• Buffalo FX Ram’s Head NOS BC239c review

    Buffalo FX Ram's Head review

    How many more Big Muffs do we need? Well, if you ask me I say keep ‘em coming! One of the latest additions comes from Buffalo Effects – a clone of the monstrous mid 70s ram’s head sporting NOS BC239c transistors. Well worth checking out, don’t you think? Here’s my review.

    12-13 years ago, the Big Muff was all but extinct. Now everyone seems to offer at least one in their portfolio of pedals. Interestingly though, few have tackled the authentic nature and sound of the classic ram’s head, which I’ve missed, being a ram’s head fan my self!

    The Buffalo Ram’s Head is about the size of an MXR but almost twice as high. Perhaps not the most appealing pedal I’ve come across but then again, it’s what’s inside that count. Anyway, the pedal feature the familiar tone, gain and volume controls, a stage ready led, true bypass switching and an easy access battery compartment on the side of the pedal. More interestingly the Ram’s Head feature NOS BC239c transistors.

    The 70s ram’s head Big Muff is known for its high gain character, bright cripsy top and silky smooth sustain. The Buffalo Ram’s Head is no doubt in that same category but compared to most ram’s heads it has a bit more low end and mid range, giving the pedal a slightly darker character and a nice hint of compression. Make no mistake though, this one angry beast perhaps best described as a mix between a brighter sounding ram’s head like the Pig Hoof and a darker more middy Sovtek.

    You might find that it’s just a bit too dark sounding on some amps and I haven’t quite been able to make it work with humbuckers but the fact that it has a more mid range than usual, makes it a great alternative for your low volume bedroom setup and brighter sounding amps.

    The Buffalo Ram’s Head covers Gilmour’s classic Big Muff tones from Animals, Wall, Final Cut and On an Island/Gdansk and it does a pretty good job covering the PUSLE era as well. I prefer having a transparent booster after it for tightening up the frequencies but it stands well on its own too – especially if you crank the volume control up to 3-4 o’clock for that tube amp feeling.

    One of the best sounding Big Muffs I’ve come across and I think Buffalo has managed to do justice to the old legend by offering classic tones with a slight (and much welcomed) twist. Check out Brett Kingman’s review too for more on the different settings and tones. See Buffalo-FX.com for more details.

    Related features: The Buyer’s Gear Guide Big Muffs, Big Muff tone tutorial and Comfortably Numb tone tutorial.

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51 Responsesso far.

  1. Exilado says:

    Oh dear, that is one tall pedal! Sound very nice though. By the way Bjorn, do plan on updating the Fuzz Buyer’s Gear Guide anytime soon? I’m really looking forward to it.

    Thanks, and as always, great work

    [Haven’t planned an update this year. Any particular models that you miss? – Bjorn]

    • george says:

      reviews would be cool for a SUF Violet Menace, wren and cuff Box of War, and a Dunlop red band of gypsys fuzzface. Its really an octavia with the octave removed but I really like mine. cleans up so good i gave up on my 109. put a compressor and eq after it and it is awesome.

  2. David says:

    hey bjorn! what do you think about the Zvex Fuzz Factory?? is it worth it?? what gilmour tones can i achieve?? thanks. nice review. Keep up the good work, like always!! :)

    [It’s a bit too aggressive and modern sounding for my taste but I’m sure you can dial in those DSotM and Pompeii tones with it. – Bjorn]

  3. George says:

    Really good demo! How do you compare with BYOC Ram’s Head?

    [Thanks! Slightly darker and much more gain. – Bjorn]

  4. ruudpp says:

    Hi Bjorn, I am a huge fan of the Pig Hoof which I use for most of the solo’s right now. Which one do you prefer?

    [The Pig Hoof yellow label MkII :) – Bjorn]

  5. Diego says:

    Hi Björn!
    My first comment here so far (allthough i’ve been checking out your site for a couple of months now :D). I really enjoy gilmourish.com. Your tips helped me a lot to get the tone i desire. Thank you so far!

