1976 MXR Phase 45

Model Description:

American effect manufacturer, MXR Innovations was formed in 1972, based in Rochester, New York by high‑school friends Terry Sherwood and Keith Barr. MXR’s first compact pedal was the famous and iconic Phase 90. During the 1970s, the Phase 90 was joined by two siblings, the Phase 45 and Phase 100. The Phase 45 was a 2‑stage phaser producing a mild, subtle vibe‑like sound whereas the Phase 90 was a 4‑stage phaser capable of generating a more intense, pronounced phase sweep. The larger Phase 100 comprised 6‑stage phase shifting and provided users with 4 selectable waveforms. The phaser family is recognisable by the distinctive burnt orange enclosures with either early ‘script’ logos or later ‘block’ logo from 1977. From 1981, usability was improved further when MXR added an LED status indicator and a power supply input jack. The Phase 90 is by far the most popular, recognisable and desirable of MXR’s phasers, which has somewhat overshadowing its brethren. After just 12 years, the original MXR company ceased production in 1984. The brand was bought and resurrected by Jim Dunlop in 1987 and the ever‑popular MXR effects remain in production today. MXRs’ phaser reputation was boosted further by Eddie Van Halen who used the Phase 90 on the band’s early albums. In recognition, MXR now offer the EVH90 signature pedal alongside standard and custom shop reissues of the pedal. While the Phase 45 may be the simplest and cheapest of MXR’s phasers, it has its own distinct voice, much admired by its many advocates. On the vintage collectable market, the early ‘script’ Phase 90 is widely recognised as THE one to have, although other members of the MXR clan are definitely worth looking out for, including the relatively cool and rare Phase 45.


Pedal Description:

OK, so this solid little stomp box isn’t a Phase 90 but it is a fabulous all‑original ‘script’ logo MXR Phase 45 (MX‑105) – the pot actually dates to late 1975, so most likely it was built in 1976. The distinctive orange colour is apparently ‘Ditzler PPG M5148 Bold Orange’, as used by truck maker Ford in 1974. The dull tint is very characteristic of the early MXR pedals – later ones were presented in a much brighter hue. Compare this Phase 45 with CRAVE Guitars’ 1977 MXR Phase 90. Superficially, the only difference between the ‘45’ and the ‘90’ is the screen‑printed model number on the front. Internally and sonically, however, there are definitely some audible differences. The Phase 45 is more restrained while retaining the lovely subtle, sweet swirling analogue sounds for which the models are rightly renowned. The relatively shallow analogue phase sweep enhances the guitar’s tone and has superb chiming string definition without overpowering the original signal. The only control is the ‘speed’ knob to alter the rate of phase sweep and the pot works perfectly, nicely progressive with no sign of scratchiness. The Phase 45’s simplicity is also its strength and it is almost impossible to dial in a bad sound from it, even at extreme settings. It is easy to see why these effects have been seen on many discerning players’ pedalboards over the years. On the other hand, if you like tweaking and knob fiddling, this may not be the pedal for you. This particular example has been very well cared for and is in amazing unmolested original condition for its age, complete with all its original baseplate, screws and battery snap. It has only a few very minor surface marks to indicate that it has been around for more than four decades. Unusually, this one is also accompanied by its original box (albeit with the lid taped up) and documentation. To sum it up in one word… outstanding.

Features:

  • Made in Rochester, New York, U.S.A. in 1976
  • The ‘Speed’ knob controls the rate at which the phase effect cycles
  • Standard footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • Standard ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • 1st generation ‘script’ MXR logo
  • Matching ‘script’ logo baseplate with original screws
  • No LED status indicator or DC power supply input
  • Original box and warranty card

Detail Gallery:


← Return to ‘effects’ page

Like it? Why not share it?