Today’s tone hounds face a veritable cornucopia of classic pedals and clones. One such pedal is the new Green Vodka Muff clone by RJM Effects. Taking as its cue the early 1990s circuit design of the “Sovtek” Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, RJM has delivered a pedal at half the price of some of the older, used models, and has included a few modifications of its own, so the Green Vodka clone is essentially a new version of an old standard.
The Green Vodka features a couple of modifications that ought to interest the potential buyer. Ryan of RJM Effects has mentioned that he’s added two of the most commonly requested Muff modifications to the Green Vodka. The first mod, represented by the “Beef” switch, will, in its leftmost position, boost the low end. It’s a subtle boost, and one that’s probably useful for those moments when, during a particularly intense storm of rhythm playing, a bit of extra thunder is called for. The second modification, represented by the Pass toggle switch, allows the user to roll off a fixed amount of either low or high end. However, the middle setting is essentially a filter bypass. Keeping the Pass toggle in its middle position will provide the unaltered Muff sounds for which the original is known.
On the Green Vodka, even a small amount of Sustain (essentially distortion level) more than hints at the smooth, cello-like tones that this green fellow is capable of. Dialing in a bit of Muff at the 9 o’clock position added a fair amount of distortion, but to really get the sustain for which the Muff is famous, one has to dial the knob up around noon or higher. At this and higher settings, the Green Vodka will deliver that famous compressed, smooth-but-sizzling-at-the-edges sound that’s somewhere between germanium fuzz and all-out distortion. Yet even at the 9 o’clock position, one can duplicate the fuzz as heard on Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick.”
At the highest levels, the Green Vodka will produce a singing, cello-like distortion with wonderful harmonics. Fans of ‘90s-era Smashing Pumpkins would probably find the Green Vodka’s tone reminiscent of some of Billy Corgan’s work on Siamese Dream. Chords will issue forth from the pedal as crushed and compressed. In the highest settings the Green Vodka doesn’t play around; its fuzz is like an all-out attack. Yet for all its vigor, the effect itself is rather balanced. The pedal will provide plenty of low-end without overwhelming or drowning the high-end. What’s better is that the high end itself won’t become shrill or otherwise painful to the ear.
The Green Vodka Muff clone aims, with its solid construction and classic tone, to provide the contemporary player with a new rendition of a classic pedal. Considering the troubles that sometimes beset older pedals, and the high prices of vintage models, the Green Muff ought to fill a niche for the working musician who needs a no-nonsense Muff clone.
What we like: Classic Muff tone, smooth, cello-like sustain. External power jack rather than internal battery hook-up. A couple of tone-expanding mods that many players have suggested would improve the original Muff.
Concerns: The mods are nice but sometimes seemed as if they were a bit subtle. Still, A MUST for the Muff-heads.