Playing at home is a different animal than playing on stage. Playing live requires many different choices to be made—which guitar and amp to use, which pedals to put on your pedalboard, and so on. At home, though, there are no limits. You can just reach for the other guitar or plug in the other amp, and your pedalboard can be as expansive as you want it to be. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to setting up your own practice and recording station, utilitarian and creative alike.

Some players are cool with two or three pedals loosely and haphazardly arranged at their feet in a tangle of cables and running on ever-diminishing battery power. If you’re really into effects, though, you’re eventually going to put your foot down into the world of pedalboards. Putting a pedalboard together requires you to make some choices, and it’s a rabbit hole that some of our fellow musicians never find their way back out of. 

But rest easy! We came up with a few great examples of pedalboards you can put together depending on your needs and playing situation.

Reverb is that sense of place and depth you hear when sound is reflected off of solid surfaces. Architects have been designing concert halls and other enclosed spaces to enhance this effect with live music for more than a hundred years. Recorded music, however, can sound flat and unnatural if it doesn’t sound as if it actually exists in a physical space, so musicians and producers have relied on a number of methods to recreate the sonic characteristics of playing in acoustically rich environments.

The MXR® Super Badass Variac Fuzz delivers a big, aggressive, and biting square wave tones with a nice touch of smooth compression. Its Tone, Output, and Gain controls provide plenty of fine-tuning potential, but what makes this pedal a dream come true for tonechasers is its Variac control.

The Variac control allows you to vary the pedal’s voltage from 5 to 15 volts, which also changes how much headroom is available—lower voltage means lower headroom and vice versa. Many pedals sound radically different depending on how much headroom they have.

MXR set the standard for phase pedals with the release of the Phase 90 in 1972. That little orange box went on to become the sole iconic example of its effect category, and it has been used by the world’s greatest guitar players—such as Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, and Eddie Van Halen—to record some of the most iconic songs ever cut to vinyl.

Several Phase 90-based phasers have been released since then, and this year, we’re introducing the Phase 95—it packs the evolution of the Phase 90 circuit into a single housing, and at half the size of its forebear, it’s the first ever mini pedal from MXR. The Phase 95 is the most versatile phaser we’ve ever produced. Before we get into the how and why, let’s look at the MXR phasers that brought us to this point.