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Line 6 Guide to Guitar FX, Part 1: Phase Shifters

Published: Wed February 04, 2009  News Feed

This article, originally from sonicbids.com, is the first of a five-part series from Line 6, exploring some classic uses of popular guitar effects. 

Fender Vintage-style phaser

What the What?

The signature swish of early Van Halen’s “Atomic Punk,” the soft swirl of Hendrix’s “Machine Gun,” the white-hot waves of Husker Du’s “Metal Circus,” and tons of others: phase effects have oozed their way into every damp corner of rock history. And if today’s oversized pedal boards are any indication, phasers are here to stay.

How Did They Do it?

Any industrious yahoo can twist knobs on a phase pedal until it sounds like something but only in the hands of a true artist can we really hear the musicality in these legendary effects.

To get his swirl on, Eddie relied heavily on an MXR® Phase 90, a popular phase pedal that has been adding walls of waves to countless recordings for the past 40 years. Jimi used a Uni-Vibe® to create the watery warble that led legions of guitarists to take a shot at duplicating the tone of “Machine Gun”, from the Band of Gypsys’ performance at the Fillmore, on New Year’s Day, 1970.

On Husker Du’s seminal recordings, including “Metal Circus,” “New Day Rising” and “Flip Your Wig,” Bob Mould used an Ibanez® Stereo Chorus pedal or an Electro-Harmonix® Small Clone Mini-Chorus to set his tone ablaze.

Hot Tip:

Are you wiring your pedal board correctly? As a general rule, phase pedals, and other mod effects like chorus and flange, are placed in-line after your distortion pedals.

Effect pedals sure played their part but, to create other characteristics of their legendary sounds, both Eddie and Jimi set their Marshall® heads to a volume that would naturally overdrive and compress anything that came through the input jack. (Unfortunately, it’s no longer acceptable behavior to show up to a session with your 100-watt head cranked to 11.)

Obviously, many legendary tones were born of J. Mascis-sized guitar rigs set to Motorhead-approved levels. Luckily, for those of us with neighbors, there are other options.

Watch: swirly goodness - Jimi Hendrix plays 'Machine Gun'

How Can I Get it?

Line 6 POD® X3, POD® X3 Live and POD® X3 Pro provide access to these and other coveted tones that guitarists spend their lives gushing over. They’ve got presets, like “5150″, which is the best place to start when you’re trying to recreate the magic of “Eruption,” “Atomic Punk,” “Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love” and others. Plus, you can download thousands of free POD® presets for from customtone.com, where the community of Line 6 users post, share and download free tones. Get your favorite phase-crazed EVH, Hendrix, Floyd, Husker Du tones and more!

View other phaser products at Dolphin - click here

[original article by By Frank LaMonte. To read Line 6's gear guides first hand, check sonicbids.com]

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