Model: M182 El Grande Bass Fuzz
Power Supply: 9v boss style
Size: Aprox. 4.37″ Tall X 2.37″ Wide X 2.00″ Deep (jacks/knobs etc included)
Available from:Dealers Everywhere
From the maker:
The El Grande Bass Fuzz, the latest offering from MXR Bass Innovations, is a versatile and brutal fuzz designed just for bass. We took a classic 70’s fuzz circuit, re-tuned it for more low end, and added a DEEP switch that delivers up to +15dB of monstrous bass that is internally adjustable between 87Hz – 113Hz. And that’s not all: Volume, Tone, and Fuzz controls let you sculpt your tone with precision to get everything you need—from searing, sustained upper-register chords to punchy, growling low B’s—without sacrificing low end or clarity. The El Grande comes in a lightweight but durable aluminum casting with the same high-quality jacks and switches that have made MXR pedals the road-ready standard on pedal-boards around the world for over 30 years.
Turning this pedal on was a bit disappointing at first. It sounds good, and has some extremely usable settings, but it failed to wow me in any way. I figured it for one of those, fits the bill for most people type of pedals. The bass boost button seemed like a good idea, but when I turned it just turned everything to mud. I then broke down and read the manual! Opening the back of the pedal and adjusting the bass boost made the whole kit instantly more usable and appealing, as it turned out mine was NOT at what the manual says is the factory setting (+10db/113Hz) but rather +15db/87Hz, which was turning everything to boom-y mush with my gear.
The instruction and specification card included is extremely nice covering the technical aspects in some detail, and including a couple of sample settings and general instruction on how to use the pedal. The nicely tooled enclosure, and polished packaging will certainly help it move off the shelf in into homes from the local gear store.
The only comment the wife made when seeing the pedal was: “El Grande? Sound like a big taco or something.” Ahh, what a fountain of wisdom that woman is.
Positions for Testing (in o’clocks):
– Internal boost trim at factory settings per manual.
- Vol 10, Tone 12, Fuzz 3 Deep On
- Vol 10, Tone 2, Fuzz 12 Deep On
- Vol 10, Tone 9, Fuzz 9 Deep Off
Note: Headphones or good speakers required. Bass samples!
Construction and cosmetic concerns:
The pedal is solid and very attractive. The “shake test” yielded only the slightest rattle which proved to be from the unattached batter cord. The board and all the jacks are well secured. The brushed aluminum enclosure is very rich looking and this compact pedal isn’t going to waste a ton of space on your board. I also noticed that the lines on the knobs are all “glow in the dark” which is one of those little useful cosmetic touches that I just love to see. Still just a standard 4 screw enclosure which makes adjustments of the internal settings or changing the battery a tad time consuming.
My “new” pedal had a couple of surprises for me when I opened it up. 1st off, the bass boost settings were not set to factory default that was specified in the manual, but rather cranked for maximum lowness. This was pretty unappealing to start off with as it turned everything into sonic mush when engaged.
The second thing was the apparent damage to the back of the circuit board (circled in picture) and the hand soldiered jumper cable attached in the area. I would be curious if anyone else has noticed similar things, if there was a problem with a batch of boards that they fixed by hand, or mine is just unique and fun.
Another mainstream manufacturer crafting a bass specific fuzz. It sounds decent, looks great, and isn’t too pricey. Opting out of using a blend knob, which has become very popular lately, MXR instead moved to a ‘bass boost’ in the circuit. I feel like it’s a mixed blessing in this case, I glad it’s there but would rather they had just stuck another knob on the top so I could tweak it when using with different instruments. The ‘set and forget’ crowd won’t have the same issue.
I like the pedal and it does a lot of things well, but I don’t feel like it doesn’t do anything great. If it’s the sound you are looking for though, the general appearance, construction, and form factor are pretty appealing though (sans the particular niggles I mentioned in construction that may be specific to my exact pedal). I’ll be keeping it around as a reference pedal, but I can’t imagine it will get much play outside of that realm.
As of this writing, I’d choose the EHX Bass Big Muff or the Electronix Hybrid+ Bass Fuzz as comparably priced pedals with a little more going for them sonically.
As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or let me know
Note: A rating of 5 = acceptable and should considered a ‘good’ basic score