Sunday, April 3, 2011

The 'Forrest Cook' Muff (1976)

So sometimes my late night ebay binges turn out to be beneficial...

I recently saw this weird, kind of a pedal, kind of plugin, kind of homemade clone of an Electro Harmonix Big Muff on the bay for a decent price. I didn't really know anything about it, but it looked old and the only info the seller had was that he bought it with a box of other random stuff from an estate auction in Colorado and apparently the original owner said his dad had built it some time in the 70's. So going off that wealth of information I decided to take a chance on it!

Well, I got it in the other day and it actually sounds pretty nice. It has a ton of gain available, but is really smooth at the same time. The big thing that stands out to me is the sustain seems to be endless. Its like I'm using an ebow or something! To compare it to a production unit I would say it's closer to a Triangle Big Muff than the Ram's Head, but overall not as sweet sounding.

So in the end it turned out to be good buy, but I was still wondering where this oddity came from and how old it actually was.
The only real clue I had was printed on the bottom of the circuit board in small letters; "F Cook".

So who was this "F Cook" and why did he make this tiny fuzz box? I wanted to know so I decided to post some gut shots of this mystery Muff on a forum of like-minded pedal nerds and was conveniently pointed to the website of electrician, circuit designer and possible candidate, Forrest Cook.
After looking over his site I decided to send him an email with some photos of the pedal and to my surprise not only did he reply, but he stated that it was in fact his design!

here's the message:
Yes, I made a very limited run of those circuit boards around 1976 and sold them to a few friends in Denver and Boulder...
Yes, it's basically a Big Muff circuit shrunk into a much smaller
circuit board than the original.

Thanks for passing that on, I never expected to see one of those

Forrest Cook

So there it is, the 'Forrest Cook' Muff. Possibly the 1st boutique Big Muff clone?///

Thanks for reading!

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