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T-Rex Mudhoney II Pedal Review

Dual overdrives for more flexibility

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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.

More Honey
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 Verdict
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.

Buy if...
you need two flavors of quality distortion in your rig.
Skip if...
you need full-tilt metal distortion or clean boost.

Street $279 - T-Rex Engineering -

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