THE BIG MUFF π - A HISTORY OF ALL VERSIONS - Part 2

Click on any Big Muff in the image below to go directly to that section

VERSIONS 7C - 8 (1994 - 2009)

Last update January 2013. NOTE: This website is constantly updated as new information becomes available. Version, Edition, and Revision numbers listed here are not actual Electro-Harmonix identifiers. They are my categorizations, for identification purposes only. Permission required to repost any information from this site in any ebay listing. Website and contents ©Kit Rae.

Death's Head DaggerVorenthul Sword

THE SOVTEK “GREEN RUSSIAN” BIG MUFF π - VERSION 7C

Circa 1994-2000
Circuit Board Numbers: BM-1-01.00.000 (first edition), BM-1-01.00.001(second and third editions)
Circuit Designer: Based on Bob Myer's original circuit
Editions: 3. First edition with cast metal ridge-sided box, second edition with graphics change but same box, and third edition with six screw all sheet metal box and metal battery door
True Bypass: No
Power: 9V battery only. To connect to a standard Boss type AC power supply, use a 9V 100mA battery adaptor like the 1 Spot CBAT. See POWER section below.
Enclosure Size (first edition): 6 1/2" long x 5 1/16" wide x 2 3/4" tall / 165mm long x 128mm wide x 70mm tall (not including rubber feet)
Enclosure Size (second and third editions): 6 1/2" long x 4 3/4" wide x 2 3/4" tall / 165mm long x 118mm wide x 70mm tall (not including rubber feet)
Packaging: Wood crate box with Russian lettering. There were two version of the box graphics. Third editions Muffs had "BM" added to the graphics.
Place of Manufacture: St Petersburg, Russia

The Green Russian Big Muffs Pi's are the most common Sovtek BMPs to be found from the 1990s era. Also known as the Tall Font and Bubble Font Green Russians. The tank-like military appearance made these very mean looking pedals, and very desirable. They shipped in the same military style wood crate with Russian lettering as the Mike Matthews Red Army Overdrive, and previous Sovtek BMPs, though the box graphics changed sometime during the third edition run. These were made in St. Petersburg Russia.

Contrary to popular belief, these Russian BMPs were not made with spare tank parts, ammunition boxes, land mines (!), or any other junk-scrap military weapons. They were made in a former Russian military equipment factory operated by two Russian colonels. Some of the circuit board components may have been stock that was made or purchased during the Cold War era, but that is as close to military parts as it gets. It is interesting to note that there actually was a Russian tank called the BMP. No, not for Big Muff Pi, but for Bronevaya Maschina Piekhota. It was an armoured personnel carrier developed during the Cold War for transporting Infantry on the battlefield. It was heavy, reliable, but it had relatively thin armour (sound familiar?). It was first seen in public in November 1967 at the Soviet Red Square parade.

The Russian BMP tank and the Russian BMP pedal - which, contrary to popular belief, was not built built from old tank or military scrap parts

GRAPHICS AND COLORS - Produced in the late 1990s, the two-tone Civil War Sovtek Big Muff color scheme had already changed to an all green colored box with black graphics. Now the graphics changed to simpler Big Muff letters. There were three editions. The first edition, nicknamed the Tall Font Green Russian, had tall, condensed, Big Muff letters. In addition to the English MADE IN RUSSIA markings like the previous Muff, this version also had the the same words in Russian letters silk screened on the front end. The Russian letters were last seen on the Red Army Overdrive but never appeared on another Russian Big Muff until now. They remained on every Russian Big Muff until E-H stopped making them in 2009. The second edition from around 1995, nicknamed the Bubble Font Green Russian, had rounded Big Muff letters. The third edition retained the bubble-font graphics, but the box changed to a six-screw, light weight all folded sheet metal box with a metal battery door cover. The letters CE were added to the box end graphics. The CE marking certified that a product has met EU (European Union of 27 member states with an economic and political standard) consumer safety, health or environmental requirements. The green color varied during the production as you can see by the photos below, though some of the variation in color is due to different lighting and white balance conditions of these photos. Most were an olive-drab military green, though some were a shade lighter or darker, and some were bright grass-green. I assume the St. Petersburg factory must have had problems with consistency from the paint suppliers in Russia. The paint on the first edition Tall Font green Big Muffs was very poor quality and literally flakes off. Most Tall Font Russians are like this, but later Bubble Font Russians have better paint.