    What gilmourish.com score would you give the Buffalo FX Rams Head?

    cheers,
    Diego

    [Thank you Diego! I haven’t thought about it really but 8 or 9… perhaps :) – Bjorn]

  6. Bern Merchant says:

    Hi Bjorn. Thanks for this review. Just curious: how would you compare this to the BYOC Large Beaver Ram’s Head? Thanks.

    [Slightly darker and much more gain. – Bjorn]

  7. Marvin says:

    Oh, no! Just when I’ve told my wife I’m immune to any more pedal temptation, you review another great one! Thanks for the usual great review, Bjorn … my wife will never forgive you!

    [Ha ha! Well, you have to learn how to deal with these things. I have a lot of great tips when it comes to excuses and good hiding places for newly bought gear LOL! – Bjorn]

  8. Alan says:

    Sounds good! Glad to see the effort still being put into this website. I’ve got one question for you Bjorn, should I drop the cash on a 60th anniversary Les Paul? The thing sounds fantastic but whats your opinion on it?

    [Thanks! Well, I’m really more of a Fender guy and not the right person to ask about Gibsons but I’ve tried a couple of those 60th anniv models and they sound and feel awesome. Don’t think you can go wrong there. – Bjorn]

  9. Thomas Williams says:

    Hi,

    I know you just posted this but I have to ask what is the Gilmourish score? Would it work at bedroom levels with a Laney Cub? Are they going to be limited? i’m sure you are posting it soon.
    Thanks

    [Not limited, as far as I know. Works great at bedroom levels. I haven’t decided on a score yet but perhaps 8 or 9 for a ram’s head. – Bjorn]

  10. Matthias says:

    Wow, your playing is so accurately, and the pedal sounds huge. In 3 weeks my internship in Oslo begins, and I will take with me a Strat, a Laney Cub, the PC2A, the Replica Delay and maybe that RAMS HEAD clone. Thanks to you I got to know that before my journey begins ! Greetings from Germany !

    [Hope you have a pleasant stay here in Norway :) – Bjorn]

  11. Giulio Mazzotta says:

    I prefer Carolina Olympia Fuzz

    [Two very different sounding pedals but yeah, the Caroline is great! – Bjorn]

  12. Vadim says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    Again I want to thank you for the Reviews. Recently I bought RedMuck… This is my first vintage Muff))) I am very pleased with the pedal, because I can compare it with the modern EX Pi. RedMuck does not lose its charm at low volume. And with chorus the Pulse magic begins! In my humble opinion Buffalo Ram’s Head too oversaturated.
    I want to ask your opinion about the new Russian Muff
    http://chriscustom.com/overdrive-pedals/mufff.html
    It is certainly cheap. Judging from the demo it reminds me of Skreddy Fuzz…
    Do you think there is a worthy sample in the fuzz/muff market?

    [Glad you enjoy the Red Muck, Vadim! It’s a great pedal indeed. The Buffalo has much more gain so it is considerably more saturated but I don’t think you can compare it to the Red Much really. They’re two different voiced Muffs. I haven’t tried the Christ Custom so I can’t really tell. Sounds nice based on the clips though. – Bjorn]

  13. Freddy says:

    Love your beard,Björn! Going for a Gilmour 1977 look? :) Oh, and great sounding pedal also.

    [Ha ha! Thanks! I think I need to grow my hair too then :) – Bjorn]

  14. Sergio Rodrigues says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Another excelent review. GAS!! Amazing playing as usual.
    Do you remember the specs of your Warmoth Neck (Nut Width, Back Contour, Fingerboard Radius and Fret Size)? Is it a Vintage Modern or Total Vintage construction?
    Cheers!

    [I can’t really remember. Please send me an e-mail at post@gilmourish.com and remind me and I’ll have a look in my archives. – Bjorn]

  15. david says:

    Bjorn sorry to bother you, about the fuzz faces, i have a question. which one of these “fuzzes” would you choose for pompeii and Dark side tones (i dont think fuzz was used on the Wish you were here album) ?? the Zvex fuzz factory or the Dunlop jimi hendrix fuzz (bc108)?? thanks like always!!

