The idea of this pedal came to me a few years ago and sat around in my head until I came up with an idea for the artwork. I've always loved the look of the Roland Funny Cat but for any of you who have actually played one, you'll know it's probably Rolands most underwhelming pedal in an otherwise brilliant career. So I emailed Tone and asked if he could do some artwork based on the AG-5 but for a Big Mud.
The artwork and subsequent plates sat here for another year or two until I found time to work on the circuit as I didn't want it to be "just another Big Mud"
When you have worked on this great BM circuit for as long as I have you start to see things that make you smile. It's such a wonderful design and after making so many clones and inspired bys and repairing and reverse engineering so many originals, little things start to creep into your consciousness. Little "oh, that sounds cool" or "how does this one do that little .... " and with so many combinations of originals out there little quirks and changes stand out as being ..... nice.
So, I decided to make a kind of "best of" based on a BM circuit but not really a BM.
This has low gain NOS "tin can" transistors as I (mostly) love low gain in these circuits. There are exceptions, but low gain always tends to bring out more harmonics and a more open (less compressed) tone. This also has uneven germanium clipping diodes giving a slightly less saturated, warmer gain. I used both of these designs in my Fern St Fuzz which is a pedal I personally love.
But from there it differs from the Fern St in that I have borrowed ideas from the Foxey Lady, the Elk Sustainar, the black Bubble Font and the Rams Head Big Muds and carefully selected tone stack values to keep more bass in the mix as you turn up the tone, and more mids throughout the mix with screeching treble at maximum settings.
Having lower gain and less compression also means the circuit reacts to the guitars volume control more interactively and you can clean up the gain on this a lot with your guitars volume, even at higher gain settings. On minimum gain setting it just adds a little grit to the sound with the advantage of the wide tone control and you can roll the guitar volume back to clean up even more, and dial it in as you play.
While this circuit still has plenty of volume and gain on tap it's not as .... bludgeoning as some other Big Muds I've made but as anyone who has played a variety of Big Muffs from the many different manufacturers knows, some have subtleties and nuances that just work and (I can't believe I'm saying this) sometimes over the top isn't always the best option.
So, this new Tym Muddy Cat is a kind of favourite bits from a few different circuits overdrive sustainer with a bit more culture while keeping a little bit of wild. This prototype, and possibly the first batch (depending on how my week goes?) will be in the shop this Sunday for anyone who wants to come and give it a whirl.