1980 BOSS PH-1 Phaser
1980 BOSS PH-1 Phaser

Model Description:

The popular Japanese Boss PH-1 Phaser was introduced by Roland in November 1977 and survived until November 1981. In fact, the PH-1 was one of first pedals introduced by BOSS (along with the OD-1 Over Drive and SP-1 Spectrum). It was up against tough competition at the time from the likes of the MXR Phase 45/90 and the Electro-Harmonix Small Stone. In response, BOSS introduced the PH-1r, which added a resonance control to increase flexibility and add more pronounced (i.e. more tonally aggressive) sounds. Technically, both the PH-1 and PH-1r are simple analogue four-stage phase effects. The current model, the BOSS PH-3 Phase Shifter, is very successful but is a very different proposition; all digital and while very competent, lacks the lush, natural warmth of its analogue predecessors.


Pedal Description:

The bright green 2-knob PH-1 produces some lovely subtle sounds, although not as prominent as, say, the iconic MXR Phase 90, so expect gentle undulations rather than soaring swooshes or wild warbles. I have to admit that, while it’s good, it is not my favourite phaser – it’s a bit too ‘polite’ and ‘nice’ for my liking, compared with my reference E-H Small Stone. Like all BOSS pedals, it is solidly built and remains in very good condition overall, the DC input has been adapted and the battery connector has been replaced. The control knobs and base plate screws also aren’t original. Everything else, and what really matters, is just as it should be. For the record, many of the ‘collectable’ features are present, the battery compartment’s silver screw, the ‘long-dash’ model number, the black ‘Made In Japan’ baseplate label and the ink-stamped ‘serial’ number, which dates the pedal to early 1980. So then, this early PH-1 is a credible classic, although perhaps it doesn’t represent the pinnacle of excellence in my view. It also makes a sound entry point into the world of vintage stomp boxes in terms of market value.


  • The ‘Rate’ knob controls the speed of the oscillation
  • The ‘Depth’ knob controls the amount of effect applied
  • BOSS treadle footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • Green LED ‘Check’ light to indicate when the effect is in use
  • ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • D/C power supply input or 9V battery
  • Black ‘Made In Japan’ label on the base of the pedal
  • ‘Long dash’ model name and ink-stamped serial number
  • Silver battery compartment thumbscrew
  • No box or instructions

Detail Gallery:

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