    [The Hendrix Fuzz would be the closest match :) Check out the AnalogMan SunFace BC109 for even closer match! – Bjorn]

  16. dave says:

    hello Bjorn this is my first comment on your site. i was thinking to make my biggest investment, a fender stratocaster. so i decided to take in the Mex fenders since im a budget one haha, so i wanted to ask you: i saw the fenders Classic Series 50´s and 70´s. which one of them would you pick. im new in this so i dont see any major differences, which differences do you see?? which guitar do you recommend me the 50´s maple neck or the 70´s maple neck model?? by the way LOVE YOU SITE!! Full of great info!! thanks for listening me!

    [Hi Dave! The Classic Series are great guitars that feature the most popular features from each decade. The main differences between the 50s and 70s are the body and neck contours and profiles. See the Fender site for the details. The featured pickups are also “based on” each period respectively. Quite OK but I recommend relplacing these down the line. See the Buyer’s Guide Pickups for some tips and recommendations. Good luck with your guitar project! – Bjorn]

  17. David says:

    hi Bjorn! great news, i spent on a “mint condition” vintage Deluxe Electric Mistress. im very happy but, I recently read your “tip of the week” about recreating rotary speakers. so i was trying to recreate the most close as posible sound of the Studio version of Dogs. but since the flanger was not used on the album, and the yamaha rotary speaker did… which setting i have to dial in my electric mistress to achieve a close sound?? thanks!!

    [Congrats! I usually go with this: colour and rate 10:00 and the range off. – Bjorn]

  18. Dave says:

    Hello again Bjorn, thanks for your recomendations on the Strats!! but now i have a doubt about something. when you claim that “A good tip is to use modulations with care. Unlike overdrive, distortion and delay, a chorus or flanger can sound very dated and out of place if you use them too much or for the wrong reasons. All modulation effects sounds best if you use them for specific stuff and even better, to create unique tones that defines your sound and playing.” You mean that the sound starts getting annoying, or that the pedal gets damaged?? thanks!!!

    [It’s a matter of taste but your tones will be more unique and interesting if you use modulation for specific stuff rather than keeping them on all the time. Nothings going to get damaged. – Bjorn]

  19. David says:

    Hi Bjorn! well, is it true that a delay for gilmour tones until animals including it is the echo or also called “tape echo”?? well if thats true, will the TC Electronic Flashback delay make some convincing Tape Echo sounds (or at least has that function?)?? because i dont want to have 2 delay units (one for echo and another for digital delay)
    Cheers!!

    [He used a Binson Echorec between 1968-77, which was a tape machine. The Flashback can emulate a convincing tone with the tape, lo-fi and modulation modes. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  20. Ross says:

    Hi Bjorn, great review! the Buffalo Rams Head sounds so awesome and Brett Kingman’s video certainly is impressive as well! Brett certainly raves about it being probably the best he’s ever heard!
    How does this compare do you think with the Wampler Velvet Fuzz? The lead tones video by Andy from ProGuitarShop of the Wampler seems pretty reasonable as well…PGS are the retail seller of course!
    Would you choose one pedal over the other? …or how would you choose! (Not much difference in price …round $40USD or so!)
    Guitars -Black Strat EMG-Dg20’s, Red Strat SSL-5/CS69
    Cheers,
    Ross

    [Hi Ross! The Velvet Fuzz is a fuzz and even though it’s capable of some convincing Muff tones, it’s still a fuzz. The Buffalo Ram’s Head is a Muff in every sense and one of the best I’ve played in terms of harmonics, gain structure and compression. Depends on what tones you want. Or get both :) – Bjorn]

  21. howard says:

    hi Bjorn,
    first time here, lots of respect for the hard work you put in to this site, you say the rams head bc239c may not suit all amps, I have a vox ac15 hand wired, would you say the vox is a bright sounding amp ????? will the ram head suit my amp,
    all the best, Howard.

    [I haven’t tried it myself but I recon it will… at least with a booster behind it smoothing out any harsh overtones. Check out the Iron Bell as well for versatile and easy to setup Muff tones. – Bjorn]

  22. Jürgen Schulz says:

    hi Bjorn,
    excelent Review
    and many thanks for your hard work.
    Have you ever tried the Buffalo 18v Powerbooster.
    Would be great to get a gilmourish score. ( or perhaps a Review :- )
    all the best
    Alü

    [Thanks Jürgen! I’ll have a review up on all the new Buffalo pedals very soon. The PB is awesome! – Bjorn]

  23. Marco Stroppa says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    just bought this muff…sounds huge!
    Which clean boost do you raccomend for bedroom levels with a Fender BJ III?
    Best regards.

