The Foo Fighters’ frontman once took my Les Paul at a Halloween gig and played it onstage, with glee, for 90 minutes. But his new autobiography is full of better stories and plenty of wisdom.

“Life is just too damn short to let someone else’s opinion steer the wheel.”
Dave Grohl, The Storyteller

In 2013, I was playing a Halloween party at Paul Allen’s Beverly Hills home/studio. It was a surreal gig, playing “Season of the Witch” with Donovan while supermodels, musicians, titans of industry, and celebrities like Sacha Baron Cohen, Dan Aykroyd, and Gina Gershon weaved around the packed yet spacious and spooky dance floor. Right in front of me, dressed like an Amish farmer, was Dave Grohl bobbing his head to the music. I held out my guitar to him and shouted, “DO YOU WANT TO PLAY?” He shrugged his shoulders like, “why not,” jumped onstage, took my Les Paul, and proceeded to play for 90 minutes, pretty much nailing every cover song requested by the crowd.

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A triangle-style Muff homage dishes white-hot sounds alongside unexpected fuzz shapes and colors.

Screaming classic Muff tones and fuzz surprises throughout the gain range. Thoughtful, imaginative build. Looks awesome.

Fans of smooth, Sovtek-style maximum saturation might find max-gain settings relatively harsh.


Wren and Cuff The Good One


A vintage circuit detective’s life isn’t exactly that of a Benedictine monk. But to decode what makes vintage Big Muffs tick, you inevitably give away many hours of your life. For Matt Holl’s part in this sacrifice, players can reliably experience choice and unique vintage Muff tones in the form of his well-built and often vintage-handsome Wren and Cuff pedals. Holl fully embraces the idiosyncrasies in Big Muffs, and the potential of those quirks. His Forest Through The Trees (formerly known as the De La Riva), for example, employs 20 DIP switches for moving between gain transistors, clipping diodes, biasing, and just about every other component in the circuit. The Garbage Face, meanwhile, creatively replicates the drifting and very irregular component values in J Mascis’ original Ram’s Head Muff. Each pedal reflects Holl’s understanding that old Big Muffs are individuals, and that the key to a pedal’s appeal can lurk in unexpected places.

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Gain is fun in all its forms, from overdrive to fuzz, but let’s talk about a great clean tone.

We’re all here for one thing. It’s the singular sound and magic of the stringed instrument called the guitar—and its various offshoots, including the bass. Okay, so maybe it’s more than one thing, but the sentiment remains. Even as I write this, my thoughts fan out and recognize how many incarnations of “guitar” there must be. It’s almost incomprehensible. Gut-string, nylon-string, steel-string, 12-string, 8-string, 10-string, flatwound, brown sound, fuzztone…. It’s almost impossible to catalog completely, so I’ll stop here and let you add your favorites. Still, there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: clean tone.

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Fig. 1

Here’s a different way to unleash the beast within your tracks.

Welcome to another Dojo. Last month I explained in detail how to set up and use sidechain compression techniques to get that classic pop/EDM pumping sound on your rhythm guitar parts and other instruments in your mix. This time, we’ll use the same setup techniques but, instead of sidechaining a compressor, I’m going to show you the benefits of using a gate.

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