1978 Ibanez PT-909 Phase Tone

Model Description:

The familiar sturdy ‘0’ series Ibanez pedals with the square footswitch were only made for a short period during 1980 and 1981 by Japanese partner company Maxon. The PT‑909 Phase Tone was one of twelve pedals in the ‘0’ series line up, alongside the iconic TS‑808 Tube Screamer Pro. The ‘standard box’ format replaced the previous compact and lightweight ‘narrow box’ effects. Confusingly, the same PT‑909 Phase Tone moniker was used by both narrow and standard box models. Over the whole life of the PT‑909 model, there were no less than 7 versions with visual features really only changing in small details between each of them. By 1982, the blue and white PT‑909 had been replaced by the bright orange ‘9’ series PT9, which lasted until 1984. At the start of the 1980s, phaser pedals were a dime‑a‑dozen and the PT‑909 was facing stiff competition from the likes of MXR, BOSS, Electro‑Harmonix, DOD, Musitronics, ROSS and Maestro. Like other modulation effects, such as chorus and flanger pedals, phasers tended to decrease in popularity during the late 1980s and didn’t really start to see a revival until well into the 21st Century. As the massive boom for post‑millennial boutique effects has increased, interest in the classic old analogue pedals has also been rejuvenated. While the PT‑909 has not been reissued by Ibanez to‑date, vintage originals are still relatively common but increasingly collectable when in good condition.

Pedal Description:

For your consideration is a cool blue and white ‘0’ series 1981 Ibanez PT‑909 Phase Tone. This is a 5th generation model with the standard box, square footswitch, the sought after ‘®’ above the ‘z’ in Ibanez, a knurled nut on the power socket, no level markers around the knobs and the black ‘Made in Japan’ baseplate. Compare this one with CRAVE Guitars’ 1st version ‘narrow box’ PT‑909 with ‘flying fingers’, which is essentially the same effect but in a more refined and standardised format. This version also weighs in at more than twice the weight of its predecessor, making it much more sturdy and durable for serious stage use. This example is in excellent condition and comes with its original instruction manual (but no box), which is quite unusual. In use, it is simplicity itself, although the interplay between ‘Width’ and ‘Feedback’ can be confusing for some (and even the instruction manual copywriters). This robust stomp box works perfectly, with no scratchy pots or untoward noises. Sound‑wise, the PT‑909’s 4‑stage analogue circuit carries on the reputation started by its predecessor(s). The warm undulating modulation clearly goes for subtle swooshy phasiness, rather than in‑your‑face warbly extremes of some of its peers. As such, I guess it is a little ‘polite’ for my personal tastes and I just wish it was a bit more tonally assertive. However, subtlety is not really my style, so perhaps it’s just me. The PT‑909 may not be the most familiar of vintage phase pedals but it can hold its own and it certainly deserves an audition.


  • ‘Standard Box’ version made by Maxon in Japan in 1981
  • The ‘Speed’ knob controls the rate of the phase effect
  • The ‘Width’ knob controls the amount of the phase shift
  • The ‘Feedback’ knob controls the amount of the signal fed back into the effect
  • Standard Ibanez square FET ‘Q1’ footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • Red LED indicator light to show when the effect is in use
  • Standard ¼” single input and output jack sockets
  • 9V DC power supply input (3.5mm, centre positive) or 9V battery
  • Dimensions: 70mm (w) x 125mm (d) x 52mm (h)
  • Weight: 550g
  • Original instruction manual but no box

Detail Gallery:

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