John Cobbett of Hammers of Misfortune is an old school kind of guy and I’m not just making age jokes. He runs a Marshall JCM800 for some transparent rockin’ tone from his ’70s Les Paul guitar. A great set-up and dead easy. Maybe too easy. When it comes to leads, it can be hard to pop out over a six-piece prog band. With no boost channel to switch to, Cobbett uses another classic, the MXR Distortion+ guitar pedal. It subtly boosts his tone and adds some more skreem to those licky lixxx.
After losing his first one, John picked up this “beauty” off of eBay. Back when we played together in a band, I was just starting to dick around with all my own pedals. Cobbett asked if it was possible to add a power indicator light to his Distortion+. It was and is. Looking back, though, I think I could’ve done it better.
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The MXR Phase 90 is kind of the benchmark for phasers. It’s been made famous by being THE phaser for Mr. Eddie Van Halen and a score of others. It’s a four stage phaser with matched jfets, meaning in plain talk that it sounds tits. It’s a smooth sounding phaser with a rich tonality. There are many versions since it was first introduced in the 70s: the original script logo version, the first block letter version, the originals with added LED indicator, and then the many re-issues since the Dunlop company bought the rights to the MXR name. The quality of the version, if you go by general opinion, is almost always commensurate with the age.
I was looking for and older one of these, and finally scored a block logo, non-LED version that I’ve dated as being made around 1978. It’s roughly the same kind Mr. Van Halen likely used. This is one of the “good ones.” I can definitely vouch for the sound, being that my Phase 90 sounds amazing on bass or guitar.
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