• Skreddy Pedals Rust Rod review

    Skreddy Pedals Rust Rod review

    Big Muffs seem to come in all shapes and sizes these days but is it really possible to offer something new and exciting? The Rust Rod from Skreddy Pedals is one of the latest additions in the family and naturally, I had to check it out. Here’s my review.

    My relationship with the Big Muff goes way back to the early 90s. At that point, you were laughed at if you entered a guitar store and asked for one. Then, suddenly, the grunge thing happened and everyone wanted one. This also coincided with the reissues from Mike Matthews and Sovtek. My first Big Muff was a green bubble font Sovtek and I’ve been in love ever since.

    Marc Ahlfs knows his Big Muffs and I’m always excited when he comes up with something new. He seems to have an ear for not only a good tone but what it is that makes up a really good tone. To me, that has always been the idea I have in my head. A good tone is the combination of the pedal, guitar and amp but also the person playing, the recording and atmosphere of a venue (if it is a live recording). Skreddy pedals always seem to capture that feel and experience.

    The Rust Rod is based on the mid 70s ram’s head Big Muffs. While these are known for their bright top and super scooped mid range, some of the models had a darker tone, with less scoop and more of those fuzz harmonics. The Rust Rod is no doubt a ram’s head but there’s also a bit of that early Sovtek flavour.

    The first thing you notice is that the Rust Rod is loud. And I mean really loud! The volume control responds well so there’s no problem turning it down but past noon it turns into something you don’t want to meet in a dark alley…

    The Rust Rod is fairly bright but the powerful tone control has a wide sweep from very dark to very bright. It doesn’t get ice picky though, thanks to the retained mid range. Still, you probably want the tone slightly lower than usual.

    There’s plenty of gain here too and turning it all the way up takes the Rust Rod into a very aggressive silicon fuzz. My favourite setting is somewhere around 11 o’clock, which means that it has more gain than the average ram’s head. This also means that you really don’t need a booster with it.

    There’s plenty of tone here and the sustain is unbelievable. I do think it benefits from a mild compressor though, for a bit of high end roll off and to tighten the lows. Be careful though. Too much compression will kill those super sweet harmonics.

    If I were to compare the Rust Rod with other Big Muffs it would be the aggressive and huge tone of the (red) Pig Hoof from Electronic Orange and the sustain and harmonics of the Patriot from Buffalo FX. Very close to the DG1 from TopTone, and probably the Pete Cornish P1, although there’s much more gain here.

    It’s not often I just stomp a pedal and instantly go “wow!” but the Rust Rod sounds amazing. There are no bad sounds here and I’ve rarely heard such detail in the tone from a Big Muff. The Rust Rod cuts effortlessly through a band mix, which is rare for a ram’s head, and it also works nicely on smaller amps and low volume. But, it is with a loud tube amp that this pedal really shine. I’m still grinning!

    Check out skreddypedals.com for more details.

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57 Responsesso far.

  1. Rob says:

    I got a Rust Rod in 2016 and I’m getting great results with it. As noted in your review, it has a full, sometimes loose low end. The tones I’ve been after are the singing sustaining lead tones on David Gilmour’s 1978 solo album. With a BBE Freq Boost treble booster, not set to boost level but at about unity gain, ahead of the Rust Rod, I am getting tones that are very close. The Freq Boost attenuates the low end, which would otherwise thin the guitar’s tone too much, but with the big low end of the Rust Rod it sounds balanced. The Freq Boost also boosts the upper mids, making leads really sing.
    Recently I got Skreddy’s Dynamic Mids Boost too, and per Skreddy’s recommendation I put that after the Rust Rod. That adds that extra sheen and dimension, taking the tone to the next level.
    With these three – the Freq Boost, Rust Rod and Dynamic Mids Booster – going into the Hiwatt DR103 I just got in late 2016, I’m getting the finest recorded lead tones I’ve ever gotten, and finally getting the tones that have eluded me since I first heard David Gilmour’s album in 1978, when I was just starting to play guitar.

  2. Kevin says:

    I’m anxious to check one of these out. Have you tried the Tomkat violet muffer by any chance? It’s based on the violet rams head. Curious what you might think of it.

  3. Tommy says:

    Bjorn, the video doesn’t work in the US! What’s going on?

  4. James says:

    Bjorn, the video won’t play in the US!! BMG has blocked it?!

  5. John Barnett says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Im loving this pedal. I loved that you played the solo In Any Tounge. its my favorite song on the latest. I was talking about the tone in most of the solos in The Final Cut a few years ago. I noticed the tone on the album sounds almost identical. I wonder if you could share your thoughts on this subject. Am I far off thinking he might be using a wah pedal just steady in the rocked back positon?

