Last Word on EVH Pedal Mods?

September 14, 2011 | By | 4 Replies More

EVH_board_1979_1Did Edward Van Halen have his MXR phaser and flanger modded to boost or not? The initial interviews are inconclusive. Exhibit A, from this recent post:

I use a phase shifter, a Phase 90 – MXR, I think. It doesn’t really phase – it just kind of gives you treble boost, which I like. Cuts through for solos. That’s about it.

From that it appears we can conclude that the boost just happens as a result of the stock pedal itself, possibly in combo with the rest of Ed’s setup.

But we have the facts that Jose and/or Ed and/or someone(s) else modded a ton, maybe all, of Ed’s stuff: amps, pickups, guitars and at least the motor in the Univox echo unit.

When it comes to the phaser, I’ve never owned a vintage Phase 90 but Ed clearly said he liked it for the boost at least as much as the phase.

The flanger is different: I own a “vintage” grey box flanger (wall wart model), and even though some guys have said they can get the exact “Unchained” sound from it, I wasn’t able to. I mean, I could get the sweep, but I could never get the same intensity – not for “Unchained,” not for “Mean Street,” not for the “strikes” in the middle of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.”

Then the EVH flanger comes out and, lo and behold, it’s 18v! (Don’t know what the wall wart version was – it’s at home as I type this and couldn’t find it on Google.) Does that mean it had to be stronger to achieve the desired effect? Or did Ed’s rig ive his flanger some sort of boost – remember it was first in the chain back in the day. Or…?

So now this, from a 1980 Guitar Player interview with EVH:

(Source: Guitar Player mag)

(Source: Guitar Player mag)

Is that the last word on this? Doubt it!


Category: Edward Van Halen, MXR

Comments (4)

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  1. Ken A says:

    Didn’t Ed admit at one point that he name-dropped Jose as a favor, and that he fibbed about the mods? He seems to change the story depending on the day of the week, the weather, the phase of the moon…

    Seems to me that most halfway decent effects will boost a little anyway, to counteract the bit of signal that they suck out as a result of interrupting the signal path. Theoretically, more pedals = more boost, but also more signal coloration. I don’t know that for a fact, though. Just hypothesizing.

  2. j9fd3s says:

    [pulls chain] maybe the variac turned all the way UP is for the pedals…..

  3. Emplexador says:

    he’s fibbing… Jose hacked a lot of original vintage Marshall Plexi’s thanks to Edy’s big mouth

  4. Joe says:

    The flanger had to be modded. I believe what he’s saying in that excerpt. Without even getting into the argument about the Plexi, I’m just saying there’s no way his flangers weren’t modded. Exactly as the original posts states it’s impossible to fully replicate it. Dweezil Zappa tells a story about asking Ed how he nails the Unchained Flanger use so perfect- no one can do it – and Ed’s reply was just something like “I dunno, I just always get lucky with that shit.” Part of Ed’s style is his amazing “luck” if you want to call it that, but I’m saying the flanger was modded. Probably the phaser too.

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