1977 MXR Phase 90
1977 MXR Phase 90

Model Description:

Witness a true legend. If there is one product for which the American company MXR Innovations is famous, it is this iconic but otherwise unassuming little orange block of an effect pedal, the fabled and venerable Phase 90. The early ‘script’ logo models have achieved hallowed status, principally for the exquisitely lush phase sounds. Its reputation is all the more surprising given that the only control governs the speed of the effect. Perhaps the rule that ‘less is more’ applies to the Phase 90. The 2nd generation pedals updated the design, changing from the spidery script text to the more modern (for the ’70s!) block logo, but retaining its all-important electronics, so it sounds just like its visual predecessor. In the early ‘80s, it added a factory power supply input and an LED to tell the user whether it’s switched on. Despite much effort, including from Jim Dunlop’s Custom Shop, more recent reissues, while to all intents and purposes sound very similar, they don’t quite capture the same aura as a genuine original.


Pedal Description:

This sturdy, tiny and surprisingly heavy bright orange stomp box was made shortly after the change of design in c.1976. The top has the later block logo, while the base has the early script logo – a relatively common occurrence at the time, as the company used up excess parts stock. While it is very close to original, some idiot (sorry, previous owner) drilled a hole on one side, presumably to fit an external power supply. There are no other signs of that modification, other than the battery clip lead, which has been replaced, presumably when the ‘mod’ was taken out. The base plate screws are also replacements. The condition is otherwise excellent with just a few surface scratches to indicate it’s been used. Simplicity really is the key here – it is almost impossible to get a bad sound from the oh-so-cool Phase 90 – just depress the footswitch and wallow in the warm, sensuous, sweet, swirling alchemy. I’m not a huge fan of phasers, although this one can persuade me otherwise. Indulge your senses. Values, unsurprisingly sit between the (over-valued) script models and the (affordable) 1980s successors.


  • The ‘Speed’ knob controls the rate at which the phase effect cycles
  • Standard footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • 2nd generation ‘block’ MXR logo with 1st generation ‘script’ logo baseplate
  • No LED or A/C power supply input
  • No box or instructions

Detail Gallery:

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