We love relic’d instruments at Dunlop. They look awesome, of course, with all the visual charm of an instrument that’s been through a lifetime or two on the road. But there’s more to a relic’d instrument than its appearance.
Relic’d instruments are generally of high quality, with a lot of them built by boutique manufacturers who give each instrument they produce a lot of attention.
They feel just as broken in as they look.
If you’ve ever put your hands on a vintage instrument that’s been played a lot, then you know that playing an instrument like that is as comfortable as putting on your favorite old pair of shoes. Builders go through a number of steps to create that worn-in feel in their relic’d instruments, and they tend to do it very successfully, whether it’s a Mexican-made Fender Roadworn Jazz Bass or a Tele-inspired guitar from San Francisco-based Rock N Roll Relics.
They sound great.
In order to be true to vintage instruments, relic’d instruments are often finished with nitrocellulose paint, which is thinner than the polyurethane used by most modern instruments and really allows the sound of your instrument to blossom.
No need to obsess over their condition.
So you have a ’64 Jazz Bass, black body with matching headstock. You love the way it sounds, the way it feels. You love the vibe its nicks and chips give off. But let’s be honest–you’re not going to bring that prize out to a dive bar in your nearest metropolis.
With relic’d instruments, you just don’t have to worry as much. If you’re playing out, you can leave your valuable vintage instrument at home and take out the relic’d one instead so you keep the same vibe. Any dings you make on it won’t matter, because they’re no different from what the instrument already has. And you can mod the instrument with little fear of damaging it.
Like the guitars photographed above? Check out Rock N Roll Relics. We think their relic work is some of the best in the business.
The Carbon Copy® Analog Delay has been the world’s bestselling delay pedal in the world since its release in 2009. Its warm analog sound, ease of use, and healthy reserve of delay time made the pedal a hit with guitar players everywhere, weekend warriors and recording pros alike.
We sat down with the masterminds behind this modern classic—veteran MXR® engineer Bob Cedro and Way Huge founder/delay guru Jeorge Tripps—to talk about the this pedal’s origins as well as the development of the newly released Carbon Copy Bright Analog Delay, a collaboration with the guys at Pro Guitar Shop that provides brighter, more refined repeats.
How did you guys conceive of the Carbon Copy Analog Delay?
Jeorge: When I started at Dunlop, the first thing I wanted to do for MXR was create a delay pedal—the line hadn’t had one since the old days, but players kept asking when we were going to fill that void. So I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted in an MXR delay pedal: analog circuitry, 600ms of delay time, modulation, a Phase 90-sized housing, and the option to run it on battery power.
Bob: Coincidentally, I already had a design for a 600ms analog delay pedal—it was one of my first projects at Dunlop—and we almost went into production with it in 1997. Unfortunately, the BBD IC (bucket brigade device, integrated circuit) we used went out of production at the last minute, so we had to call the whole thing off.
After Jeorge joined the Dunlop team, we had many conversations about creating a new MXR delay analog pedal, but without the parts needed, it stayed on our “Wouldn’t it be great if…” list. A short time later, though, I learned that the particular BBD IC needed to create my dream delay pedal was available again. We got to work right away.
Was it inspired by any previous circuit designs?
Bob: The Carbon Copy circuit was a new design. It was a culmination of my experience both designing delay pedals as an engineer and using them as a player over the years. Back in 1979, I designed my first chorus/delay rack unit for my own personal use. It used a Reticon R5101 charge-coupled device analog delay line, and it had more knobs and meters than a power plant. The first analog delay pedal I actually bought was a Boss DM2, which I used for pretty much everything—live guitar, recorded vocals, drums, and so on.
Later, while working as a design engineer for SR&D—the company that created the Rockman product line, now owned by Dunlop—I used the Rockman Analog Delay, which had this great, warm analog sound. The problem was that it was housed in a large, half rack box with an AC power cord tethered to it, and its control setup was way too complicated.
By the time I came to Dunlop, I had grown to love the more straightforward MXR approach. I decided that Regeneration, Mix, and Delay controls were all I needed in a delay to make me happy. After that, I concentrated on putting it all into an Phase 90-sized box.
What was the collaboration process like between the two of you?
Jeorge: I drew up a graphic representation of the pedal, including Bob’s Regen, Mix, and Delay controls, but I added the Mod (modulation) switch to simulate the wow and flutter of a vintage tape delay unit. Bob put it all together, adding the modulation circuitry to his own 600ms delay design, and the result was incredible.
Can you explain the Carbon Copy’s control setup and why you designed it that way?
Bob: We agreed to keep it simple, with just three knobs on the front of the pedal. At first, I was concerned that the modulation feature would complicate the pedal a bit too much, but the switch seemed to be a perfect solution. It allowed us to maintain the simple three-knob setup on the face of the pedal, and we put the modulation Speed and Width controls inside the unit as“set it and forget it” tweaks.
How does the Mod switch simulate an aging tape echo unit?
Bob: Engaging the Mod button places a slight pitch shifting movement on the delayed signal, which is reminiscent of tape echo wow and flutter. The internal controls are factory set to best simulate those subtle effects, but they can be adjusted for a much more pronounced and intense chorusing sound.
Jeorge: The modulation was a very important aspect of this pedal—it adds depth to the repeats and makes them sound bigger and more full. Very few delay pedals had that feature at the time.
How does it compare to past MXR delays?
Jeorge: The Carbon Copy Delay is a completely different circuit from the old big green MXR® Analog Delay. That unit used a Reticon R5101 BBD, and it didn’t have modulation. I think it did about 450ms? It was also very noisy.
