Electro-Harmonix English Muff

Designed to emulate the fab tones of late-’60s British amps, the English Muff’n ($298 retail/$190 street) employs two 12AY7 tubes and a 3-band EQ (Treble, Mids, Bass) to deliver tea-riffic Brit-tones that will have you saying “cheerio!”

The pedal’s EQ is capable of paint-peeling highs and speaker-busting lows. But with all of the controls set at high noon, my Deluxe Reverb suddenly got all JTM 45 on me in a big way, delivering corpulent midrange and a wonderfully expressive tang in the treble frequencies. Higher gain settings can get a bit squirrelly and undefined, though—especially with

single-coils—but I was more than happy to stay in the pedal’s medium-gain realm.

As a bonus, the English Muff’n will also blast the front-end of your amp with more force than a Churchill Infantry Tank. And the dynamic interplay between your guitar’s volume knob and the Muff’n is amazing, as its clean tones are nothing but inspiring—and this is a distortion pedal, mind you. Sporting easy-to-access-tubes (something that can’t be said of the other tube-equipped pedals in this roundup) the Muff’n just hankers for some tube swappin’. Replacing the second stage 12AY7 with a much higher-gain 12AX7 yielded more distortion, output, and treble—basically, a very hip revoicing. Conversely, putting the 12AX7 in the first stage jammed a randy blast of signal into the 12AY7, making the pedal sound even hotter. Color me impressed.