This roadworthy stomper from Arc Effects delivers some classic Big muff tones.
Bassists now more than ever seem to have a particular affinity with fuzz. From valve grind to rich saturated distortion, you are never far away from the thunder of low-end grit. For many, the stompbox daddy of all fuzz is the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, and here we are focusing on this new take on the classic ’S’ Tall Font Green Russian Distortion. As the name suggests, this pedal is similar in footprint to the original Big Muff fuzzes of the ‘70s and seems to possess the usual controls that we see on most distortion stomps. It features custom ordered period correct potentiometer values that we’re told were discovered during deconstruction of a few real Tall Fonts. The newest revision features a low profile enclosure, new graphics and a bassist-friendly toggle switch nestled between the volume and tone knobs. This allows you to switch between three voicings (stock scooped, flat and boosted). The metal enclosure features a sturdy-feeling footswitch as well as an easily accessed battery compartment on the base. Input and output jacks have been placed on the top side, and a Boss-style 9V mains adapter input has also been fitted.
In the world of distortion it is rare to come across a new idea. Most companies churn out their own versions of well-known classics. The fact we see very few original takes on the distortion pedal is in part due to the unwillingness of the musician to accept new fuzzes. We tend, as the old adage goes, to know what we like and like what we know. Thankfully, this really is an idiot-proof stompbox: just three knobs – volume, tone and sustain – and that’s essentially it. As is to be expected these days, the Big Green is true-bypass, so once you switch it off it shouldn’t have any impact on your signal or tone. We set the controls by first of all adjusting the volume to match our bypassed level and then adding sustain and tone to taste (hard left for full bass, hard right for full treble). It really is very difficult to find a bad sound from this unit. The Big Green excels at the signature bass Muff snarl. We have wasted many hours, but very happily, riffing away on this pedal, and it’s a great starting point for anyone looking to enter the world of distortion effects for bass. Its simple controls and classic scooped tone make it a future collectable. Needless to say, it’s a keeper. www.arc-effects.com