CONTROLS / KNOBS - Some early examples have been seen with the same gray knobs that were used on the version 7B Green Civil War Big Muffs described above, but most have the common black dimple topped knobs with ridged sides. There were at least four different large foot switches used during the production, with varying sizes and shapes.

CIRCUIT - First and second editions had the same circuit as the transition Green Civil War Big Muffs, although the PCB trace art (#BM-1-01.00.000) was replaced with a new one (#BM-1-01.00.001) for the thrid edition. Some third editions from 1995 had a different trace pattern on a "T" shaped PCB, with no PCB#.

  • The NPN Russian Silicon transistors were usually unmarked, in black plastic T092 cases with white and green dots painted on top and sides. Some third editions had TO92 cased tranys marked 3102, marked EF, or marked EE1. Occasionally metal can TO18 cased transistors were used on the first editions, marked NPN KT3102E 9108.
  • Second and third editions changed the dual 1n0K capacitors in each of the first three circuit stages to a single 470pF cap. This cut some of the bass from the tone and made them slightly grittier and less smooth sounding than the Civil War Muffs, but more like the first edition Red Army Overdrive with 430pF caps.
  • Film capacitors were used, as well as flat, rectangular green or red ceramic caps, and occasionally round ceramic disk caps. No electrolytics were used, other than the polarized 20-22uF power supply filter cap.
  • Resistors were a mix of carbon composition or metal film.

POWER - Power was from a 9V battery only. A red LED light shows when the circuit is on. To connect to a standard Boss type AC power supply, use a 9V 100mA battery adaptor like the 1 Spot CBAT. If you intend to add a standard 9V power jack that works with standard negative tip power supplies, you can find out where to wire the + and - wires by looking at the wiring diagram for your version, or simply follow the red (+) and black (-) wires from the battery snap.

As on the previous Civil War version, a hand drawn/painted serial number appears on some of the circuit boards, though this is rare. I believe these are actual sequential numbers of the units as they were made. It is unlikely the number is sequential for the entire production of this version. The numbering was more likely repeated monthly or annually, or possibly repeated with each color or graphics change. Apparently the practice was discontinued for the second edition Green Russian, and all Russian Muffs that followed.

ENCLOSURE BOX - The first editions had the same four-screw, die cast boxes with ridged-sides and sheet metal tops as the previous Green Civil War version, and the same plastic battery door cover. Some of the first editions had the ridges polished off like the Civil War Muffs, though this was rare. These boxes were finished rough with sloppy clean up of the mold flashing. The second edition had the same box, though the printed graphics changed. There were four rubber feet glued to the bottom of the box, prone to falling off, the same as previous editions. The third edition changed to a less expensive six-screw, light weight, all folded sheet metal box with a metal battery door cover. The rubber feet were screwed to the bottom of this edition.

For the third edition the pcb was mounted to the case top, rather than the bottom as on all previous Russian Big Muffs. For some reason, the pcb was mounted flipped over, causing the input and output jacks to be in the reverse of standard pedal jack positions. There appears to be no logical reason for this. The plastic jacks, which were previously soldered directly to the circuit board and poked through holes in the back of the enclosure, changed on all three Green Russian editions to be secured with a nut to the enclosure back. Unfortunately, this nut was also plastic and broke easily. All three enclosures were very tough “tank” like boxes, but the plastic jacks were of poor quality and the plastic battery doors were notoriously loose and prone to falling off. The battery door changed from plastic to a metal door for the third edition sheet metal box, but some of the metal doors were also very loose. Costs for New Sensor to have these made in Russia were increasing every six months or so and these changes were made strictly to keep the retail price low.

CLONES OR SIMILAR PEDALS - The USA Bass Big Muff is very close to the Russian Big Muff tone. First edition: Stomp Under Foot CWM Fuzz, Blackout Effectors Musket, Montgomery Appliances Civil War Fuzz. Second and third editions: Stomp Under Foot GRM Fuzz, Blackout Effectors Musket, Earthquaker Devices Hoof, Absolutely Analog Green Russian. See DiscoFreq's Effects Database for a thorough listing of all the Big Muff clones and variants throughout the years.