    • Bjorn says:

      David has more or less used the same ram’s head Big Muff model on all the albums since Animals, as explained here. The Rust Rod will go nicely to any of those recordings. The tone you hear on Final Cut, is the combination of his Black Strat, the Big Muff and the combination of a Hiwatt and Yamaha rotary amp. There’s no wah there but the mic position and mixing, can create different sounds. That slightly hollow or throaty tone you might be referring to, is the combination of all of these things.

      • John Barnett says:

        Bjorn,
        Thank you for your response. I guess I still have a lot to learn about mic placement and recording. I can get really close thanks to your clues. But still no cigar. I have the Hiwatt, the Black Strat, the Red Strat and all the pedals(incliduing a vintage Muff and Mistress). I think I am lacking volume.
        thanks again Bjorn.

        • Bjorn says:

          It’s an ongoing process and I think the best tip I can give is to keep on experimenting and recording. It’s one thing to create a good tone live. It’s something very different to capture that on “tape”… :)

  6. Laurence says:

    Impressive! The lows are devastating on “Sorrow”. It gets along great with the mistress as well. I would have a tough time distinguIshing it from the pig hoof in a blind test. Thanks for the review!

  7. Rob Hackett says:

    Bjorn,
    As you no doubt an incredible about of DG/PF note for note, have you considered video lessons? I for one would be extremely interested. You have an excellent demeanor. I believe it would lend itself very well as to teaching. Sign me up!
    Obviously it would be incredibly time consuming.
    Just a thought. I’m sure not the first to suggest it.

    Rob

    • Bjorn says:

      I have done some in the past but now it’s mainly reviews I do. I plan on doing tutorials as well but it’s always the time issue…:)

      • Huy Tran says:

        Your Time tutorial was fantastic. I got a lot of mileage out of that one. And it also showed a side of you people online never see; that you are a fantastic rhythm player. Very cool video.

        Having said that I am not sure if we need tutorials. David Gilmour isn’t the most technical player and his material isn’t that hard. When people have problems playing Gilmour stuff it is probably because of their overall playing issues: dynamics, touch, feel etc.. and/or getting the right tone (his tone was something I use to struggle with)

        I am just playing Devil’s advocate here. I would love to see tutorial videos mostly so I can see you play.

  8. Rob Hackett says:

    Hey there Bjorn,
    Your right on, go figure. Yup I run the Normal channel at 1:00, and Bright at 1:30-2 respectively. Then yes, you are correct the Drive acts as a Master. Maximum clean, edge of breakup is about 4:00 on Drive. Already have the treble at 10:00, but will try it even lower. I have not rolled Presence down, but I will. Haven’t achieved the beautiful fat tone you have yet, but have definite make progress. What an incredible dynamic amp. Beautiful harmonically rich tailing feedback! Just crazy.

    Respectfully,
    Rob

    • Bjorn says:

      It’s no doubt a great sounding and versatile amp. It’s all about the nuances and finding the sweetspot for your guitar and pedals. My suggestions are only that, suggestions, so tweak the controls until you got the tone you want. Keep in mind too that for the best result, you should do this with ONLY the guitar plugged into the amp. This way you get a clean signal and you’ll also be able to isolate any issues you might have on your board, once you plug that in.

  9. Simon says:

    Hi Bjorn! good sound!! between the Skreddy Pedals Rust Rod and vick audio 73 ram’s head, what’s better? i have a emg dg20 pu, hiwatt t20 and a tube driver.
    thanks a lot!

    cheers

    Simon

    • Bjorn says:

      The Skreddy is uncompressed, raw and fairly bright, with a hint of mid range. The Vick is smoother, with less low end, but you got a more versatile mids switcher. Given that you have the EMG pickups I think I’d go for the Vick. The Skreddy will work but you might find it just a bit too overwhelming for those pickups.

  10. David E says:

    Damn, so beautiful. Is it possible you just keep getting better?
    Fletcher Memorial Home, Sorrow, but what was the first tune/performance from? I know it but I can’t seem to dislodge it from the back of my mind.

    Incidentally, the other day I was a quarter of the way through transcribing The Fletcher Memorial Home solo performance when I realized I wasn’t transcribing Gilmour’s performance but rather yours. So I went back and compared the two performances and decided I liked yours better anyway so I went ahead and finished it. Keep playing Bjorn, I’ll keep listening.

  11. Rob says:

    Thank for your comments. Obviously people have different tastes. However I’m not sure how it pertains to our discussion. We’re just trying to refine a certain tone for a specific song. Of which Bjorn is extremely well versed.

