So ........... a few years ago I had the great fortune to meet and get to know J Mascis who was one of my guitar heroes. I came from a Ramones background where short, sharp melodic "pop" songs were the only thing I cared about and listened to. Dinosaur Jr changed that. They were the first band I listened to in a long time that actually played solos like "the good ol' days" where sometimes, the solo was as long as the song. There was something about J's solos that were ......... different to those 70's excess coke heads that I still to this day can't listen to. To say Freakscene changed my life is an understatement. I still vividly remember being at a nightclub (is that an old persons term ?) and hearing those opening chords to Freakscene and just thinking "what the F#*K is this" It still gives me chills to this day.
Anyway, a couple of years ago I was talking to J about Big Muffs, something he knows a little bit about. His collection of vintage Muffs is probably unequaled and it's the cornerstone of the Dinosaur Jr live sound. J was telling me about "this" Big Muff that sounded ........ different than his other ones and how he used it in his live rig to get that sound. He said he hadn't found another one that sounded the same so this was a special fuzz pedal indeed.
On the last Australian Dinosaur Jr tour we spoke about it again and it reminded me about how "special" that tone was. J's live sound is so distorted, yet ......... clear. You can hear the Big Muff (and the Superfuzz and the .........) but you can still somehow hear the NOTES as well. It was THIS pedal that did it. This was J's "sound" !!
So, to my surprise at the end of that last tour a package turns up at my workshop addressed from "J Mascis" and inside is THE Big Muff. WTF ? I get an email from J saying "The muff is having issues, can you fix it and clone it while your there ?"
This was/is a dream come true for me. I started out as a guitar builder and ALL of this sprung from that. I started building pedals as a form of therapy to get my mind off running a business. I find the methodical way of assembling pedals appeals to me. The electronic side is set and slightly repetitive and the enclosure and assembly side is still very hands on.
The first thing I did was open it up to see what was wrong. It was a broken circuit board from years of being stomped on. This was a pretty easy fix and after an hour or so I had the pedal working again.
I plugged it in and .............. holy crap, it WAS different from any other Big Muff I'd heard. It was ..... close to a Ramhead era, but also different ? Close to a version three, but a little different ? It was ............ Dinosaur Jr !
Then it was sitting down and working out why. That's the next part folks:)
Next part HERE