With its ability to serve up everything from crunchy pop and bluesy
boosts to full-throttled hard rock, the original T-Rex Mudhoney has
become something of a favorite among fuzz fans. In many ways,
though, the Mudhoney’s versatility could be frustrating, at least on
stage, where there isn’t always time to tinker with your settings.
Enter the Mudhoney II. As the name suggests, the Mudhoney II packs
two Mudhoney circuits into a single stompbox—a design that enables
you to effectively switch from clean boost modes to nastier distortion
settings without adding a second pedal.
Double Your Control
While the Mudhoney II essentially doubles the control set of the first
version, there are a few extra features. Each channel sports the Level,
Gain, and Tone controls you’d find on an original Mudhoney, though
they are reconfigured in a vertical array and the Tone control is now an
illuminated mini knob. But each channel also features a Boost switch
that replaces the Boost button on the old Mudhoney.
The pedal is on the compact side for a 2-channel unit, measuring 7 1/4"
deep and just under 4" wide. The battery compartment is located on the
bottom of the case, and In, Out and 9V DC jacks are situated at the rear.
The controls are easy to read under stage lighting and mini chicken-head
knobs on the Level and Gain controls facilitate precise adjustments. The
two Tone knobs sit atop amber LEDs and glow when a given channel is
switched on. These knobs are essentially transparent plastic shafts and
they appear dangerously close to their respective footswitches (especially
for players like me who get pretty animated when the distortion is on), but
are obviously quite easy to see when a given channel is switched on.
I’m a big fan of tube amp distortion. And as such, I often grow
fatigued with the sound of solid-state stompboxes. But that certainly
did not happen with the Mudhoney II. I found my own sweet spot with
gain settings in the 1 to 4 o’clock range, where I could summon good
hard-rock distortion with plenty of muscle and minimal compression.
Wide open, the pedal does not quite achieve full-tilt metal grind—it
simply retains too much tonal clarity and depth for 21st-century metal
saturation. Instead, high-gain settings induce totally luscious distortion
with excellent harmonic range and depth. Sustain was impressive, without
the waver or fractured tails you’ll sometimes hear at high saturation
levels. And the fuzz wrapped itself around chords and notes nicely
without suffocating them.
In overdrive applications, the Mudhoney II’s bite and crunch were
pleasing and very complementary to my amp’s natural overdrive. Little
tweaks of the tone knob added welcome boosts in the upper mids
without cutting bottom end. And while the Boost switch was neither
transparent nor totally clean, I usually preferred to leave it on to add
girth to the various distortion settings.
The T-Rex Mudhoney II covers a lot of overdrive terrain—sounding sweet
everywhere along the path between subtle overdrive and full distortion.
I preferred its fat, complex, and singing distortions at the higher gain
settings, but the lower settings were very useful and musical, adding
welcome bite to otherwise clean tube-amp tones. The 2-channel/1-pedal
concept is brilliant for those who have crowded pedalboards and a broad
appetite for distortion. And while it makes for a crowded pedal face (and
the risk of a broken tone knob), that’s a small price to pay for the kind of
flexibility the Mudhoney II delivers.
you need two flavors of quality distortion
in your rig.
you need full-tilt metal distortion or