A Look Back at a Guitar Effects Icon and His Iconic Mu-Tron Octave Divider
Musitronics Corp. was founded in 1972 in Rosemont, New Jersey, and operated until the sale of its Mu-Tron product line to A.R.P. in 1978. The original Mu-Tron products have since become collectors items. Mike Beigel is the inventor of the original Mu-Tron III and principal developer of the Mu-Tron product line. The Mu-Tron Octave Divider was developed in collaboration with Dan Armstrong and George Merriman after Musitronics started producing Armstrong’s line of Made in USA products.
Elliott Randall and Mike Beigel in the studio, 1979
Mutron pedals were used by Jerry Garcia of the Greatful Dead, Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone, and many other artists in the late 70s and early 80s. As an octave divider there are many modern pedals by EBS, Boss, Dunlop, Ampeg and others that have better tracking and up and down octave features. But none can replicate the signature sound that the Mu-tron Octave Divider creates with the built in Green Ringer circuit. The Ringer sounds excellent on bass with heaps of growling and distorted overtones for added dimension to your sound. The Green Ringer circuit was used “so it would produce a fairly reliable octave above as well as an octave below.” The Ringer is a Dan Armstrong circuit that was manufactured by Musitronics in the early 70s along with other Dan Armstrong US Made effects pedals. The Mu-Tron “OD” pedal is so sought after by current day bassists that a cottage industry has sprung up to clone it as a new product and refurbish what units may still exist from the 70s.
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