A most-coveted Sovtek-era Muff-style circuit lives again in a sliky-smooth and brutally bossy homage.
Positively creamy and growling harmonic distortion. Beautifully built. Looks so freaking cool.
Pretty expensive for a Muff.
Once dismissed as might-as-well-be-paperweights in the Big Muff ranks, Sovtek-era Muffs have, over the last decade, become legends in their own right. The reverence is well deserved. Neo-psychedelic and stoner-rock dealers savor a Russian Muff 's ability to unite silky smooth harmonic content and super-rude crunch, while lead players savor the cello-like, singing musicality and sustain.
Those qualities apply to just about every Russian Big Muff in some measure. But to most fans of the breed, the Civil War— named for it's blue-and-silver color scheme and 19th century fontstyle graphics—is the king of them all. That reputation benefited, no doubt, by association with David Gilmour and it's quite likely that its status as one of the coolest-looking stompboxes ever helped seal the deal. Wren and Cuff, who are passionate and scientific about all things Big Muff, definitely grasp the visual and sonic essence of the Civil War. And their own take, the Box of War, is about as cool looking and sweet sounding a Civil War clone as you'll find.
Dressed to Kill
It's an unsung aspect of stompbox craft—especially in these space-conscious, cram-your-pedalboard-to-overflowing times—but there is an artistry and aesthetic to stompbox design that's helped make a lot of the classics doubly so. The Electro-Harmonix and Sovtek Big Muffs—in just about every iteration—are heavy on visual appeal. And though Wren and Cuff didn't replicate the humongous dimensions of the original Civil War with the Box of War, they co-opted some essential design cues and lent some inspired touches of their own. The two-piece metal enclosure evokes the original with its painted shell. But it cleverly borrows the wedge shape of the original Univox Super-Fuzz and shrinks the footprint into a much more compact design that looks boss among a sea of brick-like effects. The graphics pay very respectful homage to the Civil War—borrowing the split, two-tone, Old West-style font and little details like the "made in the UNITED STATES" on the lower-right corner, which is arranged precisely like the "made in RUSSIA" on the original. Crack open the Box of War's shell and the attention to fit, finish, and detail is plain to see. It's not precious handiwork either. The Box of War looks clean and built to last.
Rude, Bossy, and Butter Smooth
If our test Box of War is any indication, Wren and Cuff won't have to deal with irate, circuit nerds complaining that the sounds don't match the stitches. The Box of War is just about one of the creamiest-sounding Russian Muffs—clone or otherwise—that you can plug into. It captures the basic tone signature of the Civil War—thick, wooly, and fat in the low end, but with a pronounced cat-growl in the midrange that makes it sound quite smooth, even at aggressive levels of distortion. Where the Box of War differs from a lot of clones—and keep in mind that classic, clone, vintage, and modern Muffs can all vary—is its exceptionally even and silky distortion voice. Barre chords that tend to sound so much like mush and mud at heavy levels of distortion retain remarkable levels of detail when filtered through the Box of War. If you like your power pop particularly powerful, the Box of War is up for the task, and it can handle the harmonic nuances of a McCartney chord melody while roaring like an AC Cobra— Beatles?... meet Black Sabbath.
In lead situations, the Box of War exhibits all the classic Civil War virtues that leave everyone from Gilmour obsessives to Kyuss freaks salivating—a round, vocal, and just-husky-enough cross between viola, cello, and baritone sax characteristics that are cutting to soaring with single-coils, and downright beastly and bubbling over with sustain when you pair the pedal with humbuckers.
As agreeable as the Box of War is in general, it dovetails especially well with bright amplifiers. AC30s and blackface and silverface Fenders will love the Box of War's ability to tame high-end spikes at high volume without sacrificing its purring midrange, while it's copious, low end can make medium-power Voxes and Fenders sound twice their size.
Like any Russian-style Muff, there is a risk of trading girth and growl for presence in a mix. While that applies to some extent with the Box of War, it's never too squishy. And even a notoriously compression-prone 5Y3 tweed Deluxe clone fed through a closed-back 2x12 took on a beautiful pick responsiveness and rough-but-refined character.
From design to sound sculpting, a lot of love went into the Box of War. Its combination of vintage flair and smart, compact packaging is one of the nicer bits of stompbox craft we've seen in a while—though at 225 bucks, you'll pay a bit for the privilege.
If you need eyeball-slicing fuzz that can banshee wail over a bass-heavy power trio, you might find the Box of War a bit too civilized. But if you're a fan of the original Civil War's smooth and bassy tones, you'll love the refinement of those sounds in the Box of War. An even if the battle over which Muff reigns supreme never ends, this is a pedal that can stand tall on its own merits and hang tough with the best specimens of a fuzz icon.
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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.
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.