MXR Phase 100
The MXR line of phasers had already reached legendary status by the end of the 70's with good reason. They had successfully produced the ultimate rock phaser and players from around the globe couldn't get their hands on them fast enough. They had three models, the phase 45 which produces subtle buttery tones, the phase 90 which is more pronounced and dramatic, and my favourite, the one for all occasions, the superb phase 100.
Reeling in the years
From humble beginnings to corporate takeover, MXR as a company would experience a roller coaster ride of fortunes won and lost. It is an opinion held by many, myself included, that they produced their best products in their early years. Thankfully, they made it easy to distinguish this key period of manufacture. Have a look at the MXR logo on this pedal. It is written in a flowing script font. MXR were only producing their phasers with this font between the years 1974 to 1977. In 1978 the company started using the 'Block' logo that most of you will be familiar with. Subsequently, script versions of MXR's classic pedals are very sought after and will cost you more, a lot more.
This little beauty is often referred to as 'the working mans phaser' and a quick tour around its toneful offerings reveals why. It's like having four phasers in one as each of the four intensity levels selected by the four position rotary switch on the left has its own distinct voice. The great thing about using effects of such quality is that the settings are only ever a personal preference as opposed to only having a select number of usable sounds. Basically, no matter how you set it up, it sounds great.
The Phase 100's flexibility is directly responsible for its massive list of users which includes the late great Gerry Garcia, John Frusciante (listen to the solo at the end of 'Parallel Universe'), Yngwie Malmsteen and Brian May to name but a few.
To be honest, it's hard to pick faults with these units as they were built so well to begin with that I have yet to hear one sound bad. One very common mod is the addition of a 9V input as they were designed to use batteries only. Fact is that most of the units have already been modded, which in turn means the unit is not 100% original and gives you more bargaining power when buying.
How much should I pay?
It's funny how the vintage collectable market works. In the late 70's Dave Gilmour and Eddie VanHalen were both using script MXR Phase 90's to great effect and because of this, the phase 90 has remained more collectable till this day. If you're lucky enough to find an original phase 90, you can expect to pay around £190, yet you can pick up a script version of the MXR phase 100 as pictured for around £120. A more flexible phaser built by the same company using the same components that sounds wonderful for less cash. Result
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