Sure, Mascis has been associated with other fuzz pedals in the past. Notably the Wren and Cuff Garbage Face, but, as the alt-rock icon says himself, “the Muff is always on.” His house is a veritable museum of rare and vintage Muff, so it makes perfect sense for the bods at Electro-Harmonix to make a signature Muff just for him.
Mascis’s signature Big Muff is finished in white and violet, with his John Hancock on the front of the enclosure, and available exclusively through Reverb.
The Ram’s Head Big Muff Pi is based on his 1973 Electro-Harmonix V2 Violet Ram’s Head Big Muff Pi, and features a trio of controls for Volume, Tone and Sustain.
As Mascis notes in the video, he learned how to play guitar and effects at the same time. In many respects, his interface into the world of guitar tone was via the control setup of a Deluxe Big Muff.
“The Deluxe Big Muff was the first one I had,” says Mascis. “The first got stolen, then I got another Deluxe, which was hard without Reverb or the internet. I found one guy somewhere who had one. I traded him a Music Man head for the Big Muff, which everyone thought it was insane at the time. But it was my sound. I needed it.”
The Ram’s Head came soon after and both would make it onto his pedalboard. As is often the way with fuzz addicts, one is never enough.
But then the Ram’s Head Pi is a fuzz that typically plays nicely with other drive pedals, balancing thick sustain with note clarity – crucial qualities for Mascis’s process of layering gain stages for ever richer and thicker textures.
The J Mascis Ram’s Head Big Muff Pi takes a 9V battery or pedalboard power supply, is true bypass, and is is available now, via – where else? – Reverb, and is priced $131.50. Head over to Reverb (opens in new tab) to grab one.