JHS Muffuletta

Disclaimer: I have read about the internet backlash against Josh Scott, founder of JHS Pedals). I have also read his responses to the whole thing. 

People get invested in some interesting things on the internet. Sometimes, the cases for those things are incredibly compelling, sometimes there’s tidbits of truth to the whole thing, but other times  people buy into conspiracies, heresay, and flat out fabrications because it fits a narrative they have in their mind and/or they can get behind.

Whether it’s JHS Pedals, politics, the moon landings, or God knows whatever else…we have to be able to take a step back and look at something from a wider picture. I have and choose to give Josh the benefit of the doubt. 

If you disagree with me and that means you want to part ways from whatever projects I’m a part of, I completely understand and accept that.  Choice is something I very much believe in and I’m all for your ability to make said choice. I also believe in trying to be objective. Sometimes being objective means accepting that you’re going to be treading in some definitively gray areas that others might not be on board with. I’m OK with that. 

As a child of the ’90s and someone who grew up on a healthy dose of the sounds of “grunge”, it is incredibly hard to deny the way that the wall of sound hits you when the fuzz kicks in on Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today” or “Cherub Rock” off of Siamese Dream. I didn’t really listen to the Pumpkins’ stuff outside of the radio hits, but I always wanted that guitar tone. If you weren’t aware, that particular sound comes courtesy of an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, and from what I understand, there are multiple layers of fuzz-laden guitar tracks all over that record.

The Big Muff has been around for some time and there have been numerous versions over the years, the aforementioned Pi being one of them. The Muffuletta is JHS’ reproduction of 5 of those pedals and their own take on it. There are videos, forum posts, and reviews out there that detail the pedal in ways far better than I can articulate and you can decide with your ears.

So why did I choose this?  That’s a great question.

For a long time, I didn’t own a fuzz pedal. During one of my pre-Reddit perusals of The Gear Page, a forum post about a few of Danelectro’s line of metal enclosure Cool Cat pedals were actually clones of much more expensive pedals. The CTO-1 Transparent Overdrive was a copy of Paul Cochrane’s Timmy (back before they were available on a production level), the CO-1 Drive was a copy of the Fulltone OCD v1, and the CF-1 Fuzz was a copy of the Frantone Peachfuzz.

The Timmy cost $150 (I believe) but came with a decent wait time, which upped the resale value. The OCD was somewhere in the same neighborhood but readily available. The Peachfuzz was a whopping $300 on the used market and still commands a hefty price. The Cool Cat pedals? Those were $35 apiece. Naturally, I ordered all three “copies”. Eventually, Danelectro came out with new versions of those three pedals and, according to a Paul Cochrane post on The Gear Page, even paid him for the pretty much nearly identical infringement.

Once I got the CF-1 Fuzz, I absolutely LOVED it. I was blown away and I began incorporating the fuzz sound in a number of songs. The other two pedals sat in the background unused. I used the CF-1 for years and years. I bought and owned a Barber Trifecta, an EQD Hoof, an EQD Park, and a Walrus Audio Jupiter Fuzz v1. None of them could displace the CF-1 Fuzz.

In 2017, I bought my Les Paul from Guitar Center and got $95 in rewards certificates. The nearby Guitar Center had a used Muffuletta for $140 or something in that neighborhood. I figured it was worth a $55 investment since the gift certificates were basically free money. I got it home, turned on the Pi version, dialed in some settings, and the CF-1 was relegated to the pedal drawer along with its Cool Cat brothers. The Muffuletta did exactly what I wanted out of a fuzz, though it was a different flavor from the CF-1.

The interesting thing about the Muffuletta is that the controls respond differently for each different setting on the version knob. It’s not consistent and would be frustrating in a live situation, but I will never play in a live situation again. In the controlled environment of a home studio. I can dial in whatever sound I need, and they all sound different enough from one another that I have six pedals in one.

Now, all that being said, and in the name of honesty, I bought and put the Muffuletta on my board because it gave me Pumpkins-esque sounds, but that is such an iconic sound and part of me wants to put a little distance from it. I ended up buying a second EQD Hoof pedal and that might eventually replace Muffuletta if it moves onto greener pastures. That’s been a development that’s only come about this month (October of 2018), so time will tell how it develops.