THE SOUND - The Tall Font Green Russians are identical to the previous Civil War versions described above. The second and third edition Bubble Font Green Russians have a bit more grit and bite, less bass, and most have more sustain than the Civil War version, but they are not as smooth sounding. Less gain, fatter bottom end, and brighter mids than most vintage USA Big Muffs. The bass and treble of the tone varies slightly from unit to unit, but the differences are usually minor. They are a favorite of bass players due to the low gain and huge, bass friendly bottom end they produce. That bottom end is also a reason some do not like the Russian Big Muffs. Listen to the Black Keys early live and studio recordings for some great examples of the Green Russian in use.

SOUND CLIP 1 - Wet solo lead tone with strat, Boss CS-2 compressor, a bit of CE-2 chorus, and TC Nova delay

SOUND CLIP 2 - On an Island solo played with a 2008 American Standard Strat, Seymour Duncan SSL-5 bridge pickup, into a '65 Fender Twin

CLICK A PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Shown above - First edition V7 Tall Font Green Russian Big Muffs with the tall font, four-screw, three-piece, ridged-sided die cast boxes. The grass-green models with gray knobs were likely the first produced. As you can see in the photos, most of these have very poor paint jobs. The paint can begin to flake off after only a few years, making them appear to have been through a war. They shipped in the same military style wood crate with Russian lettering as the earlier russian Big Muffs and the Mike Matthews Red Army Overdrive.

Shown above - First edition V7 Tall Font Green Russian Big Muff with the ridged-side box, stock knobs, and rare intact plastic battery door. Note the black plastic washers securing the jacks to the box, a new feature for this version.

2000 Electro-Harmonix Catalog

Shown above - Big Muff Pi from the 2000 Electro-Harmonix catalog.

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Shown above - First edition V7 Tall Font Green Russian Big Muff with the ridged-side box. Note the poor paint that is literally flaking off.

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Shown above - First edition V7 Tall Font Green Russian Big Muff with the ridged-side box. Nearly identical to the example above. Many first edition greens had blue wire or blue mixed with other colors. Though component brand types varied, components values were generally the same from unit to unit. The circuit on the right shows slightly different color banded resistors, which were a bit uncommon at this time (thanks to Paul Setzer for the photo).

Shown above - First edition V7 Tall Font Green Russian Big Muffs with the die cast ridged-side box and aftermarket knobs. Muff on right is a transistion Bubble Font Green Russian, with second edition graphics on a first edition box.

Shown above - Another second edition V7 Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muff with with new "bubble-font" graphics.

Shown above - Another second edition V7 Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muff with with new "bubble-font" graphics. Note the change from the green resin filled pots to metal shell pots.

Sovtek Dimple Knobs.

Shown above - Sovtek dimple top knobs used on V7 Civil War, Green Russian, and Black Russian Big Muffs. Some had the indicator mark filled with white paint.

Shown above (left to right) - A second edition V7 Bubble Font Green Russian box, and a third edition from around 1995 with the new six screw, all sheet metal boxes, and much improved paint. For the third edition the enclosure box bottom and battery door cover were changed to all sheet metal and the input and output jack positions were reversed. The graphics on the wood crate box also changed around this time to the "BM SOVTEK " version shown above.

Shown above - A few third edition V7 Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muffs from 1995, sporting a rare "T" shaped circuit board with a new, unumbered PCB trace pattern, and two-piece, six screw, all sheet metal box. The third edition also included a new metal battery door, though the doors loosened up over time and often fell out just like the previous plastic doors. The third editions had a much thinner enclosure than the previous Russian Muffs, although still quite durable. Note that the pcb has been mounted upside down for all third editions, making the input and output jacks in reverse order.

Shown above - Various third edition V7 Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muff circuit boards

Shown above - A pristine V7 third edition Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muff with two-piece, six screw, all sheet metal box, and wood crate. Transistors marked 3102. Note that the pcb has been mounted upside down for all third editions, making the input and output jacks in reverse order.

Shown above - A V7 third edition Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muff with two-piece, six screw, all sheet metal box. This one sports a new PCB trace pattern, the third for the Green Russian Muffs. You will find this same PCB trace in the black boxed V7 Big Muffs, shown below. Two transistors are dot marked, and the other two simply EF. Sometimes they are marked EE1.

