Cost: $229.00 new
Shout out to Zach from JHS Pedals for lending and then selling this exceptional fuzz to me!
How It Works and Final Score: 9.3
There is a lot to unbox with this pedal, despite it being incredibly user friendly with simple controls. First off, your three basic controls of volume, sustain, and tone are fairly straightforward. Volume controls the output of the pedal and is very sensitive, providing plenty of options. Sustain, similar to vintage fuzzes, controls the amount of gain or fuzz (which also increases sustain) that is present in your tone. Tone controls the amount of treble, allowing for a brighter or darker sound as you mix and match modes.
The mode section is where this pedal really shines, with 6 fuzz channels to choose from, JHS provides you with endless tonal options that are really fun to try out. Here is a quick rundown of the six options:
- “JHS” is an original JHS fuzz circuit, great for basses or guitars, with less compression and more output.
- “Rams Head” is based on a ‘73 rams head fuzz pedal popularized by David Gilmour and J. Mascis, it has a scooped mid range and less gain than the other channels.
- “The Triangle” is based off of the triangle Muff from the ‘69-’70 era and has a more prominent, cut through the mix tone, with more bass.
- “The Pi” is JHS’s take on the classic Pi Muff known for the huge pi symbol that adorns the housing. It has more a wilder, unwieldy fuzz tone that is more like the vintage version than the recent reissue by EHX.
- “The Russian” is a more modern fuzz used by Dan Auerbach and Chris Wolstenholme and produces a loud, warm sound with less note to note clarity and some of the bass cut off.
- Lastly, “The Civil War”, was one of my favorites thanks to its bright tone, less gain, and more distortion-like sound that was more vintage rock than modern.
Despite this impressive list of options, the pedal is incredibly easy to use and tweak and “set it and forget it” players can simply pick which voicing they want and start playing. If you’re more interested in switching from song to song, or you just want to have access to new sounds after months of one signature tone, this pedal is for you.
You get unmatched tonal variety and quality the Muffuletta and I was not let down by my high hopes for this pedal. Usually, I try to review gear that is highly recommended to me, and sometimes I’m disappointed, not this time. The two best settings in my opinion were “JHS” and “The Civil War” as both provided unique tones I wasn’t quite expecting out of the pedal. First off, the “JHS” is less compressed but really packed a lot of power and output, creating a rich sound. “The Civil War” felt more like a vintage, speaker shredding rock distortion that could have graced The Rolling Stones or The Kinks studios. Furthermore, this pedal had little to no audible noise or buzz, at least I certainly didn’t hear any, making it a great option for those of you concerned with such things.
While it can be hard to judge this in days or weeks as opposed to years of using the pedal, there are no obvious construction concerns with the Muffuletta. It doesn’t feel cheap or like a toy, the way some cheaper, import pedals do. The metal casing is solid, sturdy, and feels like it is well engineered to perform time and time again. I also have never heard anything bad about the durability or reliability of JHS products. It’s small size fits great on my pedalboard, certainly better than having 6 distinct fuzz boxes, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on the road whatsoever. I also approve of the footswitch as opposed to the boss-style pedal switch, which puts less weight and pressure on the whole unit.
Perhaps the only drawback to this product is the price, coming in around $229.00 at most major retailers. You certainly get a ton of tonal options but the single footswitch means you’re limited to one fuzz setting at a time. This means that while you have 6 fuzz modes available to you, you don’t quite have multiple actively able to be used live at once. $200+ dollars is certainly a lot to spend on one pedal, and even with all the options, players may be more motivated to get a cheaper classic like a Big Muff or a Fuzz Face.