007 | JHS Muffuletta: A Closer Look at this 6-way Fuzz Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Welcome to episode number seven of the Sonic Renegades podcast, where we're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for discussion today is JHS Muffuletta Fuzz Pedal. This is actually a really fun pedal with six fuzz options. You really can't go wrong with it and we're going to unpack it in today's episode. See you on the other side.
Hey everybody, Scott Schwertly here with Siren.

Austin Bryan:
Hey guys, Austin Bryan with Siren Pedals.

Scott Schwertly:
We're going to be talking about JHS's Muffuletta pedal. I love this one, Austin. It's a fun one.

Austin Bryan:
Black and yellow, it's a Muff Master. A master of Muffs.

Scott Schwertly:
Yes, for sure. When I first got this pedal a while back, I had so much fun just playing with all the different options that are on it, and yeah, we're looking forward to talking to you about what those exact options are.

Austin Bryan:
It's really cool. Scott. Having a mode switch where you can actually change into each position and select a different style and type of Big Muff with the original components in there, too cool, too cool.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's very cool and it hasn't really been around that long. I think 2015 is when this bad boy came out, right?

Austin Bryan:
2015, but man, what a concept. Taking original circuits, like original Big Muff models, and taking each of those circuits and copying those and putting them into one pedal where you can select whatever muff of your choosing, your flavor, what you want, got all those options there.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So for those folks that are new to the whole idea of the Big Muff, a little bit of background on that, it actually goes back to Mike Matthews and Electro-Harmonix and they're creating their famous Big Muff Pi pedal. So this Muffuletta pedal that we're talking about right now basically has taken the different variations of that Big Muff over the last several years, probably 20, 30 years.

Austin Bryan:
Decades, yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
And have taken the five classic versions of the famous Big Muff Pi pedal and have basically put all those five tones within this one pedal, in addition including a sixth option, which is JHS's own version of the Big Muff Pi sound.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah, it's crazy. Decades of Big Muff tones in one box and, looking at one here in front of us, so yeah, you've got ... going from right to left, which is also how we'll be doing this demo here later. If you go all the way to the far right, you have the JHS mode, which is their take on the classic Big Muff circuit. It's been described as a more powerful, less compressed sound, but great for bass guitar. That's one thing that's been really noted about that. So, pretty big sound, all of these have their own unique flavors, so try each one out, set the same settings, go through each one and find which mode speaks to you. The next one is the Ram's Head, the 73 Ram's Head, which-

Scott Schwertly:
That's your personal favorite, right?

Austin Bryan:
I love that. I actually have JHS's rendition that they made a limited number of, of the 73 Ram's head And it's one of my favorite versions of the Big muff because it has a really nice scooped mid range, has a little less gain and a darker tone, but I just find it's really versatile and it really, really cuts, which I really love about that.

The next mode on there's the triangle, which, speaking of the Ram's Head and the Triangle, Electro-Harmonix just reissued Nano versions of those pedals. So it's really cool. So the Triangle mode, it gives you more low end and it's a little more articulate and that's the first iteration in the first version of the Big Muff, is what that's based from. The next mode is the Pi, which is very aggressive and basically what you would find in more of the New York style, Big Muff fuzzes that are out there.

The next is the Russian, which is a crazy awesome '90s staple pedal, that's basically the Green Russian-

Scott Schwertly:
Isn't EarthQuaker Device's Hoof based off the Russian? I believe it is.

Austin Bryan:
Yes and this actually is capturing more ... This is either capturing more of that, the Green Russian center is getting more towards that Black Russian Big Muff, which both of those have their own differences. But I think Josh there, is trying to capture that the best of the Russian sound, which is really cool. Yeah and then there's a lot of different takes that have been done on the Russian, a lot of different companies have. The last mode is the Civil War, which has more mid range. It's been described to having a brighter, overall tone and less gain. I'm starting to really like that a little more to my taste than the Ram's Head actually because it's a cool sound.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, obviously I'm a huge fan of the Civil War and in fact, it's inspired our very own Midnight Train pedal. So obviously I have a little bit of a bias on that one. So love the Civil War, I've always loved the Civil War, so yeah, definitely inspired us to-

Austin Bryan:
Love the Midnight Train.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Austin Bryan:
Cool. Yeah, overall having all those modes in, having JHS's own independent mode as well, it's incredibly versatile and having the volume, having the sustain and the tone controls, just having those three, like you would on all those Big Muff models, makes it simple.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So I mean really lots of history and options all in one box, which again, just makes it ... if you love fuzz, you'll have fun just playing on this pedal because you can do so many things all from one device, which is ... Yeah, it's definitely a keeper for sure.

So we're going to then talk about artists that actually like having all these options at their disposal. I know there's several really famous musicians out there that use it. Noel Gallagher being one, Emily Wolfe, Josh Klinghoffer, formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, these folks all have it on their pedal board.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. Emily Wolfe actually got hers as a gift from Gary Clarke Jr. which is so cool in the pedal world to hear those stories, it's really brings things full circle when you hear that. So, Chris Shiflett from the Foo Fighters and Mark Hoppus from Blink-182, they said he had one in his rig. Butch Walker, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, incredible bassist, he's got one in his rig. So yeah, I mean across the board, if you're looking for fuzz, these are all different artists of various styles and they're incorporating this into their pedal board and into the rigs for various shows, various tours and various records.