    [The Buffalo Powerbooster works nicely. It’s capable of both clean boost and creamy overdrive. Check out the TC Spark Booster if you want all clean :) – Bjorn]

  24. KuroNeko says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks to you for this review ! I didn’t know Buffalo Fx before but those pedals are really impressive.

    I had the opportunity to test Steve’s Rams’Head and immediately loved it ! I now have one at home and wait for the booster – could not resist to the 16V appeal : )

    I don’t have a long experience with muffs but this one has lots of room, sounds great and edgy… It also works very well with EMG p-ups and is very versatile. I like the black and neat sober look too !!!

    I am now having hard times training “C’bly Numb” with it ;-))

    [Cheers! Good luck with your playing! – Bjorn]

  25. Cem says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Do you know won the Buffalo FX Rams Head and Powerbooster, because I’m not sure as to where i can find out who won?
    Thanks

    [The winner is mentioned in the post about the Giveaway :) – Bjorn]

  26. alberto says:

    Hi Bjorn!I m doutbting between buying the red muck or rams head?Which you prefer for tones of Pulse?
    Thanks

    [The Red Muck :) – Bjorn]

  27. e-Pablo says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Another excelent review, thanks for it !!!! and Amazing playing you really make sound pedals at its full potential.

    What your opinion about The Buffalo Vs the W&C rams head Muff “The Crapid”

    Regards

    [Thanks! The Caprid is perhaps coser to the classic ram’s head tones, while the Buffalo has a slightly darker tone, with a tad more mid range. Depends on what you want and how each blends with your setup. The Buffalo is perhaps a more versatile pedal, as the modifications on the original circuit makes it stand out in a band mix and it’s also easier to record. – Bjorn]

  28. Cem says:

    Hi Bjorn
    I’m looking for a Rams Head that will suit my setup, cause I really don’t like the little muff for… anything really. I have a Laney Lionheart 20w combo, and as you know, it’s not exactly a bright sounding amp.
    In the review, you say that the Buffalo Rams head sounds too dark on some amps, and I’m afraid maybe it will sound too dark on my setup if i bought it. Which pedal would you recommend to nail the 1977-83 tones?
    Thanks

    [The Electronic Orange Pig Hoof (red). No doubt :) – Bjorn]

  29. Ross says:

    Hi Bjorn, I have this great pedal but wondering how to setup the rest of the gear exactly for bedroom playing of Comfortably Numb to get “that sound”! I have a Fender Strat with the Seymour Duncan SSL5 in the bridge & CS69’s in the middle & neck. So firstly should I always have the guitar volume set at 10? What else do I need and in what pedal order? I have the following to choose from: TC Electronic Nova Repeater Delay, ’76 Vintage MXR Dyna Comp, Buffalo FX Rams Head, Boss CE-2 Chorus, playing into a Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb. Do I need an over drive pedal as well? Cheers, Ross

    [Hi Ross! Check out this feature for some bedroom setup tips and this for some Comfortably Numb tone tips. Let me know if you need more help after reading these :) – Bjorn]

  30. Matt Rubenstein says:

    Hello Bjorn. I hope all is well by you. Do you have any intention of reviewing the Maxon Fuzz Elements Water? Looks like it is unique in its incorporation of a parametric EQ. Plus Maxon makes first class pedals. Anyhow, would love to see you put it through your Gilmourish paces:) But, I know, so many Big Muff clones, so little time:)

    [That’s right :) I haven’t grid it yet but I’ll try to get my hands on one. – Bjorn]

  31. Matt Rubenstein says:

    Hello Bjorn. I hope all is well by you. I just ordered the Nano Bass Big Muff Pi as you recommended as I was looking for a small, inexpensive, huge sounding big muff. I appreciate you steering me towards it as it wasn’t on my radar. Plus I got a great deal from Prymaxe Vintage on an already inexpensive pedal. My question to you is whether you think this pedal would benefit from any kind of booster/overdrive after it, or should I leave it a la carte?:) Thanks Bjorn!

