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The creative minds at JAM pedals have attracted a lot attention, and their artist roster is a who's who of monster players known for their sound: John Scofield, Julian Lage, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Kirk Fletcher, Steve Lukathor, Greg Koch, Jonny Lang, Daniel Lanois, Jim Campilongo, Andy Timmons and many more. Now let's get to mucking.
What's new with the Mark II?
In addition bass-specific graphics, the Red Muck Mark II Bass fuzz features a foot selectable boost switch and a wet/dry mix. The boost switch is an obvious plus, but the wet/dry really expands the overall capability of the Red Muck. Fully CCW, the Muck passes through 100% clean signal, and as you turn the knob CW you blend in increasing amounts of Muck tone. The ability to blend clean and fuzz tone does wonders to creating heavy fuzz tones that still retain attack and definition. Or a mostly clean tone with an essence of "grit" in the background. The possibilities are endless. For 2019 JAM is introducing soft touch latching switches in place of the old mechanical footswitches. So you don't really need to "stomp" any more on your stomp box.
JAM is known for their NOS components but the Red Muck takes a modern approach and combines the ideas behind three legendary fuzz pedals. The inspiration circuits are all from the Electro-Harmonix hall of fame: The '71 Triangle, Red Army Overdrive and Civil War Fuzz. Now before you start writing letters to JAM, the '71 Triangle is the name of the original Big Muff pedal so they didn't skip over anything. Both the Civil War and Red Army pedals were big hits from the Russian production line in St. Petersburg from the late 80's and early 90's. Jammed all into one box, the Red Muck covers fuzz tones ranging from classic and prog rock all the way into deep grunge territory.
As with other JAM products we've sampled, the Red Muck sounds very rich, but you also hear the instrument's natural voice even at very gritty levels. The controls are meant to be used in their full capacity so don't be afraid to turn it all the way up, or down: The Red Muck is full of sweet spots. At low levels of gain you get significant tone thickening with the crisp breakup coming out with harder playing dynamics. With more gain the pedal increasingly saturates your signal with smooth, organic distortion (which of course you can blend with clean signal using the mix control).
Overall the Red Muck MK.2 is a load of fun. It nails the best fuzz tones of the 70's, 80's and 90's and works well with just about any rig. If you want a fuzz that's built like a tank, and works to better everyone's tone, join the Red Muck Revolution.