Effects and pedals are indispensable for electric guitar players’ performances. Each guitarist has pedals that create their own unique tones and effects that they use for their signature sound in songs. The phaser effect on an electric guitar is one of these effects.
If you are a beginner or have been playing the electric guitar for a while and are looking for a signature effect, maybe the phaser effect on an electric guitar is what you are looking for. The best way to find out is to read the rest of our article. We have compiled the answers to all the usual questions that most people have about phasers in this article.
How does the phaser effect work?
The phaser pedal does not change playback speeds. Rather, it puts a playback channel on sounds through an all-pass filter that changes the length of each sound phase.
Most phaser effects include a set of all-pass filters known as “phases”. A 4-stop phaser and an 8-stop phaser are common among phaser pedals, but you can’t always predict how many steps a pedal has at its soundbase.
Phaser pedals tend to have less control. In fact, the iconic phaser pedal, the MXR Phase 90, only had one control speed. This quadrant would affect how much all pass filters would change the length of each phase.
What is the difference between a flanger and a phaser?
A lot of people might confuse the phaser for a flanger. And it’s easy to see why. First of all, the names sound somewhat similar and for the uninitiated ears, even the sound effect sounds similar. However, there are some easy ways to distinguish a flanger from a phaser. The easiest way to describe the difference is that a flanger has a more metallic sound, while a phaser has a more organic sound. A lot of people have described the sound of a flanger as something resembling a jet engine, giving a metallic quality to the sound. Phasers are known for creating similar swirling and swooshing effects, but they lack the “jet engine” style metallic tone.
Popular songs that have used the phaser pedal
Eruption – Van Halen
Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix
Paranoid Android – Radiohead
Soma – Smashing Pumpkins
Shattered – The Rolling Stones
The Best Phaser Pedals That You Can Buy
The MXR Phase 90 is one of the most iconic phaser pedals known. If there is a pedal synonymous with phasing, it is Phase 90. Chances are, if you’ve ever heard a guitarist play a phase tone, it was using this iconic single-knob orange pedal. The MXR has created many variations on this device, including the Phase 45, Phase 95, Phase 100 and Eddie Van Halen signature model. Most guitarists stayed true to the original. Keeping the speed at 25% produces a noticeable but subtle phase tone.
The Walrus Audio Vanguard Dual Phaser stands at the opposite end of the spectrum from Phase 90. Instead of one parameter button, there are eight. It also has a toggle switch to choose between 4-stage, 6-stage and 10-stage phasing. It offers a pitch effect for vibrato-style modulation and a “regen” button for flanger-style tones. It’s big and a little pricey, but packs a lot more tonal options than a small one-button stompbox.
The pedal that falls somewhere between Phase 90 and Walrus is the EarthQuaker Devices Grand Orbiter. Like the Vanguard, it has multi-stage phase options and a vibrato-style modulation mode. But like Phase 90, it has a compact footprint. In terms of price, it stands closer to the Walrus Audio Vanguard, which is decent for all the features it offers.