When Electro-Harmonix heard that guitarist J Mascis’ prized Deluxe Big Muff Pi was stolen years ago, they decided to make things right. The Big Muff is crucial to the sounds he has long created in Dinosaur Jr, so a collaboration was inevitable.
The J Mascis Ram’s Head Big Muff Pi is a fuzz/distortion/sustainer pedal based on the 1973 Electro-Harmonix V2 Violet Ram’s Head Big Muff Pi, with idiosyncratic tweaks from Mascis. This special edition is housed in a die-cast chassis with a white and violet finish and is wired true-bypass. It’s powered by a 9-volt battery or adapter and takes up the correct amount of space on a pedal board.
The J Mascis Big Muff is an excellent choice for guitarists who prefer their fuzz furry and over-the-top. Plugged into a Fender Deluxe Reverb and 50-watt Marshall using humbucker and single-coil guitars, the Mascis Muff was thick, fierce, and malleable, delivering fitting soundscapes for first-position grunge strummers as well as mellifluous overtones for feedback virtuosos. It’s tight, consistent, and sustains like a bell; chords ring with articulation and girth, while single-note work yields a plethora of gritty textures like the nuanced tones of Gilmour or EJ. And, of course, it also does the Dino Jr thing, producing sweet, hostile aggression and easy-to-control pick sensitivity.
This article originally appeared in VG’s December 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.