• Electro Harmonix Green Russian Big Muff review

    EHX Green Russian Big Muff

    My first Big Muff was a green Sovtek with the unmistakable bubble font. I bought it new in 1996 and was instantly blown away, quite literally, by its huge tone. It’s still one of my all time favourite pedals so when Electro Harmonix announced a new reissue, I had to check it out. Here’s my review of the Green Russian Big Muff.

    David Gilmour has been using Big Muffs since 1976 and the recording of Pink Floyd’s Animals. The ram’s head model defined his tones in the late 70s and early 80s. By 1994 and the Pulse tour, David had swapped the old ram’s head for an early 90s Sovtek “Civil War”.

    The so-called Civil War Big Muff was soon followed by slightly different versions in green and black boxes. What defined these Sovtek Big Muffs, apart from their cold-war Russian appearance, was their massive low end, smooth overdrive-like gain and noticeably more mid range than the 70s models.

    The Sovtek Big Muffs hit the market just as the grunge bands started to appear. Most of these band wanted those old analog and vintage pedals and not the digital stuff of the 80s. In a way, although perhaps a bit simplified, the Sovtek Big Muffs started the whole reissue and clone boom.

    The Green Russian Big Muff is a brand new circuit based on the tall font (design of the original logo) green Sovtek, which is very close to a Civil War model. It’s got that tight low end and a hint of mid range. The tone is unmistakable and probably as close as you can get to the originals.

    I guess you can say it’s about time that Electro Harmonix did a proper reissue of their old Big Muffs. They have a wast range of different models available but none of them really sound like the ones from the 70s nor the 90s.

    Still, I can appreciate the fact that they want to evolve and maybe offer new and modern versions to new generations of guitarists. But, the Big Muff belong with Electro Harmonix and I think it’s very cool to see that they now properly embrace their own Big Muff legacy.

    What I like about the Green Russian, apart from the small foot print, true bypass and led, which are all considerable upgrades, is the fact that like the original, there are no bad tones. You can pretty much set the controls randomly and you get something great.

    Crank the tone control all the way up and the low end is nicely retained. Roll the tone back past noon and the mid range gets more present. With the gain all the way up you’re instantly in Gilmour territory. Roll the gain back to noon or even lower and you got a nice and warm overdrive pedal, with impressive clarity and response.

    I think the pedal sound best with the volume control around noon or slightly above but try boosting it to around 75% and you get a nice smooth tone, with a bit of boost for your amp as well. Roll back the volume slightly below unity for even more of those creamy fuzz harmonics.

    Paired with a Hiwatt or similar mid range oriented amps, I did the review on my Reeves Custom 50, the Green Russian sound smooth and cuts through any band mix. It doesn’t really need to be paired with anything else, although slight clean boost or transparent overdrive will bring out even more of its character.

    Big Muffs can be a challenge on the more scooped amps and bedroom setups, but the Green Russian fits pretty much anything with its slightly boosted mid range and fat low end.

    So what’s the verdict? I’m honestly impressed and both surprised and glad. As much as I love many of the clones out there it’s good to see the classic Big Muff back home where it belong and for the affordable price you really can’t beat the value and tone you’re getting. Definitely worth checking out!

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39 Responsesso far.

  1. Fil says:

    As always a great review! I mainly use AC30’s (all valve) and I read on your site that a Big Muff is not recommended for these amps. But do you think this new version can fit it nicely??

    Keep up the good work and thanks for this amazing site!!!

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! By that I mean for David’s tones. There’s no reason why you can’t use Big Muffs with Vox or Fender amps, many guitarists do and have produces some legendary tones but for David’s tones, I’d go for either pedals with more mid range or, an amp with more mid range. Having said that, this Green has a bit more mid range than the 70s models so I guess it will be a better option than most.

  2. Fran says:

    Hi Bjorn.
    You said that this pedal finds its best with the volume around 50%. Now this is on my pedalboard, and with the volume in that way it sounds too loud compared to the clean sound. It happens at home but also rehearsing with the cover band. Do you have any suggestions to find a good volume or to avoid this drop without decrease the volume of the muff too much? I play into an Hiwatt Maxwatt g50 with a fender American special. I also push the amp a little bit with a CS2. Many thanks and great review

    • Bjorn says:

      Pedals behave differently on different amps and what pedals you combine with it. 50% is about unity for me but adjust the volume control on your unit until it matches your setup and hear how that sound. There are no rules or ghospels when it comes to settings. Everything has to be adjust to fit the whole.

  3. Huy says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I haven’t posted in a long time as I am no longer that interested in Gilmour’s tones even though I still kick it in when I play PF/Gilmourish stuff. My current tone is kinda like a LP plugged into Fender amps. Kinda like Bonamassa’s tone but with a Strat as I prefer the more layered texture single coils provide.

    Just wanted to say that I still frequently visit your site(s) and that I love Gilmourish and Bjornriis as simply just really good guitar sites.

    So thanks for the effort and work you put in Bjorn!

  4. Ara says:

    As always, great review Bjorn…!

    I still can’t dial any useable tone from the Vick’s 73, no matter where on the board.

    So, I’m leaning towards replacing it with this one since you mentioned any setting will sound good, and will work better w/slight midrange boost with Fender/Twin amps.

    Do I hear… “Yes, go for it”?

    Thanks…!

    -Ara

    • Bjorn says:

      Ha ha, well, as I’ve tried to stress on this page, Big Muffs can sound pretty nasty on the “wrong” amp. Especially if you’re looking for David’s tones. I wouldn’t recommend a Muff for a Twin unless you really want that tone but yes, I do think the Green would go better than most models.

  5. Michel Giroux says:

    Excellent review-as usual!!
    I also have an EHX Bass Big Muff.

