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Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal  

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The Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi overdrive and distortiuon pedal is a classic 1960's overdrive based around a hand-selected germanium tra...Read More

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OVERVIEW

Dial up that slightly torn speaker sound or dial in total Germanium "Satisfaction."

The Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi overdrive and distortiuon pedal is a classic 1960's overdrive based around a hand-selected germanium transistor. To get the best results from the E-H Germanium 4, just set aside some time to practice in a quiet room—just you, your amp, and the Germaium OD. The interaction of each control will reward you with many different flavors of exceptional vintage overdrive.

In addition to a Gain control, the Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 overdrive lets you control Bias for attack and the circuit volts for that sweet spot found when a battery's voltage dips.

The Gain control adjusts the amount of input signal that is fed to the Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4. The more the knob is rotated the harder the germanium transistor and drive components are hit. The Bias control adjusts the current gain that is sent to the Germanium transistor. It works together with the Voltage control to attain the over all tone. The bias control works specifically with the Germanium transistor. The Volts knob controls the amount of voltage that is applied to the Germanium OD. Set at full, 9V is applied. When set at minimum, 3V is applied. By limiting the voltage a number of interesting saturations can be set up for variations in tone.

A footswitch turns true bypass on or off.

The Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 runs off of a 9V battery or you can connect a 9VDC adapter capable of delivering at least 100mA to the 9V power jack. The optional 9V power supply from Electro-Harmonix is 9.6DC-200BI (same as used by Boss and Ibanez) 9.6 Volts DC 200mA. The AC power adapter must have a barrel connector with center negative. The battery may be left in or taken out when using an adapter.

FEATURES
  • True bypass
  • Gain control
  • Bias knob for putting your sound right at the edge of break up
  • Volts knob for reducing battery voltage
  • Countless germanium variations at the touch of a knob
  • Tough and compact die-cast chassis
  • 9-volt battery included
Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Electro-HarmonixGermanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
 
4.7

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Reviewed by 13 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

my go-to effect

By EL-84_Rules

from Fort Worth, TX

About Me Experienced

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Pros

  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Responsive
  • Versatile
  • Versatility
  • Vintage Sound
  • Wonderful Bargain

Cons

  • None

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Home Studio

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

This device is a vastly under-rated, very durable FX that enhanced the sound of every guitar I own. Strats sing and my LP roars. Wonderful overdrive that I use constantly and kicking in that lovely fuzz brings back memories of the 60's and 70's greats like Incense and peppermint, 'No Time'. The' volts' control on the fuzz side allows real grit and adds a real edge to the right solos. The real bargain is that it's a well built device for just over a C note and you're getting two pedals in the deal! Give this one a workout and feel the love. Groovy!!

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5.0

Great Pedal two-fer!!

By EL-84_Rules

from Fort Worth, TX

About Me Experienced

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Pros

  • Creamy Fuzz
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Great Overdrive
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

  • None

Best Uses

  • Home Studio
  • Performances

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

This is definitely one of my go-to pedals. I usually leave the overdrive on all the time and roll off volume if needed. Great array of fuzz tones, especially when playing with the 'volts' control, which really gives a lot of different flavors to the fuzz. The best buy for the price, you're getting two pedals for a great price. Solid as a rock and reliable as a hammer.

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great Germanium fuzz.

By KenBJammen

from Sunny Wisconsin

About Me Professional Musician

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Pros

  • Good Overall Tones

Cons

  • First One Broke

Best Uses

  • Guitar Effects

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

Purchased this fuzz as I was looking for a fuzz that I could dial way down (to a low fuzz amount, a little sustain, and a little coloring). That is a hard task as most fuzzes are desginged to be overfuzzy.
.
The first one that I tried was great on the distortion side, exactly how I wanted but the OD side was messed up, cut the signal and made only hum noise. After sending that back the next one was really tasty on both sides.