 

THE CREAMY DREAMER MODIFIED RUSSIAN BIG MUFF - In the mid 1990s Billy Corgan's guitar tones from his band Smashing Pumpkins were all the rage in the guitar world. Specifically, many guitarists were after the tones heard on the 1993 album Siamese Dream, arguably the Pumkins best album (although I like all of them!). Billy had stated he used a vintage Big Muff on SD, but no one knew which version, or how it was used. In 1998 a high school student from Ontario, Canada named Jeff (I'll leave the last name out to protect the guilty and/or innocent) was modifying Russian Big Muffs with a combination of several mods for the circuit. It seems he gleaned his Muff knowledge mostly from questioning other DIYers on the AMPAGE forum (which I was also a member) and his own experiments, in an attempt to make it sound like the SP Big Muff tone. Jeff began offering to mod the Russian BMP pedals online through a Smashing Pumpkins fan site, and eventually sent one to Billy Corgan in 1999, who sent an email back to him complementary of the pedal. Jeff then began offering a new "Creamy Dreamer" pedal for sale through his Sustain Punch website for around $250, which was very high for a boutique pedal at the time. The Sustain Punch website noted Billy's email about the pedal, and implied that the Pumpkins liked it and that an authorized signature series was in the works. Many people thought the website implied the pedal was something new, endorsed and currently being used by the Smashing Pumpkins on their new album, Machina.

Creamy DreamerCreamy DreamerCreamy Dreamer.

I saw the old website, and I have to say, that is exactly how I remember it, and it was implied this pedal was all the work of Jeff, with no mention that it was a modified Russian Big Muff. I do think the consumers who bought and promoted the pedal on various websites did blow the SP relationship more out of proportion than what was actually stated, but the hype spread, and the pedal became very popular for a few years as THE pedal for the Smashing Pumpkins tone. A story appeared in the Toronto Sun about Jeff, claiming the pedal created by the 19 year old was responsible for the Smashing Pumpkins sound. Even Rolling Stone magazine reported the sound on the new Smashing Pumpkins album was created with Jeff's Creamy Dreamer pedal. Some were even stating that this was the pedal used on Siamese Dream (!), an album recorded years before the pedal was even made! A few major music gear chains picked up the pedal and thousands of units were sold. Billy Corgan has since stated he did strum a few chords on the pedal he was sent, and did send an email to Jeff complementing him as a matter of politeness, but nothing more. I have read in a few places that one of the Pumpkins crew revealed that they did use the pedal at some point on the Arising tour in '99, but that it was never used on any recording prior or since. I have also read that there is film footage of the pedal on SP's touring board in one of the live videos, though I have never seen this. At this time no one really knows for sure the extent of it's actual use by SP. Billy's statements indicate he feels that his comment was exploited, as he never endorsed, or used this pedal on any Smashing Pumpkins recording, and that he was just being nice to a kid who sent him a free pedal. When word about the real story behind the CD pedal spread quickly on the internet the hype soon died down. There was a lot of backlash against Jeff on the DIY forums over the whole affair, to say the least, but in the end, this was simply another modded version of a Big Muff made by a boutique pedal builder, no different that what dozens of other builders have done since then. It was also perhaps a good lesson on attemping to run a business based on one product that was not terribly original. The Sustain Punch website was closed down in 2000, though the pedal mod was still offered by Jeff later. I'm sure he has moved on, hoping to put the whole thing behind him, but the myth of the Smashing Pumpkins' use of the Creamy Dreamer pedal remains. At the time I wrote this article (2008), it was still being perpetuated on various websites and ebay auctions. I even pulled this silly tidbit off of Amazon.com's Pumpkins' bio.

'After Gish, the band toured, enjoying a cult following from the release of Gish, which sold close to a half million records in a couple of years. Billy began some experimentation with the band's sound, often setting up multiple effects loops for one guitar alone. The sweetheart of this era is the "Creamy Dreamer" Sustain distortion, behind some of the band's "wall of sound" that defines this era of the band.' - Smashing Pumpkins bio on Amazon.com

While working on the Smashing Pumpkins' massive Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project in 2009, Billy Corgan revealed in a blog that he used a vintage late 1970s Big Muff for Siamese Dream, which appears to be an op-amp Big Muff. I have written about it in this section. So how does the Creamy Dreamer pedal actually sound? Read my review HERE

 

THE BIG MUFF IN SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

I have alwasy been interested in science and astronomy, and occasionally read Scientific American magazine back in the 90's, and still do today. Imagine my surprise when I picked up the July 1997 issue and found an article by Big Muff circuit designer Bob Myer and Electro-Harmonix president Mike Matthews! It was a short piece about how effects pedals alter the sound from a guitar, which includes the Big Muff, of course. Click the image below to read the full article.

