If you’re a big fan of the song “Eruption” by Van Halen, you know what a phaser pedal sounds like. This classic effect forms the backbone of psychedelic rock and makes an excellent addition to any pedal board. The best phaser pedal comes in many types, each with a unique sound.
Some of these pedals will have many controls for tailoring your effect and getting the exact sound you want out of your guitar. Others will only allow you to control the effect’s speed, saving time tinkering with your kit between songs. With so many pedals, knowing which one will work best for you can be challenging.
That’s why this article is here to help. From bombastic, crazy, space-age tones to more subtle effects, from analog to digital, we’re here to show the ins and outs of what makes a great phaser pedal. We will recommend a few of our favorite products and then discuss how phasers work and how to pick the best one for your pedal board.
Best Phaser Pedals (Quick Summary)
- Hand orientation: right
- Made in Taiwan
- Package Dimensions : 6.0 L x 3.0 H x 4.0 W (inches)
- Package Weight : 1.2 pounds
The Boss PH-3 is a prevalent choice among players looking for a versatile yet powerful phaser. It features three controls for adjusting your effect’s rate, depth, and distortion. There is also a fourth knob for switching between rise, fall, and step, which will change the ‘direction’ of your effect, e.g., whether the effect sweeps from low to high or high to low.
With the Boss PH-3, you will have lots of control over your amplifier’s final sound. It uses Boss’s signature stomp-box design to ensure you won’t accidentally miss the switch with your foot. This versatile pedal will allow you to create spiraling maelstroms of sound or add a light, ethereal reverb to your chords.
One cool feature of this unit is that you can tap the pedal in time with your playing to sync up the effect’s tempo to your music. You can also use the rise, step, and fall control to switch between multiple phaser stages. The 4 stage setting produces a much more gentle effect. Going up to 12 stage will make a much more intense swirling sound.
- Versatile pedal capable of producing a range of different sounds.
- Switch between pre-set phasers or customize your sound
- Durable stomp-box design.
- It can’t reproduce vintage Phase textures.
- JOYO Vintage Phase guitar effect pedal, beautifully re-creates the classic phaser sounds of the 70’s.
- Easy to use, with just the single “speed” control knob-you can dial up that in-and-out of phase tone in no time!
- True Bypass provide transparent tone to keep the best tone quality, aluminium-alloy housing classic stoving varnish finish, stable and strong.
- JOYO is over decade of brand reputation, with the most popular budget pedals, amplifiers, wireless systems, controllers, metronomes, tuners winning the love of global guitarists and inspiring people’s music dreams.
- Before playing, please make sure the guitar is fully connected with the pedal. in order to make JOYO pedals work properly and avoiding unexpected noise, we recommend you to purchase an extra JOYO original power adapter, or choose the other reliable brands and make sure it meets the working current requirement of single pedal.
If you’re looking for a vintage-sounding phaser pedal, this one made by JOYO is worth considering. This compact pedal will fit nicely onto any board and allows you to mimic classic phaser sounds from the 70s and 80s. Every note you play with this pedal will take on a whole new texture, and you can use it to create incredibly spacey chord progressions with just a push of a button.
With only one knob for controlling speed, this pedal is straightforward, although not as versatile as the Boss PH-3. That said, it aims to recreate one particular sound and does this incredibly well. The speed control will allow you to alter how much the tone of your instrument fluctuates. It provides gentle reverb as well as rippling vibrato.
This pedal is incredibly compact, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding space for it on your board. The true bypass switch offers a crystal clear tone while the effect is off, and the solid button is durable. If you want to recreate some classic sounds from the 70s, then the JOYO Vintage Phase pedal is just the thing you need.
- Simple and easy to use.
- Compact and durable design.
- It offers a perfect recreation of classic old-school phaser effects.
- It offers limited control over the sound of your effect.
- True bypass, all analog, multi-stage Phaser
- With controls like rate, width, feedback, and d-p-v blend, The Lillian is packed with a wide array of Analog Phaser goodness waiting to be dialed in
- The “stages” switch allows the user to select 4 or 6 stages which alters the overall voice of the effect from warm and tight phasing with 4 stages to a more complex filtered sound with 6
- The d-p-v knob lets you blend between dry, phase shifted, and Vibrato sounds allowing for a wide range of control over the intensity and type of effect
- Top mounted input, output, and power jacks as well as soft switch relay bypassing make the Lillian fit well on your board and ensure smooth operation for years to come
The Walrus Audio Lillian multi-stage analog phaser is an extremely versatile pedal that will give you many options when creating your unique sound.
