Believe the hype!
Balanced tone, lots of sustain, killer harmonics and a lot of fuzz is what makes the 1975 pedals a favorite among Big Muff fans. Not only are they a favorite due to their sound but this circuit has long been thought to be the “one” that gave Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour the lead tone on “Comfortably Numb.” These pedals can definitely get you there but the 1975 pedals are capable of so much more.
Taste the rainbow… Red, Violet, Blue or Black?
One of the most interesting things with the 1975 pedals that I have come across is, not only do you have to take into account that there are several different versions of the circuit, now you have to deal with different colors that were screen-printed on the enclosures.
What I have gathered, from different sources over the years, is that E-H was making other pedals during this time and using different colors on the enclosures. If they had just screen-printed a batch of Electric Mistress pedals in black then moved on to some Big Muffs they just used up the black ink that was already out instead of cleaning the screens and switching to the red ink.
Here are some examples of the different colors used that ended up on Big Muffs.
It doesn’t matter.
Before getting to the sound of the pedals I would like to clear something up related to the colors. Red, violet, blue and black were used on the 1975 pedals and I can tell you that, besides looking cool, the colors have nothing to do with the circuit. Even though I have previously broken the 1975 pedals down by version and color the color part is somewhat irrelevant. What I call the Violet version I have also seen the same circuit in a Blue, Black and Red. The same goes for all the colors. The version I have been making for many years, known as my Violet version, I actually found first as a Black Big Muff. It was one of the first pedals I found when I was younger and has always been one of my favorites. With this said, I am going to go through each one only by version number.
One of my vintage versions.
As I mentioned above, the overall tone of the 1975 pedals is very balanced. Unlike some of the previous pedals, like the 1970 pedals with their huge, wooly fuzz, 1972 pedals with the full low-end and the 1974 pedals with the extra mids, the 1975 muffs have a very balanced tone from low to high. The tone is so balanced that you can leave the tone control right at noon and get a great sound but there are still some slight differences between them.
1975 V1: Large amounts of warm, smooth fuzz that make chords evenly balanced and full while retaining string clarity. Lead tones are very smooth, punchy and warm. Harmonics jump out with very little effort. The V1 has a little more low-end than the average 1975.
1975 V2: Everything above applies to this one but the overall tone is more balanced than V1 as the low-end is at a more even level throughout.
1975 V3: Same as V1 with a little more high-end in the tone but it still retains the warmth on the low notes.
1975 V4: The same as V2 with just a tiny bit of bite throughout the tone.
1975 V5: Close to V2 with a tad more mids in the tone and a little more gain in the fuzz.
1975 V6: This is a very rare version as I believe it is a transition between the 1975 and 1976 pedals. The resistor layout is the same as some of the 1976 pedals but the capacitor layout is the same as the 1975 pedals. This gives the pedal the characteristic of the other 1975s with the open tone of the 1976 pedals. Sounds close to V2 with a lot more open tone throughout.
My favorite out of the six has to be V2 for its incredible balance of tone, smooth fuzz and warmth throughout.
Perfect for: I have always stated that the 1975 pedals are perfect for anything. Being well-balanced, they can fit into any style of music.
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