Big Muff Pi has been around for a very long time. Most guitar players know this name for being a quintessential dist box family. However, there’s also a version that is easily among the best distortion pedals for bass guitars. It goes under the name of Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff.
Electro-Harmonix is one of those brands that has a unique style when it comes to their products. Back in the day when they first became popular, the type of chassis EH used was fairly common. Today, that simple design has become somewhat of a trademark for this brand. Bass Big Muff Pi boasts the very same aesthetic that you can see on other Muff pedals on the market. It is not a double wide chassis, but the body of Bass Big Muff is definitely wider than your regular stomp box. In terms of finishes and graphics, EH went with a basic green background over unfinished metal texture. As always, the pedal is a tank. You can put it through its paces and not worry about it. Following the already familiar pattern, all of the inputs and outputs are located on the side panels.
One thing that has surprised us about Bass Big Muff Pi is how basic the controls are. They come in form of three knobs and a switch, on top of the bypass foot switch at the bottom. Many brands include a three-band EQ or at least a two-band one. Not EH. Going from left to right we see a Volume knob followed by a Tone knob and a Sustain knob. Volume is self explanatory, while Tone knob is basically a the EQ. Turning it reveals an EQ curve that goes from a thin sound to a very thick one. The switch we have mentioned has three positions. Up top we have Bass Boost, middle position is Normal and bottom position is Dry. This switch doesn’t exactly let you choose different types of distortion, but it has a tangible impact on your tone.
When you plug the Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff into your signal chain, you will notice some things. First and foremost, the pedal is full of gain. It makes your bass sound massive while preserving a great deal of definition. Playing around with the sustain knob can yield a variety of results, most of which are simply awesome. In terms of shaping the distortion, there isn’t really much you can do. With that said, most users don’t feel the need to change anything considering how meaty and thick this pedal sounds. One thing you can change is the amount of low end boost. If you feel that you are lacking some bass saturation, choosing the Bass Boost setting on the toggle switch can fill that gap up quite nicely. Bass Big Muff isn’t the most versatile pedal out there, but it makes up for that with a massive tone.
Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff brings a lot of that classic flavor we have grown to love with this series of dist boxes. From a bass player’s point of view, it offers plenty of gain tow ork with. Overall, it’s an easy pedal to control. At this price, it’s a steal.