I find it hard to get a reasonable volume and tone with both sides engaged, tends to be really loud when each individual channel is set to a lower OD/Distorition. The volts can give you that dying battery fuzz tone which expands the value of this pedal.

Definnitely a great deal of difference how this reacts with different pickups. Usually there is some tonal differences humbuckers/single coil, but it is more pronounced with this pedal.

Easy to get that light fuzzy sound. Rest of Rig: Gibson V's, LP's, SG, Fender strats etc. 1974 Fender super reverb.

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing pedal!

By jdennis27

from SLC, UT

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

Understand that you'll have to do quite a bit of adjusting and fine tuning this pedal to find tones that work well together, if that's what you want to do. There are definitely some sweet spots though, if you're persistent enough to find them. A side note for Black Keys fans, this thing gets darn near perfect fuzz tones, especially on more recent albums where he uses a brighter tone.
I love that this is two sweet pedals in one. The overdrive side boosts your tone to be heard easily through the mix, and the distortion side provides rich fuzz tones. Not to mention it is very flexible, and combining the two pedals creates an even bigger wealth of tone to play around with. The pedal is very bright, understandable with the Germanium transistors.
Very rugged, high quality design. Classic Electro-Harmonix.
It's hard to find great pedals at reasonable prices, let alone two! If you see a good deal on one, grab it!

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(13 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Good Niche Player OD/Distortion

By srinivassa

from Huntsville, AL

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Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

The Big Muff Germanium is certainly a worthy pedal to try, or permanantly add you your collection. It has a decent combination of OD and Distortion that are fun to play with and can be a very unique addition to your sound. I'll probably spend a lot of time nitpicking the Germanium Muff, but I do maintain that this is a good pedal for anyone looking to experiment with different OD boxes. The primary complaints I have are that the OD is a little bit too weak, and the distortion is a bit to shrill and at times grainy. For those that know the quality of a germanium transistor, I probably don't have to explain the distortion side of this box. If you don't know, you might be getting into something you don't want. It is a pure, unapologetic transistor distortion. It doesn't try to pretend to have an organic tube breakup. It breaks up like a rock through a glass mirror, and even when it smooths out with the bias knob, it is a very shrill sound compared with other OD boxes. If you are looking for a screaming tube lead or a smooth tube breakup, I would try 808, TS-9, OD-9, Bad Monkey, or similar. If you are looking for something on your board that is a far cry from what your amp gives you, this non-metal, in-your-face distortion might be something for you. My personal opinion of the OD side is that it is a little lacking in total gain. For me, you almost have to push the gain knob up a good bit to get a sufficient volume boost on clean, which does break up your sound. Dirty side suffers from having to dial the OD up all the way to get a significant change in tone. Honestly, a Bad Monkey with no gain is about perfect for a clean OD to me. This OD just doesn't have enough boost. It's solid, but I like the Bad Monkey and even my Behringer Linear Booster better for OD/volume/solo boosting. I would have preferred a good bit more overhead on the germanium boost. I find myself listening, going "I think it's louder. It sounds more like it changed the tone than made it louder." That is true of both amp channels. Well, this thing is not going to replace anyone's favorite OD and distortion boxes any time soon. You probably don't want to bump your favorite OD box to get two pedals in one with the Germanium Big Muff. It does have a unique chararcter to the distortion that some people will love and others find useless. The OD does work well if it is applied WITH the distorion on, but that puts you in pure Germanium mode. Overall, this is a good pedal, but if you are like me, you will not want this filling the slot that was occupied by your TS-9, BM, Rhino, OD-9, OCD, whatever. It more of a Germanium pedal than it is an OD/Distortion pedal.
Really this thing would be a 10 for features except that I don't think the OD and distortion work as well as they should. If you really got a 2-in-1 kind of box, I'd give it a 10. I think it falls a little short though.
EHX always has fantastic quality
You get a lot in this box. It's not quite the perfect 2-in-1 OD/Distortion, but it is a good germanium driver box.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great Distortion/Booster