Scientific American Big Muff Article

Shown above - Bob Myer and Mike Matthews brief article in the July 1997 issue of Scientific American about effects pedals (© Scientific American)

 

THE SOVTEK “BLACK RUSSIAN” BIG MUFF π (LARGE BOX) - VERSION 7D

Circa 1998-2000
Circuit Board Number: BM-1-01.00.001
Circuit Designer: Based on Bob Myer's original circuit
Editions: 2. Graphics changed for the second edition
True Bypass: No
Power: 9V battery only. To connect to a standard Boss type AC power supply, use a 9V 100mA battery adaptor like the 1 Spot CBAT . See POWER section below.
Enclosure Size: 6 1/2" long x 4 3/4" wide x 2 3/4" tall / 165mm long x 118mm wide x 70mm tall (not including rubber feet)
Packaging: Wood crate box with Russian lettering
Place of Manufacture: St Petersburg, Russia

GRAPHICS AND COLORS - These transition models are fairly rare. The military green colored heet metal box from the previous version changed to all black with yellow graphics. Otherwise, this was identical to the green, six-screw version. This solved the problem of inconsistent green color from the Russian paint suppliers for the previous version. Both editions were made with both large and small foot switches. A second edition production model changed graphics to the ITC Pioneer BIG MUFF font, the same font used on the vintage USA V3 Muffs and later USA Muffs. The words INPUT and OUTPUT and DISTORTION-SUSTAINER were also added to the box top graphics. The word DISTORTION was changed to SUSTAIN below the center knob. The word SOVTEK was also removed from the graphics and never appeared again on a Russian made Big Muff. The black color varied from shiny black to dull black. The yellow ink shade also varied during the production runs.

CONTROLS / KNOBS - Russian made foot switch supply had started to become a problem at this time so smaller foot switches had to be imported to St. Petersburg from the USA and Mexico. That is the reason you see some of these with the smaller switch. Eventually the Russian foot switch factory went out of business. Knobs were the black dimple topped type with ridged sides like the previous version, though later production switched to a chicken-head style knob.

CIRCUIT - Same circuit and PCB trace as the third edition Bubble Font Green Russian. PCB #BM-1-01.00.001. Transistors were unmarked Russian Silicon, in black plastic T092 cases, some with white and green dots painted on. The input and output jacks remained in the reverse position like the previous third edition Green Russian Big Muffs, due to the pcb being mounted upside down.

POWER - Power was from a 9V battery only. A red LED light shows when the circuit is on. To connect to a standard Boss type AC power supply, use a 9V 100mA battery adaptor like the 1 Spot CBAT. If you intend to add a standard 9V power jack that works with standard negative tip power supplies, you can find out where to wire the + and - wires by looking at the wiring diagram for your version, or simply follow the red (+) and black (-) wires from the battery snap.

ENCLOSURE BOX - Identical to the green, six-screw sheet metal box from the previous Bubble Font Green Russian Muff, though some second edition boxes have longer metal ridges welded inside the box bottom than others. Jacks had plastic nuts to secure them to the box back. These had four rubber feet screwed to the bottom. Some of these boxes have four digit date stickers inside the box lids. The first two digits are the week of the year and second two are the year. It is unknown if these are final build dates or dates the lids were made or coated. Regardless, the date indicates the pedal could not have been built any earlier than this date.

CLONES OR SIMILAR PEDALS - The USA Bass Big Muff is very close to the Russian Big Muff tone. Stomp Under Foot GRM Fuzz, Blackout Effectors Musket, Earthquaker Devices Hoof, Absolutely Analog Green Russian. See DiscoFreq's Effects Database for a thorough listing of all the Big Muff clones and variants throughout the years.

THE SOUND - The tone is the same as the last V7 Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muffs. Just different box color and graphics. The bass and treble of the tone varies slightly from unit to unit for each edition, but the differences are usually minor.