  12. Rob Hackett says:

    Bjorn,
    My RC 50 settings are Bass 11ish, Treble 10ish, Middle 1ish, Presence 3-4ish. Now I have a PS, so high Bright is jumped with low Normal, and plugged into high Bright. No “Master Volume” has Drive and Power Scale. The only speakers I have available at this point, are a 2×12 w Vintage 30’s, and a 1×12 w a 12in Creamback. Neither of which is optimum for the Dave time. Having said that, I have a BYOC Large Beaver Triangle, Vick Audio 73′ Rams Head, Buffalo Fx Patriot, for Muffs. An OCD, Wampler Plexi Drive, Dover Drive, Klon KTR, and Thro-Bak Overdrive Boost for drive and boost. A 99′ Dlx Electric Mistress, Vibe Machine, MXR “regular” Phase 90 (hate it), and EHX Small Clonefor modulation. An Analogman 3 Knob Compressor, and Strymon OB-1 Optical Compressor. TCE Nova Digi Delay, and Strymon El Capistan. Guitar is a Fender Custom Shop 60′ ReIssue. Pickups are DAlllen Echoes. I often wonder, or feel like the Push/Pull bridge pickup may be, or one of, the issues.
    Now adjusting, lowering, the pups DID help. Another funny thing is if I use the Mistress on the second CN solo, if helps for some reason. However is obviously overpowers it. And probably isn’t in solo anyway. I have been shopping Chorus, for some subtle modulation. Don’t like the Small Stone. Just sound artificial, or thin.
    Anyway that’s what is at my disposal.

    Thoughts?

    Respectfully,
    Rob

    • Rob Hackett says:

      This amp (RC 50 PS) is incredible! Figured how to set the Bright and Normal channels and use the Drive as the Master Volume. When the tubes heat up, Triangle, and Compressor out front, the natural compression is just wicked cool! “Money” just soundin awesome! Just giddy. Now if I could just nail Comfy……

      • Bjorn says:

        I haven’t tried the amps with a drive control but I recon that’s the same as the master…? Or does it drive the front end? Dod you use the PS feature? Keep in mind that it’s really meant to be used IF you are driving the amp for distortion and need a lower volume. If you run the amp all clean, then the PS isn’t really necessary since you can pretty much set the volume as low as you need. However, David run his amps at the breaking point, which means that you need to find the sweetspot between the channel volume and the master/drive. Usually that would mean that the channel volume would be set fairly high, while the master is as high as you need it for the output volume. You want the front end driven pretty hard but not into distortion. This creates a very fat sounding clean tone, which will also make the Muff sound much warmer and smoother. I would also lower the treble down to 9 and even try the presence around 9 or 10 to roll off high transients. How’s that?

  13. Rob Hackett says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time Bjorn.
    Like so many here after DG. And who doesn’t start with Comfy Numb. Older stuff seams a bit easier. A bit! I don’t really try to achieve his studio, or live tone. For obvious reasons. I really try and go after your tone, as you have so many years at refining it. And done very well with it. I did in fact lower my pups. Definite difference! Helped with 4-6 strings for sure. Waaaay less muddy! Just sounds thin, metallic? Or a word or term, I just done know. Maybe lacking mids? Bridge pickup?

    • Bjorn says:

      You shouldn’t lack mids, as the Hiwatt has plenty of it. What’s your amp settings, speakers, pickups and what pedals do you use for your favourite Comf Numb tone?

  14. Jørn says:

    Hi Bjørn- great playing and great demo as always!
    How do you compare this one to the Mojo Iron Bell?
    Do you know if there are any sellers of this pedal in Norway, or do I have to order it from Shreddy Pedals ( and pay freight and customs making it kinda expensive)

    Best wishes

    Jørn

    • Bjorn says:

      Hei Jørn! This is a straight ram’s head model, with a pretty raw and uncompressed tone. The Iron Bell is a so-called stacked Muff, which is kind of what you get when pairing a Muff with a booster. The tone is much more amp-like, with more compression and just a smoother and more saturated tone tending towards conventional distortion. I don’t think there are any dealers in Norway. I haven’t seen any.

  15. Rob says:

    And I’m allowed to play loud! Lol

    • Gunslinger says:

      Rob, I would also add that what is right for one player is not always right for someone else. For example I like a nice V neck on my strats but I would not want a DG Signature Strat as the neck shape does not suit me, as what is right for DG is not necesarily what is right for me!
      Same with tones hence Bjorn asking, what you are after?

