I won an auction for a Russian version of the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal tonight. Much to my surprise. I actually wasn’t in the market for one. Well, I was. But not tonight. I figured that was something I’d be getting farther on down the road. The reason I bid on it was because no one else had, really. When I found the listing it had an 1 1/2 hours left to go on it and only three bids, but the page had been viewed over 150 times. Someone was damned sure watching it, but no one was bidding on it. In the end I decided to take a risk, because the seller claimed that it worked perfectly and the only thing wrong with it was that the cover for the battery compartment was missing. Believe it or not, people are stupid, and most of them won’t bid on an item if it has a blemish of any kind. So in spite of the fact that the unit supposedly works fine, the missing compartment cover could be the reason it didn’t get any more bids than it did.
Fine with me. I won it for $31. Sweet! Yeah, sure. I feel a little guilty about buying it off of someone for $31, but that’s the chance you take when you put something up for bid on eBay. You might not get what you want out of it.
The thing that led me to discover this fuzz pedal was simply that I started researching fuzz pedals today. I’ve been tinkering around with a plug-in on my computer that I’ve gotten good results out of, and I figured it might be a good idea to eventually get a pedal that I could use live when I’m playing with the band. The fuzz goes really well with my Stratocaster. That realization leads to the next obvious question; with all the fuzz boxes out there, which one do I get?
I’ve heard good things about the Dunlop Fuzz Face re-issue, but I’d heard bad things, as well. I’d also heard a lot about the Big Muff. Basically, most discussions about fuzz boxes come down to the argument of Fuzz Face vs Big Muff. To put things into perspective, I ran across a page where people were arguing about this stuff, and someone pointed out that David Gilmour used a Fuzz Face until about 1973 when he switched to a Big Muff, and he’s been using Big Muff variations ever since. This led me to discover a gentleman named Marc Ahlfs, aka Skreddy,who makes a custom fuzz box called a Lunar Module (which is reportedly modeled after the lead guitar part for Time by Pink Floyd), but that’s another story. All this eventually led to me poking around on eBay out of curiosity, just to see what was there.
Well, assuming that the gentleman ships it, I’m now the proud owner of a Big Muff myself. And a Russian one at that. I’ve heard complaints about the Russian versions, because some people think the U.S. versions are raunchier and have more attitude. But I’m not looking to sound like Jack White. I’m not looking to sound like anybody, really, but if I had to pick someone, I’d choose David Gilmour over Jack White any day of the week. From what I hear, the Russian versions have a warmer, more musical tone. That appeals to me. And besides, if the pedal turns out to sound like shit, I’m only out $31.
There’ll be more on this later, when I actually get my hands on the pedal.