They’re calling this super-sized version the Eye See Eye See ’77, and the name gives you a clue as to how this Muff-style fuzz is going to sound; the “Eye See” stands for IC, the integrated circuits or op-amps that were used in Muff circuits circa-1978.
Maybe it is just coincidence that punk rock was really breaking then, because the op-amp versions – which were something of a mayflower in fuzz pedal terms, produced for around two years – did not have the violin-smoothness of previous designs. These had a bit more crunch.
But it was not the cresting punk scene of the late ‘70s when the op-amp muff found an audience. We had to wait another decade or so as grunge blossomed in the early ‘90s, and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins really consummated the op-amp fuzz’s electric guitar tone on the Chicago alt-rock band’s seminal 1993 studio album, Siamese Dream.
Wren And Cuff, which has enjoyed signature collaborations with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr – with whom it made not one but two deluxe takes on his number one Muff, the ‘70s EHX Ram’s Head – takes these vintage-inspired designs very seriously.
All made in Los Angeles, the pedal arrives in a super-tough folded steel enclosure that looks as though it would withstand decades on the road. It has been coated with lacquer to resist corrosion, and has a smart silk-screen graphics. Wren And Cuff has used through-hole components throughout and the pedal is true hard-wire bypass.
This is a three-dial box, with controls in the polished Bakelite style for Volume, Tone and Sustain. Wren And Cuff promise a treat inside the box for fine-tuning the sound. But there’s also a tone bypass on this pedal that allows you to circumvent the tone control and run it with a “significantly” more open and raw sound, with a noticeable hump in the midrange.
“While most vintage Muffs are a little sweeter sounding, the Eye See ‘78 is crunchier and more ballsy,” promises Wren And Cuff.
These are not limited edition but the nature of the enclosure manufacturing means they will be produced in small batches at a time, and the initial run has sold out.
More – hopefully – will be on the way. See Wren And Cuff for more details, and the demo videos for an idea of how this can sound. The Eye See Eye See ’78 is priced $324.