Vintage Phase 45, in very good shape!
Phase shifters are rarely regarded as subtle effects. But if you count yourself among the phase averse because of the heavy handed, all-or-nothing textures some of them generate, MXR’s 1975 Phase 45 could change your mind.
MXR’s phasers are rightly regarded as classics. But while the 6-stage Phase 100 became legendary at the feet of players like David Gilmour, and the 4-stage Phase 90 coloured Eddie Van Halen’s early work, their more sedate cousin the 2-stage Phase 45 was something of a wallflower at the dance. But it shouldn't be!
The burnt-orange script logo Phase 45 is the very picture of stompbox elegance. It has a single knob—Speed—that adjusts the rate of phase. And strictly battery powered, so there’s no AC jack. In other words, this is as clean and uncluttered an effect case as you’ll ever see.
Because of its simplicity and warm, toneful character, the Phase 45 is a pleasure to use from the second you plug it in. Setting the Speed to 9 o’clock coloured simple arpeggios (played through a clean Fender Blackface amp) with a clear, sleepy psychedelic swirl that was rich with high-end harmonic detail.
The Phase 45 is one of those pedals that can get you straight away. It’s warm, organic and rarely harsh. And while you could wile hours away enjoying the lush and sometimes surreal textures it can lend to the simplest chords, the Phase 45 can also enliven funk grooves and add a tipsy swagger to Keith Richards-style leads.
The Phase 45 is certainly subtler and less capable of heavy interstellar warpage than a Small Stone or a cranked Phase 90. But if the stale riffs in your repertoire are crying for the kind of modulation that can flavour your playing without melting the minds of bandmates and your audience, you’ll dig what Phase 45 has to offer.