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Electro Harmonix / EH-3003 / 1977 / Effect For Sale

Electro-Harmonix EH 3003 Big Muff π V4 Dual Op amp 1977 as used by Smashing Pumpkins, Andy Martin

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff π V4 EH 3003 Dual Op amp 1977 in very good condition and in full working order. 

Please note that the " EH-3003 " in the description has bearing on the model numberfication by EHX ". It has no bearing on the PCB used in the 
fourth version. This PCB has been marked EH 1322.

Number 3 on Andy Martin's top 5 pedals of all time.
Again ...  PCB marked EH-1322

A similar Big Muff V4, but exact the same version was used on Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins ( See video ).


In the past BEP has sold many Big Muffs and probably you that all Big Muffs sound a little different. This one should be classified as the top league of best sounding Big Muffs. 

Quote from our compadre Kit Rae ;

THE V4 SOUND - This is a great distortion pedal with much of the same scooped mids character of the previous transistor versions. Very close, but not exactly the same sound. Overall the V4 has less gain and less bottom end than most of the V3 and V6 transistor versions, but the V4 is also much quieter than a V3 or V6 when the sustain is maxed. It sounds like it has a slightly flatter mid range than the V3 or V6, but the mid range notch actually dips a bit more into the lower mids than those. I think the transistor versions are more organic and reactive to pick attack, palm muting, and harmonics than the V4, but the V4 still sounds great for crushing, grungy, wall-of-sound distortion, heavy rhythm playing, and heavy leads. Dropped D tuning with humbucking pickups is where this version excels. The V4 fizz or buzz that is typical with a Big Muff has a slightly more machine-like, metallic feel in this one than the transistor versions. Compared to the hint of a revved motorcycle engine underlying the fuzz of the transistor versions, the V4 has more of the hint of a ripping chainsaw underlying the fuzz. As with the transistor versions, the scooped tone makes them easy to get lost in a band mix when playing live with certain amps.

Unlike the transistor versions, the V4 tone is very consistent from unit to unit. Some units may have a noticable volume/gain boost when the pedal is switched off due to the fact that these old Big Muffs do not bypass the signal even when off. The signal still goes through and is amplified by the active op-amps, which can sometimes add a gain boost. Adding a true bypass switch can eliminate this problem. This is likely the primary Big Muff circuit heard on most of Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream and Pisces Iscariot albums, so that should give an idea of the potential of this version. This is the rarest of the two op-amp Big Muff versions.

BILLY CORGAN AND THE 'WALL OF MUFF' SIAMESE DREAM TONE - A very popular V4 Big Muff user was Billy Corgan, who used it to very good effect on the Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream album, and several tracks that later appeared on Pisces Iscariot, all recorded in 1992-93. Siamese Dream was one the the landmark albums of the 1990s, and is still highly praised today. It was not only a standout album in the arena of Big Muff tones, but the BMP was integral to the whole feel, mood, and sonic depth of the recordings. Here is a quote from Billy about the importance of the Big Muff to the Siamese Dream sound.

"To me the Big Muff pedal changed the entire course of the album (Siamese Dream). That album is a classic album because of a certain way of thinking with this pedal. So when people say “why was this a classic album” and they wanna talk about pain and drugs and Jimmy (drummer Jimmy Chamberlain), the Big Muff is just as important" - Billy Corgan from a 2005 Netphoria interview

"To me, the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff produces the ultimate super-gain VROOOM sound." - Billy Corgan from his June 2011 Guitar World article

Billy Corgans V4 op-amp Big Muff

There was much speculation over the years about which Big Muff was used for SIAMESE DREAM. Many of us Big Muff users thought he must have used an old Triangle Big Muff. Creative urban Muff legend had it that Billy used a black Sovtek Russian Big Muff with a "creamy dreamer" mod, athough the black Sovtek BMP did not exist at the time, and the Creamy Dreamer pedal did not even exist until around 1999, all years AFTER Siamese Dream was recorded. Based on listening to the isolated guitar tracks, and my experiments achieving this tone using some of the same gear Billy described, I believed this to be an op-amp Big Muff. Billy Corgan revealed in late 2009 (on producer Kerry Brown's Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream blog) that he used a vintage USA Big Muff through a Marshall JCM 800 100 watt head. The amp was modded to fit KT88 China tubes for more clean head room and less amp distortion, rather than the stock EL-34 tubes. His photo of the actual Big Muff used showing his exact settings confirmed it was a V4 op-amp (IC) Big Muff. The graphics match second edition V3 and V4 Big Muffs, but the tone and sustain pot sweep as Billy set them were only possible on a stock V4. Billy had two Big Muffs for the Siamese Dream sessions, pictured below.


