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Well, what I remember of back then was that the other brands were more expensive. So, frugal or not, it was all I could afford, at the time. Maybe there is some price pumping now, to get the yuppified and poser bucks of people who like the idea of acquiring a piece of a "vintage" brand.
Got my Big Muff PI about a year ago. I don't think the price was unreasonable(absolute zero clue if I'd have worked the same hours for one 40 yrs ago). Anyways, only really got it cuz there's a lot of nostalgia in a very familiar and unique tone, that almost defines an era. Good old hippie jamming fuzz. It plays well with a lot of the classic stuff, and the super silky sweet harmonics in higher notes are nice too. It's all about the sound.
Incidentally, when I said I was looking for a more "natural" sound in my opening reverb query, what I really meant was "less, or not blatantly artificial sounding".
When ya think of it, the Fender spring reverb sound doesn't really occur in nature; plate reverbs are closer to nature's acoustics. That's NOT in any way a dig against Fender. That unique spring reverb bounce or twang is quite ingrained and integral in the surf(and other genres) sound formula. It's almost an instrument in itself, and has earned it's own place as a special sound. Can serve well for some other general reverb needs too.
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