Ever since the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff
was first introduced in 1969, it has been
a polarizing stompbox. Reviled by some
and hailed by others as the Golden God of
fuzz, the Big Muff—in its various EHX and
Sovtek incarnations—has had a hand in
shaping some of the mightiest tones in rock
history. Numerous companies now offer
clones and DIY kits that replicate the sound
of the Big Muff at virtually every stage of its
evolution. Mojo Hand FX, however, based
its Colossus Fuzz on the Sovtek Big Muffs
of the early ’90s, which until recently tended
to be regarded as the homely stepsister of
the Big Muff family.
More Mojo Control
Unlike an old Sovtek Muff, which has
controls for Volume, Sustain, and Tone,
the Colossus has four knobs—Tone, Gain,
Volume, and a fourth labeled Mid, and
each has a considerable impact on the tone.
The Colossus will get very bass heavy when
the Tone control is turned counterclockwise,
but will serve up plenty of treble on
the opposite end of the dial. Players who’ve
been frustrated by the lack of tonal range in
some Big Muffs will be especially excited by
the Colossus’ Mid control. Some Muffs—
especially the Sovtek versions—can get
lost in a band setting, but rolling up some
of the Mids on the Colossus finds
the pedal cutting like a firebrand
through the mix. You won’t be at a
loss for level either. At 75-percent
full, the Volume provides more than
enough output for burning leads.
Apart from the Mid control,
the real secret weapon on this fuzz
ship is a 3-way voicing switch
mounted between the four knobs.
Flipped straight up, there’s a hint
of bass cut. The middle position
emphasizes the mids and seems to
give the Mid control itself a little
more focus, and the down position
gives a kick to the low-mids. This
extra control is great if you move
between amplifier types or singlecoils
and humbuckers, and the
switch helps you compensate for
low- or high-end emphasis in your
rig without sacrificing any of the
fuzzy heft in the Colossus’ voice.
Mojo Hand FX took some care
in designing this piece, which is evident
not only in the psychedelic art
and rugged construction, but also
under the hood as well. The guts
aren’t too cluttered, there’s ample
space for the 9V battery (the pedal
also has a 9V barrel input), and the
jacks are well shielded. This is a totally
I tested the Colossus with a Gibson Les
Paul and a Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue.
Starting with the toggle switch in the downmost
position and a boost in the Mids and
Tone, I was treated to a very explosive, classic
Russian Muff lead—big across the whole
tone spectrum and huge in the bottom end.
Pulling down some of the Gain rounds off
the tone, which is a little more reminiscent
of older Muffs. The Les Paul was perfect for
this pedal, with the hot humbuckers jetting
the fuzz into desert-rock bliss. Flicking the
toggle switch up and adding some extra
gain was like taking a trip on Ted Nugent’s
tour bus in the late ’70s.
At $149, the Colossus is a great find and
a pretty solid deal for anyone on the hunt
for Sovtek Muff tone in a sturdier package.
But when the EQ toggle and Mid
control are used carefully, the Colossus
also does a fair job of approximating older
Muff tones. It may not quite be the beall,
end-all in the quest for vintage Muff
replacement as Mojo Hand claims, but it’s
much more affordable than vintage units.
The Colossus will cough up the goods for
everyone from Gilmour fans seeking butter
smooth Pulse-era tones to stoner-rock
aficionados who jam in basements adorned
with black-light posters, making this one
very wide-ranging fuzz.
you’re fed up with a shadowy midrange in Muffs.
you like the archaic vibe of vintage Muffs.