This was one of those "what the ......." moments for me. Although I'd been friends with J Mascis for years and done lots of work for him when he's down in this part of the world, I still consider myself a "hobby" pedal builder and to make J's first fully endorsed fuzz pedal, was, for me, amazing. J owns a few of my pedals and seems to like what my business stands for and if you've made it this far in the blog you probably know the story of the Fuzz Munchkin, but if you don't , here it is.
Not being part of the "pedal community" I really didn't know what to expect. I don't belong to any forums or message boards and I (in)famously don't believe in online demos. I really didn't know how .......... devoted, these people are. It's both endearing and a little scary.
The reaction of the Fuzz Munchkin certainly took me by surprise. I thought they'd be well accepted, but I thought "MAYBE" the first batch of 40 or so would cause a bit of a feeding frenzy and then it would settle down a little ? As of writing this story I've sold 80 of the planned 300 and those four batches have sold out in under a minute each time. While the positivity of the pedal has been great, it has also bought out some negativity in people scrambling, complaining and abusing over it's limited release and inaccessibility. It's obvious these people have not read the blog story accompanying the release or can not understand how and why it has been done this way but I've done all I can to resolve this and I still believe the positive FAR outweighs the negative. I've had the best feedback from genuinely excited players who love the Munchkin and all it's extras.
Suffice to say that the Fuzz Munchkin is a clone of J's main live Big Mvff he's owned and used since 1987 and yes, it sounds different to other mid to late 70's Big Mvffs, as many others do also. This is just the one J prefers. He owns quite a few Big Mvffs from this era and as he's said on many occasions, this one sounds different to all the others. It's why he's always used THIS ONE over others, and why he asked me to clone it. I'm not saying there's not more out there the same as J's, but it's not a common circuit as obviously J hasn't heard another one like it.
It's a mid/late model Ram Head BM with some "transition" (i.e. quality control) component values shared between the Ram head and the V3, which was released about a year later. As has been said, EH consistency was at it's lowest around this period and after talking at length with J about it, he says some of his original vintage BMs from this period are just terrible.
The feedback from other genuine BM fans so far has been great. People who own lots of vintage Mvffs have commented on how it sounds "different" to all their other BMs. They comment on the clarity and harmonics of it, and how loud it is. I know of at least three people who have both the Munchkin and one of my Ram Heads on their pedal board and say they're different enough to use both. I'm proud of the Munchkin and will be forever grateful that J gave me this opportunity.
Next up is a clone of another BM I didn't personally have a lot of interest in but have been pleasantly surprised after reverse engineering a couple of originals.