Designed by Bob Myer as part of Electro-Harmonix bossman Mike Matthews’ quest to nail Hendrix’s almighty live sound, the Big Muff crashed onto the scene in late ’69. It marked a considerable step forward from E-H’s original Fuzz Face inspired Muff Fuzz and was one of the key designs to take The Fuzz boldly into the next decade. Indeed, if the Maestros/Tonebenders/Fuzz Faces of the sixties were hot rods straight out of the garage, the Big Muff was a roaring Detriot muscle car.
Early adopters included John Lennon and Carlos Santana, whist in modern times I notice that Kevin Shields had one on his live pedal board for the recent My Bloody Valentine reunion. Widely regarded as the most "musical" and "articulate" version, it's no surprise that vintage Triangle prices are at the top of the list, with a good one setting you back around £300.
The 22/7 Triangle
Based on a 1970 "Triangle" (so called because of the triangular knob configuration), the clone is built to a high standard using heavy duty Neutrik jacks, Alpha pots and footswitch all wrapped up in a robust bare aluminium MXR-sized box and topped off with a stage-ready superbright clear-yellow LED. Matched NOS 2N5133 transistors bring the mojo. Some claim that these sound better on batteries, so a zinc chloride PP3 comes installed as well as the more convenient Boss-type 2.1mm centre -ve power jack. Switching is 100% true bypass, so it won’t sap your tone when off.
The 22/7 Triangle accurately captures the orginal's relative subtlety that makes for the most transparent and musical sounding of all Muffs. There's also more midrange to the Triangle which makes it work well in a band context and just fantastic for fat fuzzy rhythm playing. The Tone knob remains nice and usable right across the range without getting too muddy or too cutting at the extremes. Overall I'd say it's one hell of a creative tool - it's difficult to put down once you've started; recording the demo clips below turned into a very lengthy session. No Christmas cards from the neighbours this year...
All samples were recorded with a Line 6 Backtrack+mic, '75 Fender Musicmaster (low output vintage single coils), Laney LC15 valve amp set pretty clean.
- Some chunky rhythm playing on full sustain, with enough mids present to keep it defined
- Short riff with some single notes. Sustain still at full, tone around 3 o'clock
- Some more snappy rhythm playing, same settings as above
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A word of thanks must go to Kit Rae for his superbly researched and pretty definitive history of all things Muff.