1975 MXR Distortion +

Model Description:

Before the Pro Co RAT appeared on the scene to shake things up, there were essentially two great distortion pedals, the BOSS DS-1 Distortion and the MXR Distortion + (MX‑104). Comparisons exclude the Ibanez Tube Screamer which is an overdrive rather than a distortion pedal). Many expert observers point to the MXR as producing a relatively mild distortion more akin to an overdrive. To me, that’s splitting hairs about where individual effects lie on the continuum from boost/compression at one end to extreme fuzz at the other. Early 1st generation Distortion + stomp boxes were produced in a (arguably, yucky) mustard yellow/brown colour and they carry the wispy ‘script’ logo and model name printed on the front and the logo stamped on the back. Later, they changed to a brighter yellow colour and the now-familiar MXR ‘block’ logo, with the last models including an LED status indicator. For tech heads, the script Distortion + uses germanium diodes and an LM741CN op amp chip. For the rest of us, that means a great overdrive/distortion effect when you tread on it. The MXR Distorition + has become eminently collectable and increasingly sought after on the vintage effect market.

Pedal Description:

This rather special little ‘script logo’ MXR Distortion + from 1975 is dirty in both its colour and its tone. Despite its grubby hue, it is in pretty good shape for its age, being all‑original except for 3 missing baseplate screws. A previous owner has also kindly (not!) drilled two small holes in the base plate, presumably for pedalboard mounting, which is a shame. None of this affects the classic growls emanating from this diminutive box. The amount of gain available suits a wide range of musical styles and the simple design with no tone control possibly aids rather than hinders use. Setting the controls to low distortion and high volume give it a great clean‑ish boost. If you want to recreate the sounds of early 1970s rock, take a great vintage guitar, add a vintage valve amp, sprinkle with some vintage MXR grit and away you go. While not one the very earliest ‘Bud box’ models, this cool mid-1970s wild child is now a pretty hot property. Follow the script…


  • Made in Rochester, New York, U.S.A. in 1975
  • The ‘Output’ knob controls the output volume
  • The ‘Distortion’ knob controls the amount of gain added to the original signal
  • Standard footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • 1st generation ‘script’ MXR and model logos
  • ‘Script’ logo baseplate
  • No LED or DC power supply input – 9V battery only
  • No box or instructions

Detail Gallery:

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