Phasers are not everyone’s choice modulation. But for those that enjoy them, they really are a staple of guitar tone. From subtly supporting clean playing or being used as the centerpiece for a tapping extravaganza, there are a number of ways to implement this effect. Yet, no matter how you use it, you probably want to ensure you are using the right one for you. Below I have listed some of the best options for a wide variety of users. However, the best one for you will rely entirely on your budget and what your ears want to hear. With that said, let’s kick this thing off.
1. Behringer VP1
Everyone has their opinions about Behringer. You’re either the kind of person who sees them as being a great budget brand or you may just think of them as cheap. Either way, it is hard to argue with the prices! Their VP1 is a perfect example of just how cheap their pedals can be.
At just $33 Behringer is able to bring you this vintage-based phaser. The controls are kept simple with just a knob for rate and a switch for tone. This tone switch is really useful for shaping the exact type of phasing you want. Aside from that this is a really straightforward phaser. So, does it sound good? Well, it definitely does a classic phasing sound and truthfully it is a hard effect to really mess up. For anyone out there who is not quite sure if a phaser is for them, this unit is the perfect one for testing out the waters.
2. MXR Script Phase 90
If you have any knowledge of the history of phasers then you will know just how much the effect revolves around MXR. When the original Phase 90 came out in 1974 it quickly became the most common way for guitar players to achieve this effect. Today this model is without a doubt the most iconic and well-known phaser ever made. This Script Phase 90 is MXR’s attempt to make the closest thing to the original “script era” Phase 90s that they can.
If you have an ear for this classic phaser tone, then you will be able to hear that this pedal gets about as close as you can to that sound. And thanks to this specific model’s modern additions like a LED and 9-volt power option, it works great in any rig. If you are super committed to getting as traditional as you can, the Script Phase 90 is for you.
3. MXR Phase 95
It may seem like there is not a great reason to have another MXR phaser on this list, but as you will see shortly, the Phase 95 is a very worthy little pedal. This unit is one you will hear getting a lot of praise from the people who own one. And I think the main reason for this praise comes down to the fact that this thing is simple yet versatile.
The main selling point for the Phase 95 is that it gives you the ability to switch between the classic 45 and 90 phase circuits. I mean it quite literally functions as 2 pedals in one, making it the perfect one-stop spot for phasing. I have a hard time recommending other MXR phasers than this one simply because of how much value you get here. Not to mention it’s small. For a lot of people, a phaser will not get enough use to warrant taking up too much space. Overall, this is a great phaser that has you covered in a small package.
4. Source Audio Lunar
Source Audio does a fantastic job at bringing classic effects into the modern era, this pedal being a perfect example of that. The Lunar is a relatively standard looking unit on the surface of things. You have 4 knobs for parameter control and a three-way switch for selecting different phaser types. However, the real magic of this unit comes out once you dive into the Neuro Editor. This software expands on this pedal’s design in an immense way. The biggest added feature is the ability to load in other modulation engines. Yep, the Neuro Editor includes not just a phaser but flanger and chorus options as well. Also, the level of deep editing in the app is massive, meaning for those that like to tweak, this will be an awesome choice.
Overall, the Lunar is the perfect phaser for people who like their pedals to go above and beyond. And even if you are someone who prefers a more traditional pedal experience, you can just stick to the onboard controls.
5. Fender Lost Highway
Over the past few years, Fender has been making some huge strides in their effects. To everyone’s surprise the company opted to avoid the trap of making the same ol’ pedals. In fact, many of the company’s pedal designs include advancements to classic effects.
The Lost Highway phaser is a great example of Fender bringing new elements to something that is well known. This pedal has two sets of rate and depth control. You are able to footswitch between these sets, basically giving two phasers to switch between. Additionally, the blend and feedback controls give you a great amount of control over the overall phasing.
The more interesting controls include the ability -4 and -8 stage phasing alone with waveform and sensitivity control. The sensitivity is really fun to play with, increasing the mod rate the harder you play.
I would recommend this unit to those wanting a phaser that is new and different yet not overly complex. Thing can get you into some really unique modulated territory, but those classic phasing tones are in there as well.