Billy has stated that he got the idea of using a Big Muff after hearing a rehearsal of fellow Chicago band, Catherine. All three guitarists in Catherine were using Big Muffs simultaneously. Both bands used the same rehearsal space, and members of both bands have played on each other's recording at various times in the studio. Billy Corgan even produced Catherine's first EP in 1993. Corgan may have gotten the idea for the Big Muff sound from hearing Catherine, but many of Catherine's songs sound eerily the same as the SP Siamese Dream sounds, with identical guitar tones and playing styles. In fact, Catherine was later called a Smashing Pumpkin's clone. Both bands seem to have been heavily influenced by each other, borrowing sounds, despite the fact that Billy has stated that each band trusted the other not to steal their sounds. Here is how Billy described first hearing the Big Muff from his blog.

"As I am good friends with our space mates (the local band) Catherine, I often stick around for their rehearsals to check out what they are working on and offer unsolicited advice…I notice that in this tight room, they sound very like some kind of jet taking off when they play…the feeling is very exciting, and being the sound whore that I am, I not so slyly interrogate them about how they create this dizzying effect…they all point sheepishly to these little silver boxes on the ground, and tell me that’s about it…their vintage pedal, invented by The Electro Harmonix Company, is a simple old school distortion/fuzz device called ‘The Big Muff Pi’…manufactured back in the 60’s and 70’s, it comes in a brushed metal frame, with cheap black knobs (the later models are more easily recognized by the big red Pi symbol stamped on the faceplate)…they sell used for about $75-100, and there are only three critical settings: volume, tone, and sustain (the volume sends the amount of signal to the amp, the tone the amount of bass vs. treble, and the sustain basically means how much fuzz overload you are going to get)…I notice that when the boys play the space hums with an electrical energy that shoots thru my bones and rattles my teeth…it’s as if this room is made for this sound…they tell me that the reason they like using the pedal is the deep booming sludge it makes, as the sound within collapses from the intensified pressure, creating a bigger presence when they rock hard (and also managing to hide a few inconsistencies in their playing)…the affect is immediate, as they suddenly appear to me to be a much more dangerous combo than I last remember…somehow the alchemy of the concrete walls, the cool air, and this dumb little pedal make the band sound like God himself is coming down from the heavens…which of course means I have to go get one for myself…"

Reportedly the Siamese Dream recording sessions were were long and very stressful, with difficulties forming in the relationships among the band mamebers. Billy was the primary sing writer, vocalist, and guitarist of the Smashing Pumpkins. Pumpkins lead and rhythm guitarist James Iha was in the studio for the SD recording sessions, but over 90% of all the instruments recorded (excluding Jimmy Chamberlains drums) were played by Billy, not the other band members. Producer Butch Vig and Billy would work 16 hour days for weeks to complete the recordings, using multiple layers of guitars, sometime up to 100 guitar parts and overdubs for one song. The album went well over budget and behind schedule, but this was necessary to accomplish the complex arrangements and level of high sonic production value Vig and Corgan were striving for. Recording with the Big Muffs was not an easy task either. Here is what Billy had to say about the difficulty of using them in the Siamese Dream sessions, from his blog.

"It is almost impossible to describe the intensity of the practice space when the Pumpkins are playing at full tilt with The Big Muffs cranked…the basic dimensions of the room are around 25ft x 15ft, with the basic band circle smack in the middle of the shoebox…when you have possibly the loudest drummer in the world playing with passion and power (not to mention about 10 crash cymbals slicing the air) vs. 2 100watt Marshall half-stacks and one 400 watt SVT bass amp, you’ve got your basic dull roar fully in hand…add this to that the fact that we are playing in a stone bunker with little or no soundproofing and you’ve got yourself a decent headache blast…but what really puts these tunes over the top, what makes the whole thing ring, and what discreetly pours our liquid brew from sonic anecdote into our own rock and roll riot, is switching to this almost forgotten device…"

"We are obsessed with technical precision, for it is obvious to us that the tighter we play the heavier we sound…adding the Big Muff pedal into our charge makes us appear wider and meaner than we truly are, but all this beefed up bludgeoning comes at a hidden cost…because the sound is so grossly overblown (the amps sound like they are going to explode at any second), the band sadly doesn’t sound tight at all…at first, we figure the sound of the fuzz is going to take some time for us to get used to, and because we are having so much fun playing along with them anyway that it doesn’t seem like a big deal…but after only a few days, it becomes obvious that certain aspects of what we do, little things that we take for granted (namely our focused attack), disappear in a haze once we light ‘em up…we discuss ditching the pedals for good, naively talking ourselves into thinking that we can just go back to our normal sound and compensate in some other way...we only last a couple of minutes using our old equipment before we fall to a halt, puzzled because we now sound to our confused ears boring!…we are at a crossroads, as we have made a deal with the devil (of demon fuzz) and can’t seem to go back…it is a Faustian deal for this most exciting sound that makes us deliver invincibility, but by taking away our detailed intensity, also degenerates us to a common pub band…after some discussion, we unanimously decide the (Big Muff) fuzz pedals will have stay, and we will just discover a way, as yet unseen, to make them work…we will just have to practice all the harder…"

BEP - Boutique Effect Pedals, Netherlands  

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Hello Guitarist,

After 30 years of playing gigs I ended up with my band the Beverly Hills Dildo Cleaners

as a rock power trio. Many effect pedals are used.

This is only a side project next to the extensive Flamenco

 

 
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