Muff Showdown – Big Muff Pi vs Nano Big Muff Pi


Electro Harmonix claim that they have just shrunk down the original to a size that is easier to fit on pedalboards when they speak about the Nano Big Muff – but is this really the case?

The Big Muff Pi has been a standard on a lot of pedal boards for a long time now, however the pedal itself is HUGE, like monstrous. In looking at the size and what the pedal does, it doesn’t seem to add up – although the size is somewhat what it is known for, so it has stayed. Inside the circuit is pretty simple, but the point remains, this thing is a classic so why change it? The Muff is simple in it’s operation with 3 knobs – Tone, Volume and Sustain (Distortion) and it is pretty easy to dial in a good sound from it. That sound isn’t going to be pretty, it is going to be gritty, dirty and distorted, just what you ordered it for, right? But what if you live in a small unit and you have to move your couch to get this thing into your playing area? Or what if you have to ask your roommate to move out because you need the spare room to keep your Muff? Then never fear, the Big Muff Nano Pi is here!

The sustain on the Nano is gnarly and I found it hard to get it above the 9am position without it just completely crunching out the guitar output altogether. However, in saying that, there is a lot of tone options below the 9am position if you use it properly..One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are testing/criticising pedals is that they don’t use the controls on their guitar at all. Most importantly for the Big Muff is using the volume control for your guitar to get the right sound that you want. Getting to much hairiness on low sustain on the Muff? Then turn your volume knob down and dial it back up from there. Tonally there is a ton going on, so making sure you are using all of the elements of the signal chain is super important.

Overall, I agree with the marketing hype of EHX in saying that the Nano is definitely the same pedal as the regular Big Muff, just with a little more sensitivity on the Sustain knob – overall, there is no discernible difference between the Big Muff and it’s Nano equivalent, so unless you are going for the classic look there is no reason to take up the pedal space of the big Big Muff.

All the Muffs can be found on Amazon and are also one of the very few pedals that you will be able to find everywhere in Australia as well, especially the bigger retailers such as Allan’s Billy Hyde.

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