The P19 from Skreddy Pedals is definitely one of the most talked about Big Muff clones out there. No wonder really as Marc Alhfs knows a thing or two about Big Muffs. I’ve had my eyes on one for some time and I finally got the chance to try it out. Here’s my review.
I did a review of the Pink Flesh a few years back. I wasn’t overly happy with it and found the pedal just a bit too wild for my taste. Still a lot of people loved it. So much in fact that when it was taken out of production the prices on Ebay skyrocketed.
It’s always been Skreddy’s philosophy to never produce a pedal longer than a few years. Part of the reason is that some of the pedals featured hard to get parts but it’s also because tone is constantly evolving. Once a new tone is discovered it’s time to move on. A refreshing way of doing business if you ask me.
Back in the early days of pedal making guitarists and engineers created effects and pedals based on a vision and an idea of what they considered to be the ultimate tone. This philosophy is very much the essence of the P19.
The P19 feature true bypass switching and runs on 9V battery or Boss-style adapter all housed in an MXR style chassis. In addition to the familiar tone, gain and volume controls, there is a mini toggle switch switching between flat uncolored tone and a mild mids hump.
The circuit goes all the way back to the Mayo and Pink Flesh. It is not a P1 nor a ram’s head clone, as one might think but rather an attempt at capturing David’s Wall lead tone as you hear it coming out of your hi-fi. It doesn’t really matter that Comfortably Numb was recorded with a Strat, ram’s head Muff and Hiwatt. That tone alone sounds very different to the signal coming from a close mic’d cabinet with post compression, limiting and who knows what.
This means that the P19, compared to other ram’s heads, has a considerably darker tone with less top, more mids and compression. Very similar to what you get when placing an SM57 slightly off axis on a loud tube amp. The pedal also has less low end, which maintains a clarity and focus that many other ram’s heads are lacking. It’s hard to compare it with a specific model but of all the Big Muffs I’ve tried I would perhaps place it somewhere between an Electronic Orange Pig Hoof and a Cornish P2.
Switching on the mids boost with the mini toggle adds a very mild boost that comes especially handy on brighter amps and bedroom setups. It’s subtle but you get a bit smoother tone and that feeling of tubes and speakers being pushed really hard. Still, for those Wall tones I think the flat position suits the pedal best.
But the P19 is not just another David Gilmour Big Muff. Combined with humbuckers the pedal becomes a nasty beast that nails those evil riffs from Black Sabbath, QotSA and Black Label Society. Or, roll off the gain for some sweet Santana and Eric Johnson-ish fuzz.
It’s nearly impossible to dial in a bad tone with this one. Its dark and creamy mid range boosted character eliminates the sometimes harsh overtones and the sustain sings forever even on low volume. Personally I prefer a bit more top and just a bit less mid range. I think that would have suited a Wall-ish pedal better and made it easier to achieve that crisp attack and slightly hollow sounding tone. Still, pairing up the P19 with a booster or EQ will take care of what you might be missing.
My favourite setting is just everything slightly above noon paired with a Mistress and some delay. It takes you right back to Earl’s Court 1980! The P19 sounds silky smooth with singing sustain perfect for What Shall We Do Now, Mother etc. Increasing the volume to around 3:00 pushes the amp for more compression and a darker tone. Very close to that heavy limiting you hear on the album and Comfortably Numb in particular.
The P19 is one of the best Muff models I’ve tried on smaller amps and your typical bedroom setups. It stands perfectly well on its own and you’ll have no problem dialing in a fat tone with lots of clarity and sustain even at the very lowest volume levels. Be careful with adding too much boost and compression as the pedal already has plenty of this.
So what’s the verdict? I think Skreddy has managed to make a Big Muff with a unique tone and if David Gilmour’s Wall tones was the goal, then the pedal is spot on. As I said I prefer a bit more top and mids scoop but the sustain on this thing is hard to beat. If you prefer a bit more hair on your Muff (oh… that doesn’t sound right…) then you might want to look elsewhere. If warm and smooth sustain is your desire then look no further!