History of the Electro-Harmonic Big Muff Guitar Pedal

vintage ehx muffIn the beautiful city of New York, the Big Muff, which acts as a guitar pedal that can distort fuzz sounds, became very well-known. The Muff was created, introduced and manufactured by Electro-Harmonic Company (EHX) together with its sister company, the Russian Sovtek. Primarily the Big Muff was used for electric guitars but later bass guitars also were able to make use of such a powerful yet tiny machine. The Big Muff guitar pedal was invented by Mike Matthews and introduced in the early 1970s. Carlos Santana and David Glamour were the two artists who first used this guitar pedal.

A guitar sound coming from Jimi Hendrix was the ultimate inspiration in creating the Big Muff. Hendrix was not able to extensively use this pedal since there were no available models produced yet during those times until the year 1971. The pedal that Hendrix used was the prototype Big Muff. Reports have shared that Hendrix was really impressed with how the prototype was made. The Big Muff was terrifically legendary how Hendrix played a very important part in the creation of such a powerful pedal. In the lineage of pedals created by Electro-Harmonix Company, the Big Muff Pi was the very first overpowering achievement by the said company.vintage ehx muff side

A lot of artists in the music industry became attracted to this pedal. The Muff became the sound boosters of the music genre, alternative rock between the years 1980 and 1990. Dinosaur Jr. and Smashing Pumpkins were noted to use such pedal. Even the Mudhoney band fell in love with the power of this pedal in which they named it as Superfuzz Bigmuff. John Martyn, who is both a singer and a songwriter, gave its praises and a tribute where a song was named after the pedal. The former bassist of the rock band Ben Folds Five, Robert Sledge, used this pedal in all of his performances, either recorded or live. The wolfmother band with its bassist, Chris Rock, uses the version coming from New York because it perfectly blends with their kind of music, the Stoner Rock.vintage ehx muff pi inside

Jack White of the band White Stripes also uses this guitar pedal in their rock sound which is garage-typed. More variations and versions of the Big Muff has already been released into the market, the Metal Muff, the Little Big Muff and the Mogwai Big Muff. The Metal Muff was specifically and especially designed for more distortion of modern music. The Little Big Muff is designed to be the little version of the mode from New York and then the Mogwai Big Muff, a pedal that is customized. This was intentionally designed by EXH for the Scottish band, Mogwai.

Almost all of the versions of this Big Muff guitar pedal is made up of 4 transistor stages. 2 of this 4 are responsible as the input and the output buffers. The other two is responsible for generating the effect of distortion. Later on in its development, the company decided to create larger box version of this and they called it the Deluxe Big Muff Pi.


  1. Hi. I saw your article on the Big Muff. could you provide any (approximate) idea of how much a used, 1970 big muff from “electro-harminix”, NY, such as the one depicted would sell for today?

    Thanks in advance,


  2. I’ve watch them sell for upwards of $300 on ebay. I would suggest contacting Elderly Instruments for a more detailed price. elderly.com / Ph# 888-473-5810

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