The Electro Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi is the classic Big Muff Pi circuit shrunken into EHX’s pedalboard-friendly Nano enclosure. The only thing small about the Nano Big Muff is its size. Once you plug into it, you are greeted with the classic wall of fuzz sound that made it (and kept it) one of the classic fuzz pedals.
Like all Big Muffs, the Nano Big Muff has controls for Volume, Tone, and Sustain. And just like the rest, the Sustain goes from fuzzy to really, really, really fuzzy. But unlike some Muffs, the noise floor on the Nano is really good (it only starts to hiss and accentuate 60 cycle hum when the Sustain is above 3 o’clock). Thanks to that lower noise floor, you can stack lower gain overdrives into the Nano for some added versatility.
The tone of the Nano Big Muff is definitely scooped in the mids. And it has tons of bottom end (to the extent that it was unusable with my Vibro Champ) and plenty of high end depending on where you set the Tone knob. Running the Nano Big Muff on its own with just my humbucker equipped Reverend Roundhouse and Vox AC15HW, I was able dial in tons of great Black Keys and White Stripes inspired Muff tones. Switching over to my Strat and placing the EHX East River Drive (Drive off, Volume at unity, and tone at 1 o’clock) in front of the Nano Big Muff, I was able to conjure up some great David Gilmour tones. Sure, they would have been better going into a Hiwatt stack, but they were good enough for government (or cover band) work.
Muffs aren’t known for cleaning up like Fuzz Faces and the Nano Big Muff doesn’t change this. But it does respond well to changes in your guitar’s volume control, offering up slightly different nuances of fuzz.
What We Like: The Nano Big Muff crams all of the tone of the larger box Big Muffs into a smaller package and with slightly better clean up and a lower noise floor.
Concerns: The Nano Big Muff gets a little noisy beyond 3 o’clock on the Sustain dial. But that’s not surprising consider the amount of gain on tap.
Build Quality: The box is put together nicely, all of the parts line up correctly, and the internal parts look good.