With four knobs and one switch, this pedal provides plenty of control over the settings and parameters of your phasing effect. You’ll find that you can use this pedal to create various sounds, from eerie tremolos to warm choruses.
There is a switch for selecting a four and six-stage phaser. You can play with it and find out what works. Your favorite phase will change depending on the type of effect you want to create. The four-stage setting offers a warmer, more subtle phase shift. The six-stage phase is more intense and better for creating space-age sounds on your guitar.
You can also use one of the knobs to blend your sound between dry, phase, and vibrato. You can have complete control over the result.
This pedal packs a lot of functionality into a compact and durable design, with beautiful artwork on the face.
You can also adjust the rate, width, and feedback to tailor your effect to match the sound you want to create. The outputs are on the pedal’s top, making it easier to fit on your board.
- It offers complete control over your effect’s speed, volume, and intensity.
- Durable and compact design.
- The D-P-V knob allows you to make your effect as subtle as you want.
- Maybe too subtle for some players.
If you’re looking for a phaser pedal that gives you complete control over the effect it creates, look no further than this model by Empress Effects.
This pedal has five knobs, each with a switch to alter what it does. You can use two metal button switches to turn the effect on and off or change the tempo of the phase shift.
There are so many options for customizing your sound on this pedal that we would need a whole separate article to cover them all. It can work as a two, four, or three-stage phaser, with the ability to produce a subtle spacey echo or tuned up to make more extreme, modulated effects.
Several other controls also adjust the waveform, blend, speed, and resonance. You can create exactly the sound you want.
This pedal comes in stylish green, which will help it stand out on your pedal board. The button switch on the right turns the effect on and off. The other button serves as the tap control. With this switch, you can tap your foot to the tempo of your playing to make the effect sync up with you.
- Tap button to control the tempo of your effect.
- Up to 10 controls for getting just the right sound.
- Durable design with heavy-duty metal switches and knobs.
- It may be too complex for beginners.
- Combines mixer’s most iconic phase circuits in a single mini housing
- About half the footprint of a standard mxr pedal
- 45/90 Switch toggles between phase 45 and phase 90 circuits
- Script removes feedback for a subtler vintage sound
- Does not include an adapter.
The MXR M290 Phase 95 mini is a remake of the classic MXR phase 90, the pedal of choice for none other than Eddie Van Halen himself. Much like its predecessor, this pedal features a single knob to control the phase shift’s speed.
There are also two buttons on the side for selecting between various tones, including modern and vintage sounds.
You can choose whether you want the effect to be like an old-school phaser or if you’d prefer something more modern.
One way to do this is with the 45/90 button, which allows you to switch between a two-stage phaser circuit and the classic circuit used by the original MXR Phase 90. With this compact and incredibly durable pedal, you can go from light reverb to bubbly, seasick tones with just the push of a button.
The script button allows you to select between a lighter, more vintage phaser effect and a slightly more pronounced modern one. The Phase 95 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a versatile pedal. It also doesn’t take up too much space on any board.
When you buy this pedal, you will need an adaptor for powering it, provided you don’t already have a spare one lying around.
- Easy to use and understand.
- Switch between modern and vintage phaser effects.
- Compact and durable design.
- Doesn’t come with an adaptor.
- Three styles of phaser including a Uni-Vibe inspired effect, 4-stage phaser, and an 8-stage phaser.
- Download additional flanger and chorus algorithms or access a deep editing system with the Neuro Mobile App for iOS and Android.
- Pair the Lunar with the Neuro Hub and save up to 128 presets recallable with MIDI program change messages from an external MIDI foot controller.
If you’re looking for a good quality phaser pedal capable of stereo input and output, then the Lunar Phaser from Source Audio may be just the thing you need.
This pedal offers three different modes for four and eight-stage phasing and a vibrato/chorus setting. The true-bypass feature means your guitar tone will be spotless when the pedal is off.
Three modes are selectable using the switch in the middle of the controls. There are also knobs for adjusting your effect’s speed, depth, resonance, and shape. You can create various sounds, from crazy, sci-fi cacophonies to warm, warbling choruses.
