Ask any guitar geek for a lesson on fuzz pedal history and sooner or later they’ll mention the Big Muff from EHX. It’s hard to express just how much love there is out there for the Big Muff pi. Not only is it a pedal that changed the game for what a fuzz effect could be, but it also set the standard against which all other fuzz pedals would be compared. In the years since, there have been many attempts – both from EHX and their competitors – to rethink, redesign, and remake the Big Muff. Some have been more successful than others, but none have managed to dethrone the reigning fuzz monarch.
That being said, popularity isn’t everything and a vintage sound will only get you so far. The Dead Stag from KMA Audio Machines isn’t likely to ever replace the Big Muff in the public consciousness, but can this modern fuzz compete on audio alone?
The first thing you have to understand about the Dead Stag is that it isn’t just a Big Muff clone. KMA have taken the beloved discrete circuit and expanded it to include all kinds of tone-shaping features. As a result, the Dead Stag doubles up as an all-purpose fuzz both for guitar and bass.
As if that wasn’t enough, it comes with an active treble/bass EQ with a 15db Cut/Boost, a parametric Mid EQ with 12db Cut/Boost (between 400Hz and 2.4kHz) and even an internal Q bandwidth control. In terms of distortion, the Dead Stag provides a Volume control (Growl), a Distortion control (Mud), a low gain/high gain switch, and a boost to smoothen or sharpen your high mids.
If all the sounded a bit technical for you then don’t worry. It might be complicated on the inside, but on the outside, this pedal is wonderfully simple to use.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a Big Muff that can go a little further, then this is the modern fuzz pedal for you. Just give it a listen and hear for yourself what a truly awesome pedal the Dead Stag really is!
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