    [Depends on how your pickups and amp sound with it. The pedal has enough gain to be used alone but a booster will probably open up the tone a bit more and even out any harsh overtones. I do recommend that you try the Muff first and experiment with different settings before you introduce a booster. – Bjorn]

  32. Ross says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I’m considering adding a Buffalo Powerbooster to use with my Buffalo Rams Head, so is the Powerbooster placed after the Rams Head before the likes of a Delay pedal etc?
    Does the Powerbooster introduce any more ‘noise’ using both together? What would the settings be on the Powerbooster for the likes of Comfortably Numb for playing at bedroom level? Surely you wouldn’t use the drive knob would you?, as wouldn’t you want a clean boost only for the Rams Head?
    I’m interested to know the settings how you use both together as I do find the RAMS head just a tad “Dark” & wondering if I might get the boost I need at bedroom levels with introducing the Powerbooster!
    Cheers, Ross

    [Hi Ross! I recommend placing the booster after the Muff. That way, it acts like an EQ, which is how David’s using it. Experiment with the setup and decide what sounds best. You will need to match the settings on your amp, Muff and the booster or less you might end up with too much noise. If needed, lower the gain and volume on your Muff and use the booster to both add a bit of brightness and a hint of gain. – Bjorn]

  33. Julius says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    I’m planning on getting my Big Muff (finally!), but the problem is this; since you’ve reviewed so many different models that all seem to offer something unique and different, you’re making it quite hard to choose :D but I’ve managed to cut it down to three; Pig Hoof (both red and yellow label) and Buffalo FX Ram’s head. Could you give me your opinion on which one of those works really good for recording and on stage. I’m playing a MIJ 62′ reissue Strat with CS 69 neck and middle and D.Allen Echoes bridge through Classic 30.
    Thank you…once again ! ;D

    [For the Classic 30 I think I’d go for a darker sounding Muff with more mids. A ram’s head model works OK with the Classic 30 but they can sound a bit too bright and you can have some problems with not cutting through in a band mix. I’ve had great success with pairing the Buffalo Patriot and Classic 30. The Musket and Iron Bell also works great. – Bjorn]

  34. Timo says:

    Hi Bjorn, thank you for one of the most entertaining sites on the internet! It would have been so nice to see your gig tonight. The record is 10/10.

    Based on your review and Youtube video about the Buffalo Ram’s head, I sold Triangle Beaver and ordered one of these. Even though Beaver already was perfect!

    What would you recommend as solo modulation with this pedal in a situation where Boss pedals are not an option. I’m looking for sweet liquidy/watery tone. I own similiar Mistress as you already + vibe.

    Chain: American Standard Strat -> SSL5 -> Buffalo Ram’s -> Butler TD (AU) -> Echorec/Superdelay -> Handmade DR103

    PS. It’s the size and the buffer with RT20, I don’t appreciate. The set up is sooo punchy now.

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Timo! I think the Mistress is as liquidy as it can get and if size is an issue then the Mooer Eleclady is worth checking out. I don’t know what else to recommend than a chorus perhaps although I rarely use them my self. The CostaLab Chorus Lab is an excellent clone of the Boss CE2, with true bypass and mix control. The MXR Analog Chorus is also great I think. If you want running water coming out of your speakers then the Jam Pedals Waterfall is worth checking out, although it can be a tad too overwhelming :)

      • Timo says:

        ElecLady has been teasing me after seeing your comparison video. Although, it seems like there is a little extra something with the real deal. The space saving would be tempting, though.

        Today, on rehearsals I tried the Mistress with faster settings and knobs with different positions – pretty convincing leslie sounds! For the liquid leads, I sometimes find it a bit too overwhelming, depending hugely on which distortion/fuzz in use. Sunface108 tends to be a tricky partner for it.

        I’m not too big a fan of choruses but maybe should give one a shot!

        Also maybe on mix pedal for the modulation could solve this problem.

        Thanks for the ideas!

        • Bjorn says:

          The ElecLady is definitely worth a try. It’s perhaps a tad less dominating as well.

