Best Distortion Pedal Under $100: Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Guitar Effects Pedal Review

The Big Muff Pi guitar effects pedal has been around for more than four decades now. It’s been part of the industry for so long and has become so popular among renowned rock artists that it has helped define what rock music sounds like.  If you’re looking for an awesome affordable pedal, the Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff is the best distortion pedal under $100.

This time Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects PedalElectro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff[/easyazon_link]  has shrunk the entire Big Muff design so that it now comes in a more convenient and smaller Nano size. However, the familiar fuzz sound remains, and it’s this definitive sound that has made the Big Muff such a classic throughout the years.

Features of the Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Guitar Effects Pedal

Here are the features you can expect from the EHX Nano Big Muff:

  • Like its bigger sibling, the Nano Big Muff comes with three knob controls for volume, tone, and sustain. You can set the volume high to really bring on the distortion. The tone dial allows you to set the color of your sound, while the sustain control releases a singing tone that’s strong and silky.
  • As it’s called the “Nano,” the enclosure is both rugged and pedalboard-friendly compact. It measures 4.3 by 2.2 by 2 inches, and it weighs 0.55 pounds. The regular Big Muff is about five times larger.
  • It uses a 9V battery, and one is included in your purchase.
  • It’s ready to play. You just plug your guitar into it, and then you plug the pedal into the amp.
  • Despite its smaller size, it still features the uniquely menacing tone of the bigger Big Muff. The grittiness of the fuzz reminds you of 1970s heavy metal or the grunge sound of the early 1990s.
  • The tone is quite scooped in the mids. You get plenty of bottom end and lots of high end, though this depends on how you set the tone.


  • It’s very easy to use. There’s really nothing to it, as you can plug your guitar in and then plug this into your amp – I like the Monoprice tube amp a lot right now.
  • The compact size is amazing and definitely convenient for teens with cramped bedrooms for practice. The original Big Muff was cut down to just 1/5 of the size for this model.
  • The sound is still Big Muff despite the much smaller size. It offers that thick and aggressive tone that characterizes 1970s rock and 1990s grunge. On lead lines, it sustains notes forever, and the effect is intimidating when you use a power chord.
  • The tone knob is especially versatile. Set it to before the “noon” setting, and you get a menacingly thick and dark tone. Get past the noon setting, and it retains the high end so that you can still hear the upper strings.
  • It also responds very well to the volume control of your guitar, so you can get somewhat different fuzz nuances as a result.
  • If you like old school rock, you really ought to get this to reproduce that same sound.
  • It’s also easy enough to fiddle with, so you can find the right dial settings that work for you.


  • There’s an annoyingly loud pop when you first turn it on, which is the result of feedback.
  • It does put out a rather high amount of gain, and you can’t really lessen this even when you turn down the sustain dial. With the sustain dial past the three o’clock mark, it can get a bit noisy.


Do you like how David Gilmour sounds on his guitar? If that’s the kind of sound you want to emulate while you try to define your own, then you really ought to get the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal

First of all, that menacing and aggressive Big Muff sound is present, and that’s always a good thing. You don’t play rock for its soothing effects — you want to rile up your audience, and this is the fuzz pedal to do just that. This device sounds just as badass as you’d expect from a pedal that helped define slow rock and grunge through the decades.

At the same time, the compact size of the Nano is a godsend. Not everyone has the space for the huge Big Muff, but now you get that big fuzzy sound in a much more convenient size. It fits on a pedal board very nicely. With this compact size, you can even take it out of the studio for a spin in your buddy’s garage.

It’s nicely put together, and the sound is great. Get this for that extra oomph in your drive section, and you won’t regret it at all. It’s not surprising why the Big Muff sound was favored by such iconic artists as David Gilmour, Santana, and Jimi Hendrix, and now you can get that very same sound as well. Plug it in and you’ll hear that aggressive fuzz for yourself.