Green Russian Big Muff Fuzz, Hot Wax Overdrive, Cock Fight Plus Talking-Wah-Fuzz, and Superego+ Synth/Multi-Effects - GuitarPlayer.com

Green Russian Big Muff Fuzz, Hot Wax Overdrive, Cock Fight Plus Talking-Wah-Fuzz, and Superego+ Synth/Multi-Effects

Author:
Publish date:

One of the most prolific pedal makers on the planet, Electro-Harmonix has just blessed us with another release of creative contraptions in a quartet that includes reworked favorites, a transition-era fuzz monster, and an otherworldly soundscape generator. All were tested with a Les Paul and a Stratocaster, into a custom JTM45-style head and 2x12 cab.

074_gpr0118_gear_ehx copy-1

GREEN RUSSIAN BIG MUFF

Emerging from Mike Matthews’ rebuilding phase circa 1990 after the closure of EHX’s New York operation in the mid ’80s, the Russian-made rendition of the Big Muff Pi became a favorite of ’90s grunge, punk and noise-rock guitarists, and a collectible fuzz in its own right in the process. The reissue, the new Green Russian Big Muff ($80 street), has a circuit that purportedly remains true to the original, while incorporating true-bypass switching and moving it all to a more compact box.

Smooth, warm, wooly, bovine of low-end, and spitty in the highs, this pedal justifies the Russian Muff’s return, and remains a fun and fierce fuzz by any standards. It might verge on “one-trick pony” status, and the Tone knob doesn’t do much until the end of its travel, but it’s a cool and worthy flavor of fuzz by any standards.

KUDOS Retains the original Russian-built fuzz’s character admirably, in a rugged, compact design.
CONCERNS Tone knob is rather limited, as per the original.

074_gpr0118_gear_ehx copy-2

HOT WAX

Joining EHX’s Crayon and Hot Tubes overdrives into one two-channel unit, the Hot Wax ($109 street) flaunts its charms pretty quickly. To the individual Drive and Volume knobs and shared Treble and Bass, EHX has wisely added a Blend control—popular with new-design ODs and comps these days—which allows you to dial in a balance between overdriven and buffered-bypass clean signals to retain sharpness and clarity.

Between the Crayon’s warm and middly overdrive and the Hot Tubes’s articulate, harmonically saturated, and, well, tubey breakup, this double-header offers a lot of variety—along with über-distortion when you stack the two (Crayon into Hot Tubes). I found the Hot Tubes side particularly dynamic and player-responsive, with good bite and admirable note separation. Crayon, on the other hand, sounded its best at lower Drive settings for a great fat-boost/low-gain OD. Together, they make a tidy overdrive machine that stands up well to many higher-priced boutique two-channel pedals.

KUDOS Versatile two-in-one package, with particularly impressive tones on the Hot Tubes side. Useful Blend knob.
CONCERNS None.

075_gpr0118_gear_ehx copy-1

COCK FIGHT PLUS

The Cock Fight Plus ($120 street) repackages the original cocked-wah-plus-fuzz circuit into a rocker pedal with added traditional wah-wah and talking-pedal effects. As such, bountiful noise crafting is promised, although you can only select on/off of the entire package globally from the under-treadle stop switch, adding fuzz or flicking between wah and talking settings via toggles on the side of the unit (which includes the nifty ability to chain fuzz before or after wah-wah).

My immediate impression out of the box was that I’d liked to have seen EHX put this in a steel enclosure, although the plastic housing does feel sturdy, and is certainly lighter. After plugging in, I found a lot of fun and freaky noises at hand, and particularly enjoyed the ease of crafting both honky fuzz-wah bursts and vocal “fuzz-talk” effects that are tricky to achieve with more standard effects. The fuzz itself is rather raw and spikey, but maybe that’s part of the fun, and there’s a ton of sonic mayhem here for the money, regardless, and some funky good times to be had.

KUDOS A lot of wild sonic potential for the price.
CONCERNS Some players might like to access fuzz and wah-wah independently.

075_gpr0118_gear_ehx-copy-21

SUPEREGO+

Okay, EHX’s new synth engine and multi-effects in 100 words: go! Clearly the Superego+ ($250 street) does way too much to capture its aural excesses adequately here—suffice to say this is a soundscapist’s dream, and maybe a one-stop shop for the entire inspiration for your next indie-movie scoring job. Between synth generation with or without phaser, flanger, vibrato, rotary, chorus, tremolo and more, this thing does a ton, and does it very well. And with inputs for an expression pedal and external three-button controller, plus FX loop Send and Return jacks, there’s more control- and connect-ability than first meets the eye.

I had a blast creating ethereal, glissy synth sounds with layered effects and just enough dry signal blended in to reveal my guitar’s melodic underpinnings, and although I was just beginning to scratch the surface, I’d already say this is worth the price of entry even if you only ever use it for spacey late-night noodlings to entertain yourself. An utterly groovy tool that any sonic daydreamer really should check out, and an Editors’ Pick Award winner.

KUDOS A truly incredible palette of soundscapes within one compact box, at an impressive price.
CONCERNS Mode switch takes some time to get the hang of.
CONTACT exh.com

RELATED