If you’re a fan of fuzz, you’ve probably tried or own a Big Muff or two. From the nearly unlimited amount of sustain, to the rip-roaring, heavy, sludgy wall of doom, the Muff has become one of the iconic fuzz circuits available today. There have been numerous types of muffs over the years, and even within the same circuit, different component values can even make one pedal sound different from another.
But for many, that signature tone of a Muff is also one of its biggest drawbacks—the scooped midrange. Muffs tend to emphasize the bass and treble, with tons of gain added to the mix. But for many players, this combination doesn’t always work well in a live setting. Those same frequency ranges are covered by your bass and drummer, and the “lost in the mix” complaint is heard in many conversations and forums across the globe. So, what is to be done?
The McCaffrey Audio Green Vodka Muff aims to fix this dilemma, incorporating some of the mods often added to custom muffs, namely, a more prominent midrange to cut through the mix and be heard. The Green Vodka has most of the familiar controls: Sustain (or amount of gain), Tone, and Volume.
In addition, there are two other small toggle switches that help customize your tone: a Beef switch and a Pass switch. The right side of the beef switch is the standard mode, and the left shifts the mids making them more prominent. The pass switch has three options and works as a low or high pass filter. The middle position adds no bass, the left adds a little more low-end, and the right is full range bass mode.
I preferred the Beef switch in standard mode and not accentuating the mids, as there is already plenty on tap. And I liked the Pass switch to give me the most bass possible. But it’s nice to have options isn’t it? The Green Vodka is sure to please those that love the big muff tone, but don’t want to get lost in the mix in a live setting. If you can’t be heard using the Green Vodka, you probably shouldn’t be playing guitar.
With the Sustain and Tone controls turned back, I found I got more of a heavy distortion tone, rather than fuzz. Another nice discovery was the guitar’s volume control cleanup. Okay, it doesn’t really clean up like a Fuzz Face or Tone Bender, but the Green Vodka does lessen the overall distortion tone without simultaneously getting too quiet, resulting in another unique and useful tone.
What we like: I liked the entire package of this pedal. While recreating a ‘90s Sovtek era muff, the Green Vodka fixes what Muff users complain about. It cuts through with clear authority. The amount of sustain is as rich and heavy as it should be, it has tons of volume if you need it, and the tone control gives you a lot of bite when called for, but can be backed off to give you a little more of a sludgy sound.
Concerns: As long as you’re not looking for a traditional Muff with scooped mids, the Green Vodka will be a must-have for your Muff collection.