EH J Mascis Big Muff

Let me start by saying yes, this IS the standard EH Rams Head re-issue from a few years ago. If you own one of them, this one looks a little cooler but sounds exactly the same. 

Which to some (probably most) will be a little disappointing if your chasing J's actual tone but all in all this is a fairly good RH as RHs go. Of course, there are many Rams Heads and as you probably know, the one that J has used since the late 80's is a little special and instantly sounds like Dinosaur Jr when you play it. I know this because, well, I have played with it both on stage through J's rig (at soundcheck) and here in my workshop and J has used my version both live and in practice over the years.

When I saw this was coming out, I was so excited for J who really has done more for the Big Muff than most and it was about time EH honoured him with his own version. I emailed J to congratulate him and looked at getting one to play with. 

It would have been nice if this was in the big box NYC re-issue box, and it would have been even nicer if it was more closely based on J's actual circuit but ... As soon as I got it, I plugged it in and knew straight away it wasn't J's circuit, which really is that noticeable compared to a lot of other RHs.

Then I took the bottom off to check out the circuit. I was initially disappointed as it wasn't even running the same transistors as J's original, which EH really could have done. I checked out a few key components with the PCB being a mix of surface mount and regular components and again, not much matched his original. 

So, I plugged it back in with a Fuzz Munchkin and a J Mascis Squier and made some noise, lots of noise.

I will take this opportunity to mention in passing that every review I've seen of these pedal mentions (rightly so) the Wren and Cuff Garbage Face with some saying it's the "first" or "only" signature version of J's original Big Muff? I can really only put this down to lazy journalism or the fact that I have never paid for advertising (reviews) with any of these publications, or maybe both?

Anyway, back to the pedal. 

While this is a cool sounding Rams Head, and it's made by the original designers and manufacturers of the pedal, and it's endorsed by J himself, it's not going to make you sound like J. J has always stated that buying the "right" pedal still won't make you sound like him, and he's right. 

There are lots of great sounding Rams Heads (and Big Muffs in general but as you know the RH is my favourite version of this circuit) and it's probably another completely new and bigger blog for me list my favourites but artwork (and association) aside, this is not one of my personal favourites. Apart from the several I make, including the Munchkin, the Maxon FEA10 and the DAM versions are probably 2 of my personal favourites. Of course, my Big Mud takes on this circuit are going to be some of my favourites. That's why I make them that way.

I'm by no means trying to talk you out of one of these EH versions. It's a great fuzz and EH deserve all the praise and recognition for designing and building the Big Muff in all its variants, but if you're after J's tone, there's others out there by a few boutique builders that will get you closer. having said that, I had to get one being a Dino Jr/J Mascis/Big Muff tragic and, I know J was excited to finally get a version with his name on it so that makes it worth owning. 

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