Moog Murf Review & Demo

This is the coolest pedal you can’t find a use for:

It brings the sonic territory a guitar can cover to a totally different place…it’s just that that place can never be on stage. Well, I shouldn’t say never. Like in American Tail. (Okay, now there’s a reference that can’t be hipster-cool, retro-cool, indie-cool, underground-cool, or even dorky-cool. But seriously, go watch the opening title to that thing and tell me those violins don’t make you want to re-tone your rig.) I have used this pedal live before, and for untimed stuff, it can create some very sonically interesting sounds. However, as it’s doing that, it is robbing your original tone. And the timing sequence is so odd and cool in this pedal, that in order to get it to stop sounding messy, it really needs to dictate what you play. So I can see this thing being an amazing tool for keyboards, or to lay on top of a sequencer, or in the studio. Somewhere where you are creating a song, and that song is based on what the Murf is doing. It really is a self-centered pedal in that way; very difficult to have it add to music in a good way. You think you’ve done it, and then when you listen back you go, ‘Oh. That was cool, but it probably would’ve sounded better without the Murf.’

Now there is a new Midi Murf out, and the rumour is that it is much more controllable and usable in live situations. Hopefully, as that one is even more expensive, and it’s difficult to justify expensive pedals on your board that take away your main tone and that, even if you are okay with that, you can really only use a-tempo, use it once every couple months, or dictate every song with it. Now again, if you’re in the studio and you’re planning to base songs off of this thing, then awesome. And I’m guessing that’s what Moog was probably going for. The incredibly tinny buffer though, and buffer that is only on when the pedal is engaged…I’m not sure what that’s about. That’s the reason I sold the original Murf I owned. And then I bought one again. Sold it. And again. There is something very wrong with me. Or maybe, very very right. (No, it’s the other one.)

And if the Murf were three times as small, and cost about 4 times less, then maybe you could justify keeping on your board in a parallel looper to try to take care of the tin in the dry signal, as a pedal you turned on for ambient step filtering every once in a while. But as it is, that’s a lot of pedalboard space and money for a step filter…that could be spent on delays. Well…more on the current delay backlash from guitarists who badmouth their ‘unoriginality’, but yet still use them, in the next couple days. ;)


(I gotta be honest…Bridget may have possibly been my first crush as a kid. And Bridget’s the one on the left. I did want to be Tony, but only because he’s kissing Bridget. And he had a cool New York accent and could get cheese out of trap just by tapping it with his ultra-cool Brit cane. Why in the world am I quoting a cartoon? Oh ya…this is why:

…For those of you who are into it, that’s James Horner…of musical fame from Braveheart, Enemy at the Gates, Titanic, A Beautiful Mind, etc. And for the rest of you…yes, I did have a heavy metal arrangement of this song worked out for my high school hair band ‘Requiem Mass.’ And yes, that was really our name.)

So there’s my Murf review. I’m very curious to see if they fixed the buffer issue on the new Midi Murf; but I’ve yet to see one for sale used. And it needs to be used so that I can resell it…because knowing me, chances are, I will. And for what it’s worth the Moog MF103 phaser is the most brilliant phaser I have ever played, and makes almost no difference in your dry signal. So…maybe the Murf was meant to do this, as like for use as a filter/studio preamp? Or keyboard preamp? At least you could use it that way with the new Midi Murf as then you can midi select back to preset one all the time as your base tone, leave the Murf always on, and then you’ve got a preamp, too…providing you like the sound of the preamp.

This has been a rambling, unrhythmic post, with not a lot of use. Hey, kind of like the Murf. Alright, that was just bad.

Splendid.
Karl.

28 thoughts on “Moog Murf Review & Demo

  1. LOL @ “This is the coolest pedal you can’t find a use for”!!!

    seriously, i would love to play with that but i don’t have the guts to buy one :(

  2. When I can’t find a use for weird effects, I listen to classic Smashing Pumpkins, and then I get inspired.

    Listen to the song “Thru the Eyes of Ruby.” I heard it has over 100 guitar parts in it. And it makes use of some effects that you don’t hear so often nowadays. Of course, back then Electro Harmonix was THE brand of pedals. Thank God there are plenty more brands out there that make cool sounding pedals that don’t break the first time you step on them.

  3. Rhoy–haha Ya, it’s fun to play with, but every time I use it live and listen back to the recording, I wish I hadn’t turned it on. hehe

    David–great point! Ya, I remember reading that Smashing Pumpkins were famous for their guitar layers. I think they’d even layer the exact same part around 6-7 times. Definitely gave them a unique sound. The Murf’s kind of like that…might work really well in a studio context like that, but so sure about live work. Cheers!