  6. KEITH says:

    WOW, If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was my Castledine V2! The sound is so close, I’d have a difficult time telling them apart. Very nice sounding pedal. Maybe Matthews has come out from under his rock, and decided to make some great vintage pedals again. It sure would be nice!!!
    Peace, Keith 👉🙄💨

  7. Hi Björn, great review as always! Do you think the pedal will work well with a BD-2 and Laney Cub 12 (<1 watt input)? Thanks. Cheers!

  8. Tito says:

    Hi bjorn, nice review. Do you know how can i improve the sound of my solid state amp? Ive got a fender mustang amp, a fender mexican strat and the boss bd2. i just cant get a killer tone out of this amp. Please help me!
    Thanks

  9. Oleg says:

    Thanks for the review Bjorn! Finally a true expert’s opinion. The pedal looks tempting but is it worth to buy if I already have Mojo Hand BMP-1?

    • Bjorn says:

      Yes. It’s always down to taste but I think this is much more accurate towards the original Sovteks. Awesome low end and mids. The Mojo BMP-1 is brighter with less low end and not as smooth as this one.

  10. James Tea says:

    Oh dear, I have a Bass Big Muff but I just know I am going to buy one of these.
    Or maybe a few as Christmas gifts.

  11. Ian Hamilton says:

    Hi Bjorn! Thanks for this review, as always! How would you rate this pedal out of 10?

    Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      I would give it a 8 or 9. All of these ratings are purely subjective and there are other Muffs I would prefer over this but it sounds really great.

      • Rob says:

        I gotta ask, what are your top 3 non-vintage Muffs? Patriot? Vick 73 Ram?

        Also, great review as always. At $80 US, I might have to snag one of these just for the hell of it!

        • Bjorn says:

          Thanks!
          1. Electronic Orange Pig Hoof (red)
          2. BYOC Large Beaver triangle
          3. Buffalo FX Patriot
          My old green Sovtek bubble font is probably my favourite but I guess you’d consider that as vintage. I have to say too that this EHX reissue is right up there.

      • Ian Hamilton says:

        Thanks again – How do you find it compares tonally with the Skreddy Pedals Rust Rod?

  12. Silvio says:

    Green russian big muff vs de luxe big muff?

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on what you’re looking for. The Deluxe is obviously more versatile but I think the green is no doubt more authentic towards the original Sovteks.

      • Silvio says:

        Thank you for the reply. in fact I do not really look for the “russian” sound, but to cover most of the tracks where David uses the “big muff”. I have both pedals (de luxe & green russian). with the green russian I can hear the attack and the strings playing, while with the de luxe no. do you think that with the green big muff I can do all the songs of Pink Floyd and Gilmour or do I have the de luxe too? sorry for the bad English.
        My equipement is :
        – Fender stratocaster American series maple neck
        – Ampli Fender hot rod de ville 2×12 (no celestion)
        – Boss bd-2 Keeley(original keeley)
        -Ibanez ts-9 stock
        -Green russian big muff(new model reissue)
        -De luxe big muff
        -Electric mistress 1999 (date)
        -Mooer elec lady
        -Mxr m68 univibe
        – Tc Nova Delay.

  13. Toni says:

    Hi Bjorn, how would you compare this EH Green Russian Big Muff to Jam Pedals Red Muck? Quite similar? In my opinion, the only snag with Red Muck is that it drowns in the mix playing with the band, what about the EH Green Russian Big Muff? Does it also drown in the mix? Thanks

    • Bjorn says:

      That’s pretty much the nature of the Big Muff. You should pair them with amps that has a bit of mid range, like Hiwatt or Marshall or a booster or EQ that can add a bit of mids. I haven’t A/B tested the two but based on memory alone I think the Green Russian has a tad more mids and presence.

  14. Bob says:

    I picked mine up a little while back, and man, totally agree with you, the tone is HUGE and has a great sound no matter where you dial it in. I love the small box, and it sounds awesome in front of my Phase 90. I’m using a Jet City 333 JCA20H in my apartment and just fills the space. I’m loving this thing, I traded my tone wicker big muff for it. I’d love a Civil War or Ram’s Head muff at some point. But the Patriot may be my next fuzz I get.

  15. john carroll says:

    Hi Bjorn, just got a buffalo patriot, so should I bother with this? You can’t have too many dirt pedals but is it too close to the patriot in your opinion, thanks dude, Johnny…

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on what you mean by “too close”… they’re both based on the same models and specs and I guess it’s down to the small nuances. The Patriot is perhaps a tad darker and more throaty sounding, if that makes sense. I like them both!

  16. Max says:

    Hey Bjørn !

    Great review as usual!

    Did you notice any differences between the Green Russian and the bass big Muff model or are they very similar?

    Thanks in advance and for all that you did!

    Max

    • Bjorn says:

      They’re based on the same original models and specs and as much as I like the Bass Muff, I think this one’s much closer to the real deal. It sounds more dynamic and open. I definitely prefer the Green.

  17. Rich says:

    Do you think EH will reissue some kind of Rams head or violet Rams head??

    • Bjorn says:

      I have no idea but I doubt it. There were just too many variations and inconsistencies back then and it would be hard to do a proper reissue. Not like this one anyway. We might see a ram’s head but I think the approach would be more like a boutique or clone, with a similar sounding tone rather than a true replica or reissue.

  18. Arya Boustani says:

    Thanks for the review. So many variations of big muff creates a big mountain of choices and inevitable complex subject especially for people that can’t afford. So it is a hopeful and clear path after reading your review.
    Would you boost the input or output of this muff? Normally boosting input makes it more saturated and compressed (reduces the dynamic expressions) so I suspect boosting the output is more useful. Cheers.

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