          • Chris says:

            Hey Bjorn,

            Excellent write up my man. All very much appreciated on many levels. In your opinion which Muff would be best suited for a ’78 twin/ultralinear amp? Thinking very dark Muff suggestions cor this super bright for days amp. Also are humbuckers totally out of the picture? Thanks again Bjorn. You rock!

            • Bjorn says:

              Cheers, Chris! For Fender I’d go for a Sovtek or a clone. The current EHX Bass Muff XO should go nicely. Also, the Buffalo Patriot or Wren and Cuff Box of War… or similar.

  35. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, since the review was done a while ago I thought I check with you about the muff sound with a lot of sustain but being quiet at the same time. Something suitable for moderate levels on Laney Cub for bedroom levels. My black box EHX Sovtek muff just has a lot of noise and muddy low end. I like something with more articulated sound and definition and more mid-range and high end expression.
    Thanks a lot man.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hmmm… It always depends on how you set the amp, the room you’re playing in and what pedals you use with it but the Vick Audio ’73 is really great, with mids boost and low noise. Check out the new Muffuletta from JHS as well :)

      • Arya Boustani says:

        Thanks Bjorn. I checked Muffuletta. The idea is great but I should try it myself to see if I can get more singing mid-range out of that in a less compressed setting. I think the sustain they use in the demos are just too high for DG stuff. I found Vick Audio 73 is the closest to what I like to have. I use a TC Electronic Nova Drive to make a more mid range band EQ and a touch of overdrive with mix knob set to make it more melodic without compressing it further. Sort of like a booster in downstream, then I do the final EQ with GE-7 downstream of my plexi-drive at the end of the signal chain. I just got a late 60s / early 70s Fane speaker and I have to constantly tweak the EQ beyond what I got used to for my sort of flatter in high-mid frequency Celestion. I think a tube driver would tame the sound instead of the plexidrive. I will know in near future.
        Cheers.

  36. Tedi says:

    Hey Bjorn… Thanks for all that you do. I’ve read all your blogs and I’ve noticed that you like a “transparent” booster after most Muffs. In the past, I’ve always run Muffs and Si based Fuzz through a gain pedal to “round” the sound a bit. I have used the BFX 18V Booster before the RH-X and it make it come alive. I never tried it after until recently and I now understand why you like it. I accidentally ran a Si Fuzz through the EP booster and I was plesently surprised with the resulting tone. EP is not transparent per se. However, it works well after Fuzz pedals. So, I tried RH-X with EP after it and it really sounds smooth. Have you ever tried this combination? I’m now running BFX 18V Booster before RH-X and EP after it.

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t used the EP much but I’m mostly combining my Muffs with a TopTone Shine Boost, which has that same slight mids boost as well as the volume boost. Works very well.

  37. Brendan says:

    Hi there, how would a pedal like this work on a Roland cube with a fender Classic strat? Can you make some recommendations to get nice overdrive/fuzz tones on this sort of rig? Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      I have very little experience with the Cube but in general I would’t recommend a Muff. They often sound harsh and thin on smaller transistor amps. I would go for something a bit more versatile, like the Buffalo TDX or Evolution. These have more compression and mid range, which will work nicely on most amps.

  38. gabriel tate says:

    Ive got the Patriot form Buffalo FX and thinking of getting this one. I also play on a Hiwatt little d rig, do you think i should get this pedal or…. what muff would you recommend?

    • Bjorn says:

      The Little D, and Hiwatts in general, can handle pretty much any Muff you throw at it, so it comes down to what type of Muff you prefer.

  39. Simon says:

    Hi.Bjorn! Great rewiew! Between buffalo and vick audio ram’s head what’s different? Do you prefer buffalo or vick with emg dg20?

    Thanks a lot!

    Cheers

    Simon

    • Bjorn says:

      The Buffalo is out of production. They’ve released the M-1 Fuzz, which is a Ram’s Head but with a bass and treble tone stack rather than the usual single tone. The Vick is perhaps more saturated and brighter sounding but it’s got the 3-way mid range option, which makes it very versatile. The M-1 is perhaps a bit more vintage sounding but they both nail that classic tone.

Hey! How about a comment on this post?