Thursday, November 25, 2004

Poking around Google tonight I stumbled across Gary Lucas's homepage. Looking at the picture section it seems Gary has developed a fondness for Sea Foam Green, as he's got a Strat and a Tele that are in that colour. And before you ask "Who the hell is Gary Lucas?" read the bleeding homepage, okay?


What's in a name?

One of the classic guitar effects pedals of the 1970s was the MXR Phase 90 phase shifter. If you have any amount of albums in your collection of rock music from that era you've probably got at least a few that have one in action, a good example being the rhythm guitar on the Stones' "Shattered," as well as other guitar parts on the album Some Girls.

MXR were one of the big wheels in the effects biz back in the '70s, making a number of pedals that are considered classics. The Dynacomp compressor is still a favourite of many guitarists. Unfortunately in the long run they proved unable to compete with the Japanese, especially Roland's Boss effects line, and closed up shop in 1984. A number of years later the musical instrument accessories firm Jim Dunlop acquired the MXR name and effects designs, and began reissuing them, including the Phase 90.

Now however Dunlop has issued a new variation on the stompbox, the Eddie Van Halen Phase 90. Eddie was a big fan of the Phase 90 on the first two or three Van Halen albums. This new version, besides having a EVH inspired red with black and white strip finish, has a push switch that allows you to switch between the early "script logo" Phase 90 sound and the later "block logo" version.(The logo thing is a reference to the writing on the originals.) However the price is quite a bit more, the EVH model costing just about twice what the standard reissue costs around here.

I don't know about you, but I sincerely doubt a switch, what is probably a couple of extra resistors in the circuit, and a fancier paint job which is most certainly done by a robot, is worth an extra almost 100 bucks. Rather its because Eddie's name is associated with this new stomper. If Dunlop had given it some other fancy paint job, the same switch, and called it the Phase 90 Scriptflip or some similar cornball name you can bet they'd only want the equivalent another another 30 or 40 bucks Canadian for it.

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