A thunderous, ripping riff on the Ram’s Head theme.
Cutting, open, and airy fuzz that communicates chord detail and packs a punch.
You can, ostensibly, buy the same pedal without a signature and with less fancy paint for 17 bucks less.
Electro-Harmonix J Mascis Ram's Head Big Muff Pi
If there is a single quality that distinguishes the music of Dinosaur Jr., it is the band’s knack for wedding brute force to heart-wrenching melodicism. And though much is made of the band’s volume, the most important pillars in Dinosaur Jr.’s musical architecture are the deceptively tuneful sensibilities of songwriter and guitarist J Mascis.
Mascis and Dinosaur Jr.’s ability to graft Gene Clark’s sense of song to Motorhead’s megatonnage is a trick that can feel just short of sorcery. And as anyone who has tried can attest, communicating nuanced, beautiful melodies and moods through a haze of fuzz damage is not easy. For starters, you need a fuzz that doesn’t crumble under the harmonic weight of a first position chord. Strangely, given its capacity for sheer horsepower, an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff is pretty good at that task. Where other archetypal fuzzes like Tone Benders and Fuzz Faces tend to turn to a spitty mess when you play a C chord, a Big Muff stays surprisingly cohesive. This capacity for clarity and potency caught J Mascis’ ear in the earliest days of Dinosaur Jr.’s evolution. And as much as any other factor, the Muff became a critical underpinning of Mascis’ live sound.
The J Mascis version offers heaps of the balanced but scorching tone colors that make the music of Dinosaur Jr. so melodically monstrous.
Electro-Harmonix elected to celebrate Mascis’ allegiance to the Big Muff with a signature variation of the Nano Ram’s Head. That’s no small matter: In EHX’s long, storied history, this is the company’s first signature edition. Appropriately, the J Mascis does not disappoint. It does everything the already awesome Ram’s Head Big Muff does. That’s little surprise given that EHX tells us there is no significant difference between a regular Ram’s Head circuit (in its current guise) and the Mascis version. I played the two side by side for a long time and swear I heard a more present high-end and a touch more buzzsaw aggression in the J Mascis. Your results—or perceptions—may vary. Either way, the J Mascis version offers heaps of the balanced but scorching tone colors that make the music of Dinosaur Jr. so melodically monstrous.
Vive Le Différence
As is noted often in Premier Guitar, there is no definitive Ram’s Head Big Muff. Inconsistencies in components during the original run make the likelihood of any two Muffs sounding identical pretty slim. Even Mascis’ own favorite original Muff is an oddball, with wildly drifting component values that have thrown obsessive circuit detectives like Matt Holl for a loop.
Those inconsistencies aren’t generally an issue these days. And admittedly the differences I heard when comparing the J Mascis version to my own current-issue Ram’s Head were small. At times I wondered if they were attributable to inconsistent potentiometers or some other factor. At other times, I became less sure that they even existed at all. But if pressed, I’ll stand by my assertion that the Mascis—at least at my preferred range of gain and tone settings (anywhere between 1 o’clock and maximum)—is both a little more buzzily aggressive and clearer in the high midrange. Perhaps the lesson here is to try both versions, or a few of each, in the flesh and let your ears decide.
There are many musical styles suited to the J Mascis Ram’s Head tone profile. Dave Gilmour fans that love his extra-grindy tone from live Animals tour bootlegs will seriously dig the way it both growls and soars with extra attitude. It also generates high-gain variations on psych-punk ’66 fuzz colors that would make a Super Fuzz blush. And high-desert-dwelling Iommis will love its doomful mass.
Whether or not you choose to spend an extra 17 bucks to acquire a J Mascis Ram’s Head rather than a regular EHX Ram’s Head will probably be down to the degree of your Dinosaur Jr. fandom, your completist tendencies as a Big Muff collector, or your preference for purple-on-white paint schemes. But while EHX insists that this circuit is identical to the less expensive Ram’s Head, I heard enough difference to underscore the notion that—even in times of tighter-than-ever manufacturing and component standards—small differences can exist among similar pedals, and that it pays to try a few out. Whatever the baseline, the J Mascis Ram’s Head Big Muff positively cooks for a 132 dollar fuzz, and is more than capable of the detail and copious power that made the Big Muff an indispensable part of the Dinosaur Jr. formula in the first place.
Electro-Harmonix J Mascis Signature Ram's Head Big Muff Pi Demo | First Look
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.