespread popularity.
Early Versions (1970s): The original Big Muff circuit used four silicon transistors and was known for its thick, saturated fuzz tone. The early versions of the pedal were housed in large enclosures with a distinctive control layout.
Ram's Head Version (1973-1977): One of the most famous iterations of the Big Muff is the "Ram's Head" version, produced from 1973 to 1977. It featured a ram's head graphic on the enclosure and is associated with a warm, creamy fuzz sound. Many players, including David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, used the Ram's Head Big Muff.
Sovtek Era (1990s): Electro-Harmonix went through a period of hiatus in the 1980s, but the Big Muff resurfaced in the early 1990s when production resumed. The Sovtek era Big Muffs (named after the Russian company that owned Electro-Harmonix at the time) were characterized by a different circuit and a distinctive green enclosure. These versions are known for their aggressive and gritty fuzz tones.
Modern Reissues and Variations: Electro-Harmonix has continued to produce various reissues and new versions of the Big Muff over the years. They have released models like the Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker, Big Muff Nano, and more. Each iteration may have subtle changes to the circuit or additional features.
Enduring Popularity: The Big Muff has maintained its popularity across decades and genres. It's favored by a diverse range of players, including rock, blues, and alternative musicians. The pedal's versatility and distinctive fuzz sound contribute to its enduring appeal.
Legacy and Influence: The Big Muff has left an indelible mark on the world of guitar effects. Its influence can be heard in countless recordings across different genres. The pedal's iconic status and rich history make it a sought-after and collectible piece of gear.
In summary, the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff has a storied history, evolving through different versions while maintaining its status as one of the most iconic fuzz/distortion pedals in the world of music.