CLICK A PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Shown above - V7 first edition "bubble-font" Black Russian Big Muff, still in the large six-screw box with large Russian made foot switch, and one with small switch, imported from the West. Other than the box color change, this was identical to the last Bubble Font Green Russian Big Muffs.

Shown above - V7 second edition Black Russian Big Muffs in the large six-screw box, with large footswitch. Note the change to the USA Big Muff font, the word "DISTORTION" changed to "SUSTAIN", and removal of the word Sovtek from the graphics (some may have the previous graphics due to production crossover time). Also note the wider metal ridge tabs inside the box bottom. These are different than the short ridges in other Black Russians and sheet metal boxed Green Russians. The PCB trace pattern is the same as the last Green Russian Big Muff PCB.

Shown above - V7 second edition Black Russian Big Muff in large six-screw box, with short metal tabs inside, chicken head knobs, and small foot switch

THE “BLACK RUSSIAN” BIG MUFF π (SMALL BOX) - VERSION 8

Circa 1999 to 2009
Circuit Board Number: BM-1-01.00.001, 3.000.0001
Circuit Designer: Based on Bob Myer's original circuit
Editions: 2. First edition with heavy six screw box, and second edition with four screw light weight box
True Bypass: First edition no, second edition yes
Power: 9V battery only. To connect to a standard Boss type AC power supply, use a 9V battery adaptor like the 1 Spot CBAT. See POWER section below.
Enclosure Size: 6 1/2" long x 4 3/4" wide x 2"tall / 165mm long x 118mm wide x 50.5mm tall (not including rubber feet)
Packaging: Wood crate box with Russian lettering. Graphics were different than the previous wood box. Later changed to a corrugated cardboard box with orange printing
Place of Manufacture: St Petersburg, Russia

This small box black Big Muff was the final version of the Russian made Big Muffs. The circuit was a favorite for modders because it was very easy to change components for customizing the tone and gain. It was essentially the same circuit as the Large Box Black Russian and the Bubble Font Green Russian that preceeded it. It sold for much less than the reissue USA Big Muffs that were made at the same time, but the costs for New Sensor to have these made in Russia had increased over the years. This resulted in smaller, cheaper, and less expensive enclosure boxes than all the previous Russian Big Muffs. Unfortunately, the manufacturing costs the St. Petersburg factory charged New Sensor eventually outweighed the demand, so the V8 was discontinued in 2009. The introduction of the USA made Bass Big Muff, based on the Russian circuit, was one possible cause for the decline in sales for the Russian made Big Muffs, but overall E-H was not happy with the Russian build quality. A future collectible? Almost certainly.

GRAPHICS AND COLORS - For the Version 8 first edition, the graphics remained the same as the later production large-box V7 Revision D version listed above. For some first editions and all second editions, MADE IN RUSSIA on the back panel was moved under the input jack and the fonts changed. The graphics on the wood crate these shipped in changed to the "CE" version pictured below. The CE marking certified that a product has met EU (European Union of 27 member states with an economic and political standard) consumer safety, health or environmental requirements.

CONTROLS / KNOBS - The V8 used the same “chicken head” style knobs as the previous version. All V8 Muffs used the small foots witches, which were imported from the USA.

CIRCUIT - Same circuit as the third edition Bubble Font Green Russian, and Large Box Black Russian, with new PCB trace art. The PCB number remained the same as before on early units (#BM-1-01.00.001), but later changed to Russian letters for RBEM (Russian Big Muff) and #3.000.001.

  • Transistors used were NPN BC549Cs or C547C type.
  • Capacitors were usually film type. No electrolytics were used, other than the polarized 20-22uF power supply filter cap.
  • Resistors were metal film, with some carbon composition type used.
  • Some first editions are true bypass. All second editions were true bypass.
  • The input and output jacks remained in the reverse position like the previous third edition Green Russian Big Muffs, due to the pcb being mounted upside down.
  • Some early pcb's have a hand written serail number and date on them. The number (up to four digits) is the number for that production run, then there are two digits for the week or month of the year, a period or foreward slash mark, then two digits for the year.

POWER - Power was from a 9V battery only. A red LED light shows when the circuit is on. To connect to a standard Boss type AC power supply, use a 9V 100mA battery adaptor like the 1 Spot CBAT. If you intend to add a standard 9V power jack that works with standard negative tip power supplies, you can find out where to wire the + and - wires by looking at the wiring diagram for your version, or simply follow the red (+) and black (-) wires from the battery snap.

