Big Bottom/Civil War Mud with Overdrive

This one started out A LONG time ago when Dean Turner was still around and I introduced him to a band called Violent Soho. Dean was in a band called Magic Dirt and he was the only person I knew at the time that might be able to help these guys move onto bigger and better things. I called him up and said he should come to Brisbane to see these guys and maybe work with them as I figured he'd "get it". He said "I don't fly interstate to see bands" ............ 

Anyway, I convinced him to come to Brisbane to see them play at the Troubadour and he was instantly as taken as I was and a relationship was formed between the three of us.

Over the years he worked with them on their sound, managing and helping them with advice and support. I had worked with Dean on the Big Bottom and eventually the Big Bottom V2, which I didn't get into production before he died and is one of my biggest regrets not working harder to let him see this pedal come to fruition. He had been integral in designing the BB1 and BB2 with input and advice on how it should work. He also named it from a great Spinal Tap reference. Dean passed away in 2009 and left a gaping hole in the music industry and the band he had started with Ad in the early nineties. 

Luke from Soho had used the Big Bottom on Violent Soho recordings and I'd always meant to make him one but the time never appeared and it became a low priority for me as I got busier and busier. Luke had also used Raul's Civil War era BM on We Don't Belong Here with Deans Big Bottom, so when It came time to finally just take a day off and make him something, this is what came to mind.

My Civil War Big Mud is a clone of Rauls as everyone I spoke to said it was the best they'd heard and Dean used it on recordings he worked on in Melbourne for that reason. I remember Dean telling me about it back when I didn't really get BMs (yeah, right?) and I'd always loved Rauls live sound in Magic Dirt. 

This is the two "Magic Dirt" pedals put into one enclosure with a few options for tone shaping and an overdrive added as Luke uses OD in his set up. 

 

The signal comes in and gets fed directly into the Big Bottom input. This splits the signal into "tops" and "bottoms" and sends the bottom out as a clean signal. The "tops" go to the effects loop to be processed by any guitar effects without loosing the bottom end. The Civil War Mud is in this top end signal and can be switched on and off within the loop. I added some special features to this one I haven't offered before as I know (I think?) what Luke wants in a distortion. 

I added a three way tone stack to the standard BM circuit giving individual low pass and high pass filters (bass and treble) and a mid switch that takes the normally scooped mid BM circuit and makes it a flat frequency response. This gives a VERY versatile tone stack while keeping the original tone intact if wanted. I also added a silicon/LED clipping switch as I know a lot of bass players who love the LED clipping tone. It's "cleaner" and tends to have more bottom end.

The signal then goes to a switch that lets you run the pedal as a Big Bottom/Big Mud/OD or introduces an effects loop post Big Mud so you can add more pedals to the Big Bottom. The Effects Level adjusts the amount of this signal fed into the clean bottom end which is adjusted with the Volume knob.

  

I texted Luke and asked if he ran his OD before the Fuzz or the other way 'round. He texted back and said "never on together" This gave me an idea.

The OD in this is based on my ODP666 circuit which is the great little DOD250 Overdrive/Preamp. I know bass players use these and it's especially "famous" for being used by Al Cisneros from OM/Sleep/Shrinebuilder and his tone is alright :) The OD doesn't go through the Big Bottom and is just used as a standard "guitar" OD like Al, and other bass players I know use it.

 

The footswitch in the middle switches between the OD and the Big Bottom/Mud so you can just toggle directly from one to the other. This suited Luke as he never ran them together so they didn't need to stack in any particular order.  

The other pedals I'd built for James and Luke from Violent Soho were meant as space savers or pedal board replacements for touring but this was more of an experiment to see if these tones worked for Luke, either live or in the studio. The Dean Turner/Magic Dirt link was an important one of this design to me, and Luke. He was a huge influence on both of us from different angles and I'd like to think if he was still alive I'd be building things like this for him to play with ?

 

Thanks to Luke and Dean for making my world a better place.

OP AMP MUD MADNESS

Aug 15 2014 Written By: Tim Brennan