    Sam–haha Yes! So stoked that somebody else actually gets those references! :D And gotta love Jimmy Stewart in Fievel Goes West. I shouldn’t know that, huh. hehe

  4. So has anyone else run into the problem of dogmatic, unwilling to change, worship leaders or teams who won’t let you use your amps on stage? This just happened to me sunday night. I offered to fill in for them because the guitarist who was going to play wasn’t and I rolled in with my pedal board and my amp and they said… “oh you thought you’d get to use your amp” with a snicker :( I was NOT a happy camper.

  5. haha Oh, wow. I feel for ya, bro. Ya, that’s happened to me a few times. I usually try to politely start a conversation with the sound guy about how I’ve spent extra money putting mods and such into my amp that allow me to keep it at a really low volume, and that having it on stage should actually help ‘fill’ the sound a little better for him. And I usually end up promising to turn down at his every whim.

    That has worked in the past, except at those few places where the sound guy has said something to the effect of, ‘I get it, but this is a mandate directly from the lead pastor.’ Actually, at one place I played, they told me that they agreed with amps on stage from a sound point of view, but that they didn’t allow them because of ‘aesthetics.’ They also unplugged my brown extension cords and replaced them with black ones. lol

    So sorry about the horror story, brother! haha I know, that can ruin your whole night. For what it’s worth, I have a little tube preamp with a direct out that I use for recording. I bring it with me just for those odd times that I’ll go to a church who won’t budge on the amp thing. So did you end up using your amp, mic’ing it backstage, or just going direct?

  6. Going direct through my nuvalve and m13… it sounded… dead… just digitally dead. Everyone told me it sounded great but that’s because they were comparing my tone to the guy who played earlier on sunday with a chorus pedal on THE ENTIRE SET… (it was amazingly bad)… It’s a bit ridiculous though. I’ve played on stage with my ac15 before and it was no problem but for some reason this time they didn’t want to bother with it… annoying.

  7. lol Ya, I guess direct is better than having an always on chorus. haha Ah, bro, I truly feel for ya! Those are not fun times; and I have definitely been there.

    Craig–very nice! ZVex also makes that little half watt amp. I’d love to get one just to pull out in situations like this. I mean, seriously…what sound guy is gonna say a 1/2 watt is too loud? hehe

  8. Sam–bro, you and I need to hang out!! haha That’s awesome!

    Sal–right, but only the older model ones that used maple. The new ones use poplar, and it doesn’t let the circuit breath as much. ;) hehehe

    James–nice! And actually my friend’s altoid box amp was really decent, too! I love how you named the mini amp. lol

  9. The Murf sounds great. Some of it sounds like a subtle version of the Lovetone Meatball – so it’s too weird for church. :)

    I wouldn’t even know how to explain to someone why you need an amp to make an electric guitar sound good. It’s common sense. A Tech21 Liverpool ‘pedal’ might be an option or no amp = acoustic Sunday!

    for anyone involved in production, the first two paragraphs of this are really funny:
    http://stuffchristianslike.net/2010/06/3180/

  10. Ya, it’s definitely a cool pedal…just finding a use for it when not in the studio. lol I’ve actually ended up keeping the Ooh Wah…same basic sound, but it’s more natural sounding and blends in better.

    And yes!!! When no amp, it’s time for acoustic! lol Comment of the day, brother.

    And thanks for that link. That was great! :)

  11. Ha lol… That post was awesome… the only problem I see is that it doesn’t work when your church ALWAYS screws up. They don’t allow any amps on stage except the bass player’s amp… Yea try and make sense of that one. AND we have electronic drums… it’s awful all around.

  12. lol I always love it when I get asked to turn down, but there’s a full stack bass amp facing directly at the congregation. It’s like, ‘Ya, you know those rumbling low mids you can’t dial out? That’s not me.’ lol

    Although, to be fair, the reason we guitarists face this type of opposition to amps being on stage is that we have a history of being jerks about it. And turning our 85 watt Twin Reverbs up to 11. hehe

  13. Lol that’s true :) I can always remember guitarists doing that for as long as I’ve been involved with worship in some facet. I had one of the most amazing milestones today! I just got back our youth group worship recording and it is by far the best recording that we’ve EVER had. I was so stoked. Something about hearing yourself later without the noise around you really helps you dial in your tone.

  14. Nice!! I know, I love it when I actually get a decent recording back from a service. So valuable to be able to go, ‘Hey, I sound decent there’, as well as, ‘Whoa! What was I thinking with that riff?!’ lol

  15. I know this comment is a bit late, but, I’ve had a Murf in my gear closet for a couple years. I should go see if its still there. I used it once live for one song..on keyboards.
    Instead of a murf, I could have taken the same money and bought shoes for the whole family.

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