You can also access app support for this pedal, which allows you to pair it with the Neuro Mobile app. This feature means you can use this device as a flanger, full chorus pedal, and just a phaser. Overall, if you want a versatile piece of kit that can act as more than just a phaser, this may be just the thing you have been looking for.
- Swap between a four and eight-stage phaser.
- App support provided even more functionality from your pedal.
- Versatile yet compact design.
- Requires app support for flanger effects.
With so many pedals, how do you know which ones are worth buying? Finding the right phaser will come down to the sound you want to create and how much control you want over the effect. Here’s our guide to choosing the right pedal for you.
What makes good controls in a phaser pedal?
The most significant difference between phasers lies in the available controls for altering the effect. Nearly all pedals will have a speed or rate control for adjusting how fast it is applied. Sometimes this is the only control available, although it is common to have some switch for swapping between multiple phaser stages.
The higher the number of stages a phaser has, the more intense the overall effect will be. Below are a few other controls you can find on a phaser, as well as what they do:
- Level/Blend – controls the mixture of wet and dry signals. Allows you to make the phase shift more or less subtle.
- Depth – Controls the peaks and troughs of the waveform. High depth will make your sound more warped and distorted.
- Feedback/Resonance – Affects how much of the output signal is fed back into the input—used to create more distorted other-worldly effects.
How big should my phaser pedal be?
Another factor to consider when choosing a phaser is its size. If you own a pedal board with a large selection of other effects, you will need to consider how much room you have left for a new phaser. Larger pedals will often have more controls, allowing you greater control over your sound.
Smaller pedals are easier to fit on a board and in your guitar bag when you want to take them to a gig. It comes down to a question of how much functionality you want from your pedal and how much space you have available on your board.
Stomp-box vs. button switch – which is better?
If you don’t like looking at your pedal board every time you want to change settings, a stomp box might be perfect for you.
These devices have larger switches shaped like a classic foot pedal, making them much easier to hit without needing to look. They can also be more durable since they are designed to be stomped on.
Button switches can be a little trickier to hit accurately with your foot. However, they are also generally used on much smaller pedals, making them more portable.
They are also easier to activate with a slight tap from your foot. While you shouldn’t stomp on a button switch, they are often quite durable and built to withstand a bit of punishment.
Both switches have their benefits and drawbacks, so which you select will come down to personal preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Phaser Pedal?
A phaser pedal is part of the modulation family of guitar effects. It takes one specific aspect of your instrument’s dry signal’ (the signal before any effect is applied) and alters it at a constant rate to form the ‘wet signal.’
In the case of a phaser, the pedal cuts the high-end frequencies of your input. These cuts modulate up and down to create the weird, sci-fi sound effects for which these pedals are known.
Overall, these devices constantly alter the tone of your instrument to create an oscillating reverb that is less consistent than a chorus but more controlled than a flanger.
What Is A True Bypass On A Guitar Pedal?
Many guitar effect pedals will have what is called a true bypass switch. This bypass is the button or foot pad you press down to activate the effect.
The term true bypass refers to a switch that won’t affect your ‘dry signal’ when in the off position. This means that you won’t encounter distortion or interference when the pedal is not activated.
This switch is essential for musicians who use a lot of pedals. Without true bypass switches, the impedance of each device would negatively affect the clean signal from the instrument.
True bypass switches offer a genuinely pristine clean signal when they are not actively applying an effect to your output.
What Does A Phaser Pedal Sound Like?
Phasers create swirling sounds that give the illusion of movement. You can use them to create low-to-high sweeps and jet plane eruptions, warbles, and wails.
At their subtlest, slow phasers provide a thickened sound. At their most intense, they produce a range of chaotic, sometimes melodic, and sometimes discordant, overlapping notes.
They enhance the presence of your instrument and work into multiple different genres of music, including funk, psychedelic rock, and even metal.
What Famous Musicians Have Used Phaser Pedals?
The first rackmount phaser effect was invented in 1971 and was called the Instant Phaser model PS 101.
This effect was then made into a compact pedal, the first of which was the 3-speed Maestro PS-1 Phase Shifter invented by Tom Oberheim.
Since these early beginnings, this effect was frequently used in music production throughout the 70s and 80s. Eddie Van Halen, Tears for Fears, Billie Joel, The Eagles, and Rush are just a few famous bands and musicians who use phasers in their music.