By srinivassa

from Huntsville, AL

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Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

This is a good pedal to have if you are starting out and need a good Distortion/Booster. The Overdrive side makes a really good clean volume booster. If you don't already have a solo booster, this will be a good one. It makes a pretty mediocre Overdrive when compared to a TS9X or a Metal Muff, but it's still there to boost high gain sounds. The Germanium Distortion is a nice little grit box. It can run from a very tight, gritty distortion to a smooth, open germanium fuzz.All in all, this pedal is more than worth it's weight in salt. The only reason not to consider it is that it's kind of a junior pedal. If you have a full board and are particular about OD, you will probably want to get something like a Tube Screamer or an OCD or Green Rhino, etc. There are much better OD type pedals out there for picky customers. This, however, is a great pedal and could work on many people's boards. Essential if you need a cheap booster/fuzz/overdrive/distortion all in one pedal.

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(3 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

electro-harmonix hum

By ManCalledCountry

from Winnipeg, Canada

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

nice, inexpensive and accurate fuzz, but like many EH products is sidled with unbearable noise (likely the reason they invented the useless Hum Debugger).for 100 bucks it's a wonderful germanium fuzz, but the noise makes it hard to want to keep in my rig.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The best germanium .....

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

I first heard about germanium overdrives/fuzz tones/distortion pedals about two years ago. I happened to come across a YouTube of a guy demonstrating Jimmy Page/Zepplin tones with a germanium pedal. I decided I needed one in my ever growing arsenal. The trouble was that the one I saw in the video was out of production and selling for $500+ used on Ebay. That started my quest for an affordable version.... Since then I've purchased and tried several different units. Which brings us to the EH Germanium Big Muff ... This is the best germanium overdrive/distortion pedalthat you can get for the money. Two separate circuits that you can use independently or cascade? Bias, volt, and tone controls? Under a hundred dollars? It can't get much better than this. You should know that this is a "Big Muff" in name only. In sound, and in control-ability it's a whole different animal. This is a very adjustable unit. It's easy to get a good sound out of it - but if you're into tweaking you'll be rewarded with a huge variety of tones. Very interactive with your guitar volume and tone controls. There are many good germanium distortions on the market (the MJM models are fantastic) but, if you're new to the world of germanium circuits, this is the place to start. If you've already got you're feet in the germanium water you may still want to check this pedal out. It does the classic sounds and all kinds of subtle unique things in combining the two circuits. I also want to mention (if you've read this far) the EH Double Muff. This is also not a "Big Muff", but like the Germanium 4 it is a great combination of two circuits. Unbelievable classic tones and great adjustability.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

SICKIE!!!!! but not all around distortion!

By zildjian player

from australia

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

first of all i gotta say this thing kills for hendrix like solo tones, you cand dial in your own sound but it has that sparkly harmonic creamy tone to it( espesially through a strat) overdrive can be a good power boost when you need or can add a hyperactive sceraming beautifull sparkling superman solo tone when coupled with distortion! if you need a pedal for playing power chords or or anyt distorted chord based rhythyms this may not be your pedal. but if you have a good all around distortion (distortion III is beautiful) get this pedal! with a cry baby you can be hendrix!

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

What are you looking for?

By zsUhf3Nam

from Lima, Peru

Comments about Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Overdrive and Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

I REALLY wanted this to be my all in one pedal, but it really isn't. The distortion side of the pedal is great. It is a classic Big Muff and the breakup that comes with the volts knob is really cool. Sustain for days and runs from compressed to wide open, clean to nasty, and tight to sloppy mess. Can't beat this as a distortion pedal.As for the OD...ehh. It doesn't sound bad, but that is all I can really say about it. It has tons of features and all of the knobs are really musical, but with all of it's versatility I can't get it to scream. It sits on the woolly side and sounds more like the distortions little brother than it's own pedal. All in all, I'm going to keep it. I'll find a new OD, but these distortions are definitely a welcome addition to my board.

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