For each clone that hits the market it’s harder to choose one that stands out from the rest. While most of them claim to offer something new,- few rarely does. I recently got my hands on the Musket from Blackout Effectors and it’s by far one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in a long time. Here’s my review.
The Musket is housed in a typical BYOC/DIY chassis with true bypass switching, a bright led and a 9V adapter input. In addition to the standard fuzz, tone and volume controls the Musket also feature additional controls labeled “pre”, “mids” and “focus”.
The Musket isn’t really a Big Muff clone although it has an unmistakable Sovtek “civil war”/green flavour to it. It’s not quite as nasty as the “ram’s head” nor as warm as the typical “triangle” or as boomy as the early Sovteks. It’s something right in between every Big Muff that I’ve tried. Starting off with just the fuzz/gain, tone and volume controls it’s easy to dial in a fat, smooth Sovtek-ish/P2 tone. The Musket is far from the loudest Muff so you really need to crank the output (unity level is around 2:00). The tone control has a wide range and manages to stay focused on even the lowest settings, although I prefer it around 10-11:00.
The “pre” control acts very much the same way as adding a booster/overdrive but you really need to match it with the fuzz or else you’ll get feedback and too much noise. With the fuzz around 11:00 and the “pre” at 12:00 you’ll get a nice fat boost with lots of sustain. Still though, I think it’s easier to control the gain level with a booster and keep the “pre” fairly low or off. The “mids” control boosts the mid range – a popular feature on many Muff clones. It’s perhaps a bit redundant though since Musket already has a distinct mid rangy tone. Still, just a hint smooths out the top frequencies. The “focus” control reveals the full potential of this pedal and after having tested it for a while I’m a bit surprised that no one else has thought of this unique feature. It behaves much like a high pass filter and compressor combined rolling off the muddy lower frequencies and squeezing the overall signal for more sustain and presence.
The Musket nails pretty much any of David’s Muff tones from Animals to PULSE and present. You might find it to be a bit too smooth if you’re a die hard “ram’s head” I-only-use-pedals-from-a-certain-year kind of guy but then again I’d say you’d missed the point… and the chance to try a Muff that offers something unique. I think it’s perhaps best at replicating David’s PULSE and Gdansk tones but I also use it for my Airbag tones simply because it’s so incredibly versatile. The Musket is also probably the best pedal I’ve come across for bedroom setups and smaller amps. With the “focus” control rolled all the way up the pedal cuts nicely through any mix and stays smooth and warm on even the very lowest volume settings.
The Musket was tested on two different Stratocasters, one with Fender CS69+Duncan SSL5 (bridge) pickups and one with EMG DG20 pickups and two different amps, a Laney Cub12 15w stack and Reeves Custom 50w – both with Weber Thames 80w speakers.