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It is one of the easiest modulation effects to get to grips with and a phaser pedal is also one of the most fun. Being able to enhance a solo or add a bit of depth to a sound is a bit plus, but only when you use a decent product. There are too many that are difficult to use and whilst they should be able to create a range of frequencies for you to experiment with, some pedals are just better than others.
The next time you’re trying to replicate Van Halen or do your best to, it is a good idea to have one of the better phaser pedals at your disposal. To make sure you get the benefits of a top pedal, we have created the following list of the best available.
Table of Contents
MXR M101 Phase 90 Guitar Effects Pedal
With a warm sound and a good range to play with, this is the best phaser pedal we could find. It mixes good value with functionality as it has the more dramatic swoosh sounds as well as those understated phaser notes to bulk out your sound.
A lot of people like it because it can be used with a multitude of instruments with everything from guitars to keys, bass, and strings. It has been used on a variety of Van Halen recording hence why it is so popular but if it good enough for him, then who are we to argue? Although some people might decry its simplicity, we like it for that very reason with speed the only adjustment, but for most people, that is all you need.
- Good value
- Easy to use
- Warm analog tone
- Used on a variety of Van Halen records
BOSS Phase Shifter Guitar Pedal (PH-3)
Another one of the best sounding phaser pedals and another from BOSS. They seem to rank high on a lot of list of the top guitar pedals which is why they are one of the most common when it comes to playing live. It is one of the most versatile phaser pedals on the list with stage phaser settings that include rise and fall modes to allow you to control the cycles.
Because of this and the adjustable rate, depth, and res knobs you can create both vintage and modern phaser sounds. There are different stage steps available so you can customize the sound in more ways than your average phaser pedal. It has a reasonable price and a sturdy build ensuring it is a great option for the more experienced guitar player but not overly complicated for newcomers.
- Adjustable depth, rate, and res
- Rise and fall modes
- Vintage and modrn phaser sounds
- Sturdy feel
- A little more expensive but worth it
Behringer Vintage Phaser VP1 Authentic Vintage-Style Pedal
With a true vintage sound and easy to use settings this has a decent mix of phaser sounds without being too complex for a beginner to get to grips with. Because of the price, you don’t get as many customizable options as some of the other brands but if your budget doesn’t stretch so far, it is a good option.
The build feels sturdy and it has a good range considering the price with rapid speaker and jet plane style phaser available. The true hard-wired bypass ensures it maintains the signal integrity throughout and has rate control and a switch to customize the effects speed and tone. It doesn’t add unnecessary distortion
- Low price
- Sturdy buuld
- True Hard wired bypass
- Rate control
- Tones aren’t as clear as other brands
TC Electronic Helix Phaser Pedal
This little beauty has simple dials that don’t overcomplicate things making it a real contender among the best phaser pedals. The range of tone is impressive and the switch at the top allows you to toggle between a vintage, TonePrint, or smooth sound settings. The useful dials include speed, depth, feedback, and mix to make it easy to find the ideal settings for a searing solo.
You can switch between true or buffered bypass so it is easy to maintain the clarity in your sound even when the pedal is not being used. The TonePrint settings make it easy for you to upload new sounds from the TonePrint app and have immersive tones thanks to its Stereo O/I sound.
- TonePrint setting for new sounds
- Lots of tone
- Plenty of adjustable settings
- True or buffered bypass
- Might be a little difficult to get used to for some
Other MXR M290 Phase 95 Mini Guitar Effects Pedal
This compact phaser pedal might not look like much but it manages to pack in a decent range of phaser sounds into one small space. Because of its small stature, it is easy to find room for it on your pedalboard and has 45 and 90 toggles so you can set it to the ideal place with ease.
There is also a script switch that allows you to move between two styles. It has a modern style of phaser sound that can be tweaked to provide a more dramatic swoosh. You can remove the feedback to ensure there is more clarity too. the sound and it is one of the better phaser pedals for tour life.
- Compact size
- Modern sound
- 45/90 switch
- LED is very bright
EarthQuaker Devices Grand Orbiter V3 Phase Machine Guitar Effects Pedal
Thew multitude of sounds available from this phaser pedal ensures it is going to be fun, especially with the 3 different modulation modes via the minute switch. This gives you everything from low to fast sweep mode meaning you can get the mellow tones as well as the swirly phaser effect that sticks in your head.
With four controls you can fine-tune the sound of your solos and choose from sweep, rate, speed, and resonance to shape the phaser sound to your needs. It is a 100% analog pedal that offers a true bypass to ensure the high frequencies are not impacted when it is not in use. Although it is priced a little higher than a lot of the other options, the number of adjustments that can be made ensure it is still good value.