  16. Rob says:

    Man I quit! Bought a Reeves Custom 50, still can’t get the right tone. No matter what I do, either it sounds thin, or the 4-6 strings sound muddy. I mean your, Comf Numb lets say, tone sounds better on your Cub! Have all the right pedals, isolated power source, amp, guitar, pups…..I mean wow! I’m down to maybe the DAllen push pull bridge pup?! Do I need the SSL-5? Help!!

    Very Respectfully,
    Rob

    • Bjorn says:

      Hmmm… Well, tone can sometimes be rocket science. I always start by asking “what tones do you want?” It may be easy to answer but to get there you also need to know what it is that makes up the tone you’re trying to achieve… whether it’s one you’ve heard or one that’s in your head. I love my Reeves amp but it’s not for all the tones I desire and it can sound very wrong for certain stuff. That’s the case with all types of gear really. The topic is huge and very hard to answer but I would start with the guitar and amp. Those are your main ingredients and if you can’t make those to sound right, then no pedal will save you. Spend time getting to know your guitar and amp, tweak the settings, adjust the pickup height, use different cables… experiment and do that BEFORE you add a single pedal. Try to be a bit more specific in what tones you want, describe your gear in detail and maybe I can help….

  17. Al says:

    So I guess I should cancel the order on the Banana Boost….
    Great Reviews for what its worth…

  18. Rob says:

    Maz 38 NR at the moment. Ordering a Reeves as well speak. Just asking Bill about running 7-8 pedals thru the front. Says it should be fine. But I’m gonna get the loop anyway.
    I dunno about the Dry Bell! I just can’t find a sweet spot anywhere. Any setting, any order in chain, yada yada. My DAllen Echoes push/pull bridge isn’t quite right either. Maybe I just have ta go to the SSL-5, I dunno. Maybe the Reeves will help.

  19. Rob says:

    Just got BYOC TA, wicked good box! Your advice is always spot on. Except my DB Vibe Machine, she does not like me! On a different subject, any thought on replacement Tele pups for DG’s Tele stuff? Stock or custom wound?

    • Bjorn says:

      What’s wrong with your Machine Vibe?
      You can easily nail David’s Tele tones with almost any pickups, given that you have a similar sounding amp and pedals that he does. However, I would look out for some vintage style low output pickups, 50s or preferably mid 60s wound.

      • Rob says:

        Can’t get my ThroBak to gel with the Muffs either. Just screams if I turn up the gain, especially the pre-gain. Wish i had your years of DG experience for problem solving. : /

        • Bjorn says:

          All I do is to experiment until I either get the tones I want or acknowledge that I can’t get there with that specific gear :)

  20. Ed says:

    Hey Bjorn just wondering how this compares to the electronic orange red pig hoof? I’m assuming that still holds in first place for you:). Also I’m curious if you’ve checked out the new tc electronic bonafide buffer? Hope all is well and once again all your hard work is very much appreciated by all us guitar nerds lol!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Ed! The Rust Rod has more mids… well, less scoop, that is. The Pig Hoof has a brighter top and more lows. They’re similar but the Rust Rod has a bit more presence and perhaps an overall more aggressive tone.

  21. Fernando says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    What can you say about it’s noise levels?

  22. Tedi says:

    Thanks for the review, Bjorn! The P19 is my favorite lead tone. It is really nice that I don’t have to pair with a booster or overdrive to make it smooth. Is the Rust Rod similar in that it doesn’t need a booster/OD after it to smooth it out?

  23. Pete W. says:

    Very Nice! Any plans on a Skreddy Major Overdrive review?

  24. Ian Hamilton says:

    Thanks for this, Bjorn! The pedal sounds to see as though it has more low end, and more “toothy” aggressiveness available than, for comparison, the Vick Audio ’73 Ram’s Head?

  25. KEITH says:

    Incredible! Git the same WoW feeling the first time I stomped on my Castledine V2! Especially loved that Sorrow bit, abd the incredible sustain at the end, and those beautiful.harmonics. that is the tone I love, and use for most of my music when not playing clean. Kick ass Muff clone!!!

    Peace Vrothers and Sisters, Keith

  26. Tom R says:

    That tone is fantastic. I’ve just been using buffalo fx evolution and td-x on my pedalboard lately, i think it might be time to dig out the muff and colorsound again. Going to be hard to resist buying a muff that sounds that good though!

  27. Arya Boustani says:

    Wow. It sounds smooth but with balls like a Triangle on steroid. Very good for Sorrow tone too (I found the expression is quite out there and I prefer that to the Civil War Sorrow tone) and great playing by the way. The tone details last quite long along the whole sustain rather than some muffs (or settings perhaps) dulls up in the tail end of the sustain. It also has a good enough bite without sounding thin. Thanks a lot for the review.

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