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MXR Phase 90 Phaser Guitar Pedal Review

Overview

MXR Phase 90 is a guitar pedal that has been around for over four decades now. It is one of the most popular phaser pedals in the market, and it has been used by legendary guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix. In this blog, we will explore the history, features, sound, and usage of the MXR Phase 90.

What is it?

Analog/Digital

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Phaser Effect Analog No

History

MXR Phase 90 was introduced in the early 1970s by MXR Innovations, a company founded by Keith Barr and Terry Sherwood. The idea behind the pedal was to create a more versatile phaser that could be used in a wide range of musical styles. The Phase 90 quickly became popular among guitarists, and it was used extensively in the 1970s and 1980s by guitar heroes such as Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour, and Randy Rhoads.

Here is a summary of the controls and features found on the MXR Phase 90

The MXR Phase 90 has a simple design with only one knob that controls the speed of the phaser effect. The pedal has a sturdy metal casing, which makes it durable and roadworthy. The pedal is powered by a 9-volt battery or an external power supply.

How to use it

The MXR Phase 90 is a versatile pedal that can be used in a wide range of musical styles. The pedal is perfect for lead guitar parts, rhythm guitar parts, and solos. The Phase 90 can be used to create a subtle phaser effect that adds depth to the guitar tone, or it can be cranked up to create a more intense, swirling effect.

The pedal is easy to use, and it only has one knob that controls the speed of the phaser effect. The pedal can be used with a wide range of guitars, amplifiers, and effects pedals, and it works equally well with single-coil and humbucking pickups.

How does it sound?

The MXR Phase 90 produces a classic phaser sound that has become iconic in the music industry. The phaser effect adds depth and dimension to the guitar tone, creating a swirling, sweeping sound that is perfect for lead guitar parts, rhythm guitar parts, and solos. The Phase 90 has a warm, rich sound that is perfect for classic rock, blues, and funk music.

Here are a few suggestions for where to place the MXR Phase 90 in your pedal chain

The placement of the MXR Phase 90 on a pedalboard can depend on personal preference and the specific effects chain being used. Here are a few suggestions for where to place the Phase 90 on a pedalboard:

Early in the signal chain: Placing the Phase 90 early in the signal chain, immediately after the guitar, can produce a more pronounced phaser effect. This is because the phasing effect is applied to the clean guitar signal before any other effects are added.

After a compressor: If you use a compressor pedal, placing the Phase 90 after it can help to smooth out the phaser effect and make it sound more natural.

Before delay and reverb: Placing the Phase 90 before delay and reverb effects can help to create a more atmospheric, swirling sound. This is because the phasing effect is applied to the clean guitar signal before it is processed by the time-based effects.

After distortion and overdrive: Placing the Phase 90 after distortion and overdrive effects can produce a more saturated, full-bodied phaser sound. This is because the distortion and overdrive effects add harmonic content to the guitar signal, which is then phasered by the Phase 90.

Ultimately, the best placement for the MXR Phase 90 on your pedalboard will depend on your individual preferences and the specific sound you are trying to achieve. Experiment with different placements to find the setup that works best for you.

What is the difference between MXR Phase 90 block and script?

The MXR Phase 90 Script refers to the original version of the pedal that was produced in the 1970s. This version featured a script logo on the casing and had a slightly different circuit design than the later models. The script version had a flatter frequency response and a more transparent tone and, a slightly different phasing sound than the later models. It is considered by many to have a warmer, more organic sound that is particularly well-suited for classic rock and blues.

The modern MXR Phase 90, on the other hand, features a different circuit design than the script version (4-stage phaser with feedback/resonance). This version has a a more pronounced midrange. It has a slightly smoother phasing sound and is particularly well-suited for modern rock and pop styles.

In terms of operation, the MXR Phase 90 and the MXR Phase 90 Script are virtually identical. They both have the same simple one-knob design that controls the speed of the phasing effect. They are both built with the same high-quality materials and are designed to be durable and roadworthy.

Ultimately, the choice between the two pedals comes down to personal preference and the musical style you are playing. If you are looking for a classic, vintage sound that is well-suited for classic rock and blues, the MXR Phase 90 Script may be the better choice. If you are looking for a more modern sound that is well-suited for modern rock and pop styles, the MXR Phase 90 block may be the better choice.

What songs have MXR Phase 90?

The MXR Phase 90 has been used on countless songs across a wide range of musical genres. Here are just a few examples of songs that feature the MXR Phase 90:

Van Halen - "Eruption" - Eddie Van Halen famously used the Phase 90 on the iconic guitar solo in this song.

Pink Floyd - "Have a Cigar" - David Gilmour used the Phase 90 to create the swirling phaser effect on the rhythm guitar parts in this song.

Led Zeppelin - "Kashmir" - Jimmy Page used the Phase 90 on the guitar riff in this classic song.

Jimi Hendrix - "Machine Gun" - Hendrix used the Phase 90 to create the phaser effect on his guitar in this live recording.

The Police - "Walking on the Moon" - Andy Summers used the Phase 90 on the guitar parts in this song to create a subtle phaser effect.

Rush - "Xanadu" - Alex Lifeson used the Phase 90 to create the phaser effect on the guitar solo in this prog-rock epic.

Stevie Ray Vaughan - "Couldn't Stand the Weather" - Vaughan used the Phase 90 on the guitar solo in this blues-rock song.

The Black Keys - "Thickfreakness" - Dan Auerbach used the Phase 90 on the guitar parts in this garage-rock tune.

Nirvana - "Come As You Are" - Kurt Cobain used the Phase 90 on the guitar riff in this grunge classic.

Radiohead - "Paranoid Android" - Jonny Greenwood used the Phase 90 on the guitar parts in this experimental rock song.

These are just a few examples of songs that feature the MXR Phase 90. Many other guitarists and bands have used this pedal to great effect over the years, making it one of the most popular and influential guitar pedals of all time.

Conclusion

The MXR Phase 90 is a classic guitar pedal that has stood the test of time. It has been used by some of the greatest guitarists in the world, and it continues to be a favorite among guitar players of all levels. The Phase 90 has a simple design, a warm, rich sound, and it is easy to use. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, the MXR Phase 90 is a must-have pedal for any guitarist looking to add depth and dimension to their sound.

Written by Alex Bonanno