Electro-Harmonix EH 3003 Big Muff π NYC Classic Version 9 USA

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About This Listing

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff π Version 9 Classic NYC in good condition and full working order. Battery lid at backside is missing.

Quoted from Kit Rae :

2000 to present
Designer: Original circuit design by Bob Myer. V9 circuit modifications by E-H engineer Fran Blanche
Circuit Variants: 6
Model Numbers: EC3003 (2000), EC3003A (2000), EC3003B (2007), EC3003C (2008), EC3003D (?), EC3003E (2013)
True Bypass: Early production was not true bypass, but after 2001 all USA Big Muffs were made true bypass
Power: Current draw approximately 3 mA. 9V battery or power jack for an AC adaptor. Jack is 1/8" (3.5mm) plug tip positive. This is reverse polarity of typical pedals so use an E-H power supply or use a converter adaptor like the 1 Spot C35 3.5mm Converter
Place of Manufacture: Assembled in Long Island City, New York, USA
Packaging: Wood box with red and black printing. Later production changed to a white corrugated cardboard box with same printing

Nicknamed the Classic NYC (New York City) Big Muff Pi. Early on, it was referred to as the NYC Reissue Big Muff Pi, even though technically it was not a reissue of any previous version. Since the 1991 return to production of the Big Muff manufactured in Russia, E-H founder/owner Mike Matthews found that there was also a demand for a true American made Big Muff. EHX began working on a new USA Muff in the Astor Place facility in Manhattan, New York. Fran Blanche, superb boutique pedal maker and founder of Fronton, was an engineer at EHX from January 1999 to the Summer of 2000. She was responsible for the design of the huge EHX tube burning and testing machines, with J.C. Morrison, and was also given the job revising the circuit for the reissue New York Big Muff.

Fran spent a few months building prototypes of variations on the classic Big Muff circuit design, as well as some new Muff designs. Mike Matthews and several other E-H employees reviewed and tested these dozen or so different prototypes. One of the classic version prototypes was chosen to be the new USA Big Muff, the ninth version. The circuit architecture is essentially the same as the original Bob Myers BMP design, only with a new set of component values. This was nothing new in the history of the original Big Muffs, as there were literally dozens of different variants of the circuit throughout the 1970s. In 2000 the Big Muff returned to production once again in New York, now in Matthews' Long Island City facility (thanks to Fran Blanche for additional info).

GRAPHICS AND ENCLOSURE - Version 9 used the same style folded sheet metal box and graphics as the older USA version 3-6 Big Muffs. The silk screened graphics were identical to the version 3-6 graphics with the ITC Poneer Big Muff font, but the words TONE BYPASS were removed since there is now no tone bypass switch, and (annoyingly) no on/off switch. I have seen a few V9's varinats without the large black graphic on the lower half, so the satin steel enclosure shows there, like some V6 Big Muffs. A red LED light was added to the upper left of the box top, and a door cover was added to the back of the box to access the 9v battery - both firsts for a USA Big Muff. All previous Muffs required the entire top of the enclosure to be removed to access the battery. The AC adaptor jack remained from previous versions, although it is positioned slightly farther away from the AMPLIFIER jack than on versions 3-6. There were four rubber feet on the bottom as on the V3-6 Muffs.

THE MOGWAI "ROCK ACTION" BIG MUFF - This was a custom silk screened version of the stock 2001 Big Muff used to promote the release of Scottish band Mogwai's third album, Rock Action

THE "PEDAL ISSUE" BIG MUFF - In 2010 Premier Guitar magazine ran a special pedal issue that featured four different covers, each showcasing an effects pedal with custom graphics incorporating the magaizine content graphic design. Naturally the Big Muff was chosen as one of these pedal issue covers. Working with Rick Stevenson at EHX, Premier designed the initial graphics and EHX graphic artist Lisa De Santis revised with the correct Big Muff font and colors, and added the Pi logo (which was almost left off). Jorge Martinez, EHX silk screen artist, applied the graphics to the pedal. The circuit inside was the current revision C version. Only a small number of these were made for the issue cover, and as a contest givaway by Premier Guitar (thanks to Rick Stevenson and Larry Demarco of EHX for additional info, and Mike Matthews for donating one to the Big Muff Pi Page).