- Lots of adjustable settings
- 100% analog
- True bypass
- More expensive than a lot of the alternatives
Phaser Pedal Guide
To give your solos that swoosh sound that helps to get them soaring, a phaser pedal makes an excellent addition to any lead guitarists pedalboard. Not everyone puts them to such good use but if you are considering one, you’re probably thinking about replicating your favorite song or seeing what you can muster yourself.
This is going to be a lot easier with quality gear and if you are searching for a phaser pedal then we’re guessing you already have the guitar and amp waiting. To help you make a sensible decision, we have created the following buyer’s guide.
What To Look For In A Phaser Pedal
There is something to be said for the basic pedals that rely on providing a great sound without giving you too many adjustments, especially if you are a novice.
However, with more knobs to turn, you get better control of the sound which opens up more possibilities for the range of sounds.
This goes for every pedal on your circuit, especially if you are a touring guitarist. The build quality of the pedal is vital and this means more than a metal housing to protect it. You never know when someone in the front row is going to spill a beer, or if you knock it, the pedal should be able to withstand more than a few bumps.
This might be more important to those with a packed pedalboard where space is at a premium but if this is the case then you can grab a reliable mini or compact phaser pedal. The regular models don’t tend to take up too much space but there is an option for everyone.
Some people enjoy the warm tones of the more controlled end of the phaser spectrum whilst others can make good use of the wild swoosh sounds and dramatic sweeps.
It is best to find a pedal that can do it all. Also, consider a phaser pedal with modern and vintage sounds if you want to tackle different genres.
When the pedal is on you want to be sure that it enhances the clarity of your notes, not stifles it and a true bypass pedal makes this possible. It also helps to ensure the signal is strong and tone is not affected when you turn it off.
What Is A Phaser Pedal?
If you are unfamiliar with them, a phaser pedal is a stompbox that manipulates the signal through different frequencies. The result is a swoosh sound of different levels that can be tweaked with adjustable knobs.
The sweeping effect comes from the differing levels of modulation and the pedal is a favorite of many genres. Everything from rock and jazz, with sub-niche categories such as the psychedelic songs of the world being a common place for a phaser pedal to be found.
What Does A Phaser Pedal Sound Like?
It has one of the most unique sounds of all the pedals on your circuit but it is equally difficult to describe if you have never heard it before. The sweeping swoosh effect and sounds like it is moving away then coming back, otherwise known as the swirl.
The frequency and length of the phaser settings can dramatically change the sound and it can be toned down for a more subtle feel that thickens your guitar sound or you can up the intensity and speed.
Where Does A Phaser Pedal Go On A Chain?
When used alongside other effects it is very important to get the placement of your phaser just right. It can amend the sound of others in a way that is different from what you are trying to achieve otherwise.
You can experiment with placement as the outcome might be a pleasant surprise but be sure to not have it run through too many changes or things won’t be pleasant.
They combine well with overdrive, distortion, and delay pedals and a mix of these can create some interesting swirls. It is best placed towards the back of the circuit but before reverb and delay.
What Is The Difference Between Flanger and Phaser Pedals
These distinctive effects are two of the most fun but how do they differ? A flanger gets its unique sound from a time delay whereas the phaser uses phase delay and gets it sound from frequency, not time.
How Much Does A Phaser Pedal Cost?
Some pedals can feel like a serious investment that you may or may not hide from your spouse thanks to the hit in the pay packet. However, a phaser pedal is one of the more reasonably priced with decent products available for around $70.
If you have the money to spend a little more then anything around $120 is going to get you a bunch of customizable settings so you can sculpt the phaser sound.
This will also mean you might be able to get vintage and modern sounds.
Is A Phaser A Good Pedal For Beginners?
Because fo the modulation they take a little more getting used to than the likes of distortion but any pedal can be complicated to start with. A phaser pedal doesn’t take long to get to grips with, but since a lot of the uses for them include solos and experimental sounds they tend to be more popular with those who have been playing for a while.
However, there are plenty of excellent tutorials on YouTube for improving your phaser pedal skills.
What Is The Best Phaser Pedal?
We’ve gone for a mix of value and sound quality which means the best phaser pedal in our eyes is the MXR M101 Phase 90 Guitar Effects Pedal. Used by the likes of Van Halen and with warm tones and simple one-knob operation, it is one of the best. pedals for beginners and experienced guitarists alike.
You don’t have to stick with the guitar either. It. can be used with keys, vocals, bass, strings, and more to make your songs more exciting.