ENCLOSURE BOX - For Version 8, the black and yellow Big Muff moved into a slightly smaller box. The first edition of this box was a heavy duty six screw box, nearly exactly like it's predecessor, but not as tall. Later a second edition came out with an even lighter weight, four screw box design. The input and output jacks remained in the reverse position like the previous Green and Black Russian Big Muffs. Four rubber feet were screwed to the bottom. Some of the later boxes have four digit date stickers inside the box lids. The first two digits are the week of the year and second two are the year. It is unknown if these are final build dates or dates the lids were made or finished. Regardless, the date indicates the pedal could not have been built any earlier than this date.

V8 Big Muffs, both first and second editions, shipped in a wood crate with "CE" version graphics, different from the previous version 7 Big Muffs. Packaging later switched to a less expensive corrugated cardboard box until the end of production.

CLONES OR SIMILAR PEDALS - EHX Bass Big Muff, Stomp Under Foot GRM Fuzz, Blackout Effectors Musket, Earthquaker Devices Hoof, Absolutely Analog Green Russian. See DiscoFreq's Effects Database for a thorough listing of all the Big Muff clones and variants throughout the years.

THE SOUND - Almost identical tone to the V7 Green Russian Muffs, but slightly less clarity and slightly less bottom end on the examples I have played. Most people would not notice the difference. The bass and treble of the tone varies slightly from unit to unit, but the differences are usually minor. These are discontinued, but the V11 Bass Big Muff sounds very similar.

CLICK A PHOTO TO ENLARGE

V7, V8 Big Muff EnclosuresV7, V8 Big Muff Enclosures

Shown above (left to right) - The final four-screw V8 enclosure, the previous six screw V8 enclosure, and the large V7D enclosure. The smaller V8 box and fewer screws were an attempt to keep the cost down.

Shown above (left to right) - V8 Black Russian Big Muffs (first edition) in the new, smaller sized six-screw enclosure box, with small footswitch imported to Russia from the West, made around 1999. These shipped in a wood crate with the "CE" version graphics, then changed to a corrugated box to reduce the cost.

Shown above (left to right) - The V8 second edition changed to a four-screw box. For a while it came in the same wood crate as the first edition, but then changed to a corrugated card board box shown above. Both changes were made to reduce costs. Note the new position for Made in Russia (some 4 screw boxes may have this in the previous position due to production crossover time) . The AC power jack on the one on the right is an aftermarket modification.

Box Ends

Shown above (left to right) - The last V8 second edition four-screw enclosure, crossover version of the same enclosure with first edition graphics, and a first edition, six-screw enclosure. The main difference in the graphics is the position of Made in Russia.

3 2 14

576

Shown above - A 2004 V8 Black Russian Big Muff in the small second edition four-screw box with 547C transistors, and true bypass switch. Note the lack of an AC power adaptor jack. Versions 7-8 only run on 9V DC power. This was the last Big Muff ever made in Russia

Shown above - Since the Russian Big Muffs are no longer made, what can you use to replace it? The green color of the little guy shown above is a clue. The USA Bass Big Muff . It was designed to fill the hole left by the Russian Muffs, but don't let the "Bass" in the name fool you if you play a six string guitar. The BBM was based on, and sounds very similar to the Russian Big Muff circuits in standard mode. Below are a few sound clips comparing the BBM to the V8.

BBM vs. V8 Black Russian Big Muff - chords. Russian first, then BBM

BBM vs. V8 Black Russian Big Muff - leads. Russian first, then BBM

 

 

HISTORY OF THE BIG MUFF PART 1 (vintage USA)

HISTORY OF THE BIG MUFF PART 3 (modern USA)

A FUZZ AND MUFF TIMELINE

BIG MUFF PAGE HOME

Sovtek Muff Collection

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Kit’s Secret Guitar, Gear, and Music Page
Guitar stuff, gear stuff, soundclips, videos, Gilmour/Pink Floyd stuff, photos and other goodies.
Contact: nasnandos @ kitrae.net (remove spaces around @ to email)
Copyright Kit Rae.

THE KEEP ....Mistress Mystery Page. ..

VISIT MY SWORDS, KNIVES and FANTASY ART WEBSITE www.kitrae.net