Jim Dunlop ZW38 Mxr Black Label Chorus Pedal

Jim Dunlop ZW38 Mxr Black Label Chorus Pedal
The Dunlop ZW38 Chorus

While inspired by a metal player, this Pedal provides an all-around affordable Chorus effect

I don’t particuarly listen to zakk wylde or know much about him (other than the obvious), but this pedal which bears his moniker / band name, is pretty good.
What I like right away is the high and low filter cut controls. It still amazes me that this is not standard on Chorus guitar pedals (why?). The dual outputs for stero spread is a no-brainer and good. It is built with analog bucket brigade technology, which was a technique developed in the late ’60’s that is quite popular amongst tone-snobs. The Level / Rate / Depth controls require no explanation and provide plenty of control for your effects-shaping needs. Like all MXR / Dunlop guitar effects pedals, this one is built like a brick “you know what” house. If you are looking for a sturdy, tweakable guitar chorus pedal that is under $100, check this one out.

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The MXR Phase 100 M-107 Guitar Pedal

The MXR Phase 100 M-107 Guitar Pedal
The MXR Phase 100

There is a good reason why the MXR Phase 100 is still around!

Maybe you have an MXR Phase 90, maybe you are thinking of buying one, or maybe you are considering an upgrade. Either way the MXR Phase 100 M-107 is a great alternative to the Phase 90 if you want a bit more control to the overall shape of the wet signal. As the older cousin of the MXR Phase 90, the Phase 100 offers the same great tone but a few more features. The biggest difference is the notch control that lets you select the wave pattern. In conjunction with the speed control, you can dial in the exact phase sound that you want.  There are four wave pattern selections and of course the speed control is completely variable. The MXR Phase 100 takes up considerably more real-estate on your pedal board, but that is the price of being able to have a more fine-tuned control over the effect. The biggest difference between this re-issue and the original is that you can use the Dunlop ECB003 AC Power Supply instead of a 9-volt battery.

At the end of the day, you’ve got that same classic plush, swishy phase swoop that can be heard on many classic rock albums such as Van Halen I  (“I’m the one” & “Eruption”) and Some Girls by the Rolling Stones (“Beast of Burden”).The key to these great tones is that each guitarist knows just how much to use and when to use it.  When used poorly, you get that obvious cyclical pattern that cries out:  “Hi, I’m a phase shifter pedal, and the person using me didn’t take the time to get a good mix, he just turned it on and started playing…” Yuk! When implanted nicely in your signal path, the MXR Phase 100 can push your tone in just the right way so that it is enveloped in a molasses that the listener will not be able to detect, but they know somehow that you just sound great.  This pedal is a lot of fun to play with: putting the MXR Phase 100 before or after key effects such as delay an yield some pretty other-worldly sounds. However you choose to do it, the Phase 100 is a great phase shifter guitar pedal that does not require a degree in quantum mechanics to operate. Wave pattern, speed, indication light, selector switch, that’s it. No fuss, no muss, just great phase.

MXR PHASE 100 M107  Demo

MXR M78 Custom Badass ’78 Distortion

MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion
MXR M78 Custom Badass ‘7

MXR’s new ’78 Bad Ass is a dammed good distortion pedal that offers true bypass and a warm sound, at a very reasonable price.

OK, this thing is pretty good. The kicker is that it retails for under $100. At that price range, true bypass and warm analog distortion is definitely a feature set that should impress anyone. Of course this is all very subjective. You have to factor in your setup, taste, and playing style. That said, all things considered, it’s a strong pedal.  I’m not too sure what the ’78 stands for. I guess I don’t really care, but I am curious.

The feature set is pretty standard stuff: Drive, Tone, Level. Done. There is a “Crunch” button that pretty much just gives you a noticeable amount of increased drive. There is good interplay between drive and level. You can get a kind of “plexi” drive with the level way up and the drive down a bit. This setting offers more headroom and clarity, yet less of the juice. For a more saturated sound, do the opposite: more drive and less level.

Anyone who knows anything is aware that with the exception of those early ’80s plastic jobbies, MXR pedals are built like howitzers; stomp on ’em all you want, they hold up just fine. This company can certainly sit back on its heels and coast a bit as they are one of the bigger names and have a solid reputation. But, they are smart, they keep up with the times and have just released a new distortion pedal that for its price range, is pretty dammed solid.