Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. For guitarists, that better mousetrap arrived in the early ’70s when Keith Barr gave the world the MXR Phase 90. It was the first of many brightly colored effects pedals that would find their way onto stages and into recording studios worldwide.

Barr and his partner Terry Sherwood owned an audio repair shop in Rochester, New York, where they were shocked by the poor quality of the guitar effects their customers brought in. Barr and Sherwood decided they could give guitar players a better sounding, cooler looking, and more reliable stompbox. MXR was born, and the company gave guitarists access to amazing sounds—some of which were previously available only in high-end studios—delivering those sounds in rugged, roadworthy enclosures.

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