Scott Schwertly:
So when you think about a pedal that is this popular, obviously used by a lot of famous musicians, lot of great options, again, so much history in one box, it really does make it hard to pinpoint any flaws or weaknesses. I guess if there's one recurring theme that I see across the web and things I've heard from other folks, it's probably the price tag on this. It's not incredibly expensive. I think it brand new, it runs around $229, but you can get great fuzz pedals for maybe half that price. I think just your standard Big Muff Pi is roughly 99 bucks, on Reverb, Sweetwater, or wherever you choose to buy it. So some people do get a little bit frustrated with it with the price point. But other than that, I haven't really been able to pinpoint too many flaws about it.

Austin Bryan:
Well, another thing to think about is you're getting so many different modes and you're getting several different variations of Big Muff into one pedal. So it's one way you can look at the price tag in different ways, but for somebody starting out maybe, that's wanting to just get into the world of fuzz for the first time, they might want to go with something simpler and a little bit cheaper. For somebody that's maybe not someone who tinkers around a lot with tone, having a mode switch might be too much, that's just something to think about. But overall, it's pretty much capturing all of those classics into one box.

Scott Schwertly:
It was really easy for me to rationalize my purchase of this pedal just because of all those different options was thinking, "Man, if I'm going to get six different sounds really for 200 bucks or so, 200 and some change, it's not that bad of a deal." In fact, you get a lot for that price tag.

Austin Bryan:
And it's reliable, you get a pedal that's backed by JHS, Joshua, Scott and his team, they've got a great reputation for building some very solid and reliable pedals. So buying a pedal of this caliber and at this price, you're definitely getting your money's worth, for sure.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So I'm sure, probably one of the questions that's out there right now, if you don't have this pedal in your possession is does it maintain the same character that you would get with just let's say a single unit, or maybe one of the originals and generally speaking, as someone who actually has this pedal, I think it's pretty close. Are you going to get 100%, exact capturing of the character of some of the originals? No, but it's dang close.

Austin Bryan:
Oh yeah. I mean to somebody who's really just trying to get as many different fuzz options as they can, but want to stay in the world of the Big Muff, this is where to go. It's one of those things we're sitting down with this pedal, you really want to play around with it, fine tune it, spend some time getting to know each and every circuit a little bit and see which one could give you that fuzz tone that you've been seeking, but maybe didn't know existed.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, for sure. It's definitely a great pedal to even borrow from a friend where, I mean, you can kind of be like, "Okay, which one of these six things, six options do I really like?" Then if you find one that just really stands out, you find yourself always just staying on that setting, then go out and buy the pedal that's actually focused on that one but again, I think the difference between them would be not really that significant. So again, it's just a great pedal to have within your arsenal.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah and it's awesome. I mean, versatility is this pedal's strength because you've got the JHS mode, which is really good and set for bass and then you've got other iterations based on different mid range, different gain, and a lot of little factors there with the high end or the low end, to really center in, on depending on whether you play, sludgy, stoner rock, or if you're playing, really straightforward, maybe passages that you just need to kick this on every once in a while. There's something here for everybody in this little black box with yellow knobs.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely. So let's go ahead and actually put this pedal to the test here. We're going to go ahead and demo this Muffuletta and so you can explore and experience what these different tone options sound like. As a quick recap, we're going to start on the far right-hand side of the pedal. So, just run through these really quick. So we're going to spend just a few seconds on JHS's settings, then the Ram's Head, the Triangle, the Pi, the Russian, and then we're going to conclude with a segment from the Civil War. So, take a listen and we hope you like what you hear.

Austin Bryan:
All right. First up we got the JHS mode, which is considered more powerful, less compressed and great on bass. Next up, we got the Ram's Head, the 73 Ram's Head, which has a scooped mid range, little less gain, and overall a darker tone.

All right, now we've got the Triangle. So a little more low end and a little more articulate than the others.

Next is the Pi, the New York Pi, very aggressive. This tone has a really nice and aggressive tone.

The Russian, less clarity, overall huge tone and a classic.

So, the last one. Last but not least is the Civil War. So you have here a little more mid range, a brighter overall tone and a little less gain. Different, awesome fuzz tones in one box. There you have it.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's awesome. I love it. I do not regret that purchase at all. It's a good one.

Austin Bryan:
Big Muff, Big Muff, Big Muff, Big Muff, Big Muff, Big Muff.

Scott Schwertly:
And Big Muff.

Austin Bryan:
All of it.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. Well, join us next time. As we're going to be talking about Electro-Harmonix's Q-Tron.

Austin Bryan:
Q-Tron.

Scott Schwertly:
... pedal. If you're not familiar with the Q-Tron, think about songs like John Mayer's Wildfire or Rosie, or even Red Hot Chili Peppers' Higher Ground.

Austin Bryan:
Oh yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
Probably thinking about those tones right now, that's the Q-Tron. We're looking forward to unpacking that one for you guys next time. All right, until then, we'll catch you later.

Austin Bryan:
See you later.

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