CONTROLS / KNOBS - Early production V9 Big Muffs were made with the old style Daka-Ware pointer knobs with ridged sides until around 2001. These knobs were made by Davies Molding of Chicago and are almost identical to their old Daka-Ware V2/V3 Big Muff knobs used in the 1970s, with the exception of an added white indicator line. E-H continued to use these knobs in their advertising up to the late 2000s even though they stopped shipping product with them around 2001 and changed to similar flat topped "hockey puck" shaped knobs as used on the V5 and V6, and other E-H pedals. These new puck knobs were slightly smaller than the vintage Daka-Ware knobs.

CIRCUIT - In 2000 the first edition circuit board was marked EC3003 and used four 2N5088 transistors. Tone sucking when in bypass mode was a common complaint about EHX pedals, and the "true bypass" fad was beginning around this time, so a true bypass foot switch was added with the EC3003-A revised circuit board later that year. The component values appear to be a mix of a late 1970's V2 BMP, with a deeply mid-scooped tone section from one of the early V1 BMP's, and 390Ω emitter resistors in the clipping stages from a Sovtek BMP. The 3003-A revision from 2001 was basically the same. Previous USA Big Muffs used 1N4148 Silicon diodes, but EHX changed to 1N6263 Silicium Schottky diodes for the reissue in 2000. These compress the sound more and make it slightly more trebly, contributing to the different sund of the reissues. EHX changed back to 1N4148 by 2008.

In 2007 the board was changed to a third edition EC3003-B schematic with BC550C transistors, and in 2008 it was changed to a fourth edition EC3003-C schematic, also with BC550C transistors. The EC3003-C changed the volume pot to a 500k logarithmic taper pot, though the tone and sustain pots remained 100k linear taper as on previous Big Muffs. There were also 3003-D and 3003-E circuit revision between 2008 and 2013. Most of these revisions do did not affect the sound much, but there is a big difference between the original 2000 circuit and the version from 2007 and later.

PACKAGING - These shipped in a wood crate box but later changed to a corrugated cardboard box that matched the style of the old V3-6 Muff boxes, presumably to reduce the manufacturing cost.

These V9 NYC reissues are often confused with the vintage black and red Big Muffs made from the late 1970s through 1980s, but the vintage versions did not have an LED light and included the slider switch on the back. Some of the re-issues were made with the old style pointer knobs with ridged sides, almost identical to the old V3 knobs, which has added to the confusion. The easiest way to tell if it is a V9 reissue is to look for the red LED on the front and the battery door cover on the back. That LED changed from a standard red LED to a clear red LED around 2008.

THE SOUND - The tone is in the same family as the old version 6 Big Muffs from the early 1980s, though this is not actually a reissue of that version. Component values were changed, making it a bit more muffled (muffier?), and modern sounding, without the clarity of most of the early vintage USA Muffs. The first version is the most like the old early 70's Big Muffs, with a bit more note clarity than the later revisions, and slightly less bass. The 2000 and revision A circuits sound the same. The component values were modified in 2007 (revision B) and then again in 2008 (revision C). The later versions have a thicker and bassier sound than the Rev A and B circuits, with less note clarity, but a thicker and heavier sound when playing chords. The bottom end is also beefier on the B and C versions than most vintage Muffs. Presumably this was done to give them a more modern, heavy and dronier sound. Mid tones are very scooped. These do not react as sharply to pinch harmonics as the V1, V2, and V3 Big Muffs and do not work as well for crisp palm muting as some early Muffs. It has a grungier, but very cool character to the sound. Think Jack White of the White Stripes' tone. The bass and treble varies slightly from unit to unit, but the differences are usually minor.

Product Specs

Listed4 years ago
ConditionGood (Used)
Good condition items function properly but may exhibit some wear and tear.learn more
Made In
  • United States

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