Maestro MP-1 Phaser
What I love about great vintage effects is their character. Most of the modern day boutique effect makers are trying to capture that character, but nothing new or old I've ever seen or played through compares to this absolute gem - the original Maestro MP-1 phaser.
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She's A Brick House
Well, as big as a house brick and just as heavy, it was the committed musician who would end up with one of these on their effects board including Alex Lifeson from Rush and Herbie Hancock (he always had one in on top of his Moog). Indeed it was this very pedal that inspired Analog man (one of the most famous boutique makers on the planet) to get into analogue effects in the first place. So what is about this weird looking contraption that captures the heart of the unsuspecting tone merchant? First of all it was an engineering marvel. The switch is activated under your heel and the SPEED and BALLS (depth) wheels are positioned so you can easily change your sound with your foot. The housing is prohibitively sturdy and instantly you know this is a pedal that is going to go the distance. This example is over 30 years old with no vintage pops or crackles and a classic phase tone to die for.
The phaser is an effect designed to simulate the rotating speaker in a Lesley amplifier, which was most commonly used by organists till players like BB King and Albert King found that the Lesley sounds brilliant with a guitar plugged into it. We recently looked at the original script MXR phase 90, which, if it is the most collectable phaser in the world the Maestro comes in a very close second. The Maestro is even more rare that a script 90 so prices for these units are about the same.
In purely practical terms you can coax a lot more tones from the Maestro as it gives you control over the depth as well as the speed. It ranges from E.H. Small Stone delicate tones, through the phase 90 buttery swirl and can then take you a step further into tripped out psycadelic wonderland.
How Much Should I Pay?
I've only ever seen these for sale in the U.S. and even then only on the odd rare occasion where some guy just needs to pay the rent, otherwise there is no way you'd ever willingly let one go. In great condition with original box examples go for over $600 USD. For one in reasonable condition like the example above that price drops down to around $200 USD and with the exchange rate at the moment this means you could pick up one for as little as £100. This is as cheap as these puppies are ever going to be so if you're fortunate enough to find one get in quick. When it comes to acquiring collectable vintage and rare effects remember - he who hesitates is lost.
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