Other Equipment

OH EM GEE OH EM GEENPD For Pedalheads Only

1

(Wherein an old man gets a new fuzz pedal and can't wait to tell the very people in all the world who couldn't possibly care less.)

So tell me, if your pedal-of-the-month club sent you this in a plain brown wrapper - no matter what it actually does - would they EVER get it back?

They wouldn't! You know they wouldn't!

2

Case you're wondering, the non-orange part is polished stainless, Duesenberg (CAR!)-bumper thick and deep enough to swim in, the graphics retro-industrially etched. It's hard to photograph. No photo can do it justice.

But then, it doesn't ask for justice. It carves out its own.

4

The orange is baked-on enamel, smooth as your first lover's skin, and so thick you wanna lick it. (Or maybe that's just me.) The lightening holes are like an inside joke: the metal they're punched in is absolutely rigid (I can't deflect those walls which protect the knobs with ANY amount of squeeze pressure I can bring to bear), and the pedal weighs 1 lb 5 oz anyway. It feels like a brick.

The workmanship and detail are insane.

5

I care, Proteus. I care.

You don't, you're humoring me. But I appreciate it. In times like these, who else can we turn to?

6

That's very designer-y for a guy who hates G brands and bling.

Are you sure you can stand the Essence of Hipness?

7

As it's ex-British munitions Major Adrian “Thorpy” Thorpe, MBE’s perfected take on the Big Muff, it was originally dubbed The Muffroom Cloud. Apparently the Electro Harmonixists objected, so it's been re-monikered The Fallout Cloud. A bomb by any other name, though.

I suppose I'd marginally prefer the original, but now they're spensive.

8

Are you sure you can stand the Essence of Hipness?

It's the industrial utilitarianism and workmanship that redeem it from pure designerism.

Also, no amount of any essence can make me hip, so I'm free to like what I want.

10

Well I guess if you ever need a weapon to defend yourself with, at a gig, you'll have this.

11

I haven't even plugged it in yet. But even my blushing bride gushed "Oooh, that one's pretty!" I've already told her it's not going back to the Club.

There is some marginal utility and credible rationalization here, as if it sounds a mere fraction as good as it looks and feels, it ought to boot my Black Russian Muff off the board, creating more room and (if I sell the Black Russian, though how could one?), helping fund itself.

Man, I like my new pedal.

12

Howzit sound?

Fabulous!

Oh. I mean, I don't know yet. I'll report soon.

13

Well I guess if you ever need a weapon to defend yourself with, at a gig, you'll have this.

In more ways than one.

14

You've got my attention, as a lover of Russian Muff and dirt pedals with bass control. Go on, plug it in!

15

Man! Sounds like I'm going to keep it.

This will, of course, be like a report from the first night of a honeymoon, with a mate for whom you'd long lusted (only in your heart, though) but with whom you previously hadn't...well, mated...so take THAT for what it's worth.

But golly. It's many things. First off, though I'd read it said but had forgotten, the noise floor is ridiculously low. It doesn't sound like 20 pedals are turned on and idling when you engage it (without playing). It adds a little, because after all you're muffinfuzzing - but it's weirdly hi-fi quiet, with all that implies for dynamic range.

Then, yes, it's a Muff with tone controls. LOTS of bass on tap - which also seems to roll off south of noon. Treble not so roll-offy - more a smooth gradation from none to full on, which provides focus, bite, and clarity, but never quite gets to annoyingly thin and piercing on the high end (or disappears leaving mud on the low end). Gotta be lots of tones within the range of both - both for their own sakes, and simply to get classic Muff but in a way that cuts or lays in, as the case at hand may require.

It's maybe not as creamy as Russian Muff; I haven't A-B'd them yet. Will advise.

The Sustain control doesn't really get any fuzzier past noon or 1:00...but, per the label on the tin, it provides longer ... wait for it ... still waiting? ... sustaiaiaiaiain. Without a compressor, and at low volume, impressively long sustain.

And ridICulously smooth, consistent, and controlled. No spitting, no breaking apart when changing notes. Sweet singing long-lasting sustain. Articulation when you need it, but without the artifacts I always get between notes with most muffins.

I hesitate to call it polite - but it's a very professional Muff. It goes about its muffinizing business with no apparent effort, efficient and focused, without a PigPen cloud of sprayed dirt. I like messy fuzzes, and I have various flavors, so I don't need this for that. I'm happy to have a fully mature, refined, dare-I-say-it clean fuzz.

Not that it's not fuzzy, with the intermodulation overtonification you sometimes want. Richly involved 5ths, but also 3rds that don't disintegrate into incompatible overtone series and cancel themselves out.

AND - not that anyone uses a fuzz in the lower half of the dial, or - is this even legal? - with the gain/sustain all the way DOWN - but from 7:00 to noon, this behaves a bit like distortion rather than fuzz. I hesitate to say it's transparent or dynamically overdrivey - but at low settings it displays no ill fuzz humor, and is perfectly tractable for plain ol' dirt.

Most of all, music came out of it. Can't put my finger on it (maybe it's just the pedal endorphins released by the build and the quality), but it seemed to inspire ideas. Maybe because it effortlessly tracked moving notes against fixed intervals in progressions - that nothing I tried simply got lost in the frequent glorious din a nasty raunchy fuzz produces. The combination of the low noise floor and the articulation it maintains never thwarted or obscured any tenuous germs of ideas I stumbled into while playing, and instead let me hear them. Which just eggs a guy on, y'know, to keep trying stuff.

From the Dan & Mick demos - and the universal enthusiasm with which this pedal has been greeted - I'm assuming it comes as close to Muffclone as who-cares, so there's that. But it's on such another level that it's like a new thing - and there's other stuff in it besides.

But I guess a guy who wires explosives and designs munitions would attend to details, and it's surely the accumulation of countless details attended to which results in such refinement.

16

I love the look of it. I don't own a pedal board but I want one of those. I'd hate to use a hard soled shoe on it.

Congratulations Tim.

17

That’s brilliant! Congrats to ya, Tim!

18

Demo on YouTube by the Andertons crew with Major Thorpe. He has a whole bunch of pedals.

19

Howzit sound?

– Parabar

Yeah.....I'm breathlessly waiting.

20

Good. It sounds good.

21

Good Intro...Pedal Heads only!

But, that being honestly put forward, I still would like to touch it...

22

I need a demo, I'm not too keen its holy metal looking metal edges. but yes, Video time Tim! I want to hear some Muff roar! btw.. I recently sold a 68' 1st issue Big Muff for $900+ in 24hrs w 3 offers, and even the green russians are commanding a pretty penny. This little orange box looks a lot like my 90's Soldano Super Charger.. that thing was a beast!

23

You got me with PigPen. Who surely is a Fallout Cloud himself.

It's not at all unreasonable to appreciate something because it's so carefully conceived and finely executed. It tickles every sense but that of smell.

That it is also a super utility device to enhance your music is better still. Contrary to the aphorism- for musicians at least, some art is utterly useful.

24

Looks gorgeous. Amazing how the human (guitar player) senses are piqued by such works of art.

25

It tickles every sense but that of smell.

Oh no, it smells good too.


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