I’ve been reviewing countless different Muff clones over the past few years. Although the Big Muff circuit is a fairly basic one, most of these pedals has managed to surprise me and proved to have an unique character of their own. I’ve had my eyes on the Earthquaker Hoof Fuzz for some time and finally I got around to try one. Here’s my review.
The Hoof Fuzz is housed in a rugged (slightly bigger) MXR sized box featuring a bright led and true bypass switching. The pedal can be operated on either 9V battery or Boss-style adapter. Like all Earthquaker pedals, the Hoof is made by hand with high quality components.
The Hoof is a germanium/silicon hybrid Muff based on the old green Sovtek Big Muff Pi. Like its Russian counterpart, the Hoof has controls for fuzz (gain/sustain), level and tone. There’s also a fourth control labelled shift. This one changes the frequency response of the tone control. Turn it clockwise for scooping the mids or counterclockwise to enhance or boost the mids. Setting the shift to about noon produce a flat response.
There’s definitely a close resemblance to the early Sovteks and the green especially. The Hoof has tons of smooth, saturated gain but it’s also capable of producing some really nice and warm overdrive tones. Especially when combined with vintage style low output single coils and a little roll off on the guitar volume. It’s also a bit lighter on the lower frequencies, which helps on keeping the tone clean and focused and perhaps adding a bit of that Ram’s Head flavour.
What I especially like about the Hoof is the dynamic response of the fuzz and level combined. Set the level for a mild boost and the fuzz between 3/4 and fully maxed and you get a super smooth tube-like distortion with rich sustain. In this setting, it also seems to get a bit more compressed with a more pronounced attack. This makes the Hoof well suited for smaller setups and bedroom volume levels. When most fuzz and Muffs tends to get all thin and harsh on lower volume levels, the Hoof manages to produce huge fuzz tones and stay silky smooth.
To sum it up, the Hoof Fuzz combines the best of many circuits and eras. Whether you want warm, classic overdrive, screaming fuzz for those Pompeii and Dark Side tones or a more modern, smooth violin-like sustain, the Hoof will deliver. Highly recommended! Check out EarthQuaker Devices for more details.
The Hoof Fuzz was tested for both stage and home setups with a Reeves Custom 50 and a Laney L20 with both single coils and humbuckers.