Why do you think this pedal is still the bestselling delay six years later?
Jeorge: The market was missing a delay designed according to the MXR ethos, which emphasizes great tones, ease-of-use, and rugged durability for a reasonable price. We filled that gap, and we couldn’t be happier that it’s become the “go to” analog delay pedal.
What spurred the development of the Carbon Copy Bright Delay?
Jeorge: Well, the standard Carbon Copy Delay is famous for its dark, rich warmth. There are a lot of tone guys out there, though, who wanted to hear how it would sound if it was tuned to bring out more of the high end in the repeats so they could have more than one Carbon Copy flavor. Working with Aaron Miller and the Pro Guitar Shop team, we designed the Carbon Copy Bright with those players in mind.
Bob: Pro Guitar Shop’s customer base is very much centered around that type of player—the guys who love to find just the right sound for each application—so we thought they were the perfect partner to work with on this project. We passed a few prototypes back and forth until we found the sweet spot, and it really sounds great.
How exactly is the Carbon Copy Bright Delay different from the standard Carbon Copy Delay?
Jeorge: The Bright functions exactly the same as the standard version, but it’s tuned differently. Because the higher frequencies are more pronounced, this pedal’s repeats are more defined, and the modulation shimmers a bit more. It’s a great contrast to the standard version’s darker, warmer repeats.
Bob: If you’re into tone crafting and all that good stuff, there’s definitely room for both Carbon Copy pedals on your board.
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.
Setting the Variac control around 12 o’clock gives you what is essentially Super Badass Variac Fuzz’s default 9-volt sound. It’s great with the Gain and Output controls turned up and pushing hard into a somewhat driven tube amp for a very stoner rock or shoegaze vibe, depending on what other effects you’re running.
Players chasing vintage tones will want to turn the Variac control counterclockwise to drop the voltage below 9V for the sound you get from a battery that’s running out of juice. The resulting decrease in headroom will produce a spitty low-fi fuzz reminiscent of psychedelic rock. The only way to get this sound back in the day was to manage a collection of half-dead batteries, but now you can do it with the twist of a knob.
Turning the voltage up past 9V gives you a totally different sound. Going clockwise form 12 o’clock, the Variac control opens up the Super Badass Variac Fuzz to something more like an organic overdrive with fuzzy edges.
That’s just the start of what you can do with the Super Badass Variac Fuzz. Use the Output, Tone, and Gain controls to feel out the range of tones provided by the Variac control. Use your guitar’s volume knob to play with the intensity of the fuzz. Try it with different amps and pickup types. Experiment with other effects—this thing sounds killer with a Cry Baby® Wah, for example.
Bottom line, the Super Badass Variac Fuzz is an incredibly versatile pedal with a range of textures and timbres that can be dialed in quickly and easily. Now put one on your pedal board and start chasin’ them tones.
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.
It all started with the Phase 90, created by engineer Keith Barr after he decided that he could build a more reliable and better sounding phaser than the bulky and poorly built options on the market at the time. The resulting pedal’s compact size, superior construction, and refined sound put MXR on the map, and it set the standard by which all other phasers are judged.
A couple years after MXR released the Phase 90, the Phase 45 was born. In contrast to the Phase 90’s 4-stage phasing, the Phase 45 was designed with a mellower 2-stage circuit that is favored for its ability to easily blend into a band’s mix.
As MXR transitioned from script logo to block logo housings, MXR’s engineers added a feedback resistor to the Phase 90 circuit. Whereas the first Phase 90 circuit—now called Script—had a subtle and more subdued swoosh, the feedback resistor gave what is now called the Block circuit a dirtier, more pronounced phasing sound. A small number of early Block logo housings contain the original Script circuit, so it’s not always accurate to rely just on the pedal’s housing when identifying a vintage Phase 90.
In the late 1970s, MXR released the Phase 100, which has an altogether different circuit from the Phase 90 and Phase 45, with a different range of sounds. Along with the Speed control, it features a 4-position rotary switch that selects between four different intensities.
MXR went out of business in the early 1980s, but Dunlop resurrected the brand toward the end of the decade. The first pedals to be released under Dunlop’s stewardship were the Distortion+, the Dyna Comp® Compressor, the Blue Box™ Fuzz, and of course the Phase 90, all in Block form with the on/off status LEDs and AC power jacks that MXR eventually added. Since then, Dunlop has re-released each of MXR’s original phasers and has continued to develop new ones along the way.
Our first Phase 90 innovation came in the form of the EVH Phase 90.
When Eddie Van Halen expressed interest in recreating some of his classic MXR pedals, Dunlop engineer Bob Cedro thought of the spacey swirls and hypnotic warbles heard on early Eddie’s early recordings and pulled out his original 1974 script logo Phase 90. Using that as his base, Bob built a prototype Script-style Phase 90 that he hot-rodded for increased headroom and dynamic range. For testing purposes, he included a switch that Eddie could use to toggle between the two sounds for comparison. Eddie loved it, but he wanted to keep the Script/Block switch so that he could have both circuits in hot-rodded form.
The huge success of the EVH Phase 90 led Bob back to his original 1974 Phase 90. He used it to create the ’74 Vintage Phase 90, which features a hand-wired board with select resistors and hand-matched FETs and comes housed in the classic orange finished box with the unmistakable Script logo. For further authenticity, this box has no LED and can only be powered by a battery. For those who wanted a Script version with modern upgrades such as the on/off status LED and an AC power jack, Bob and the MXR team created the Script Phase 90.
To date, Dunlop has only produced one standalone version of the Phase 45: the ’75 Vintage Phase 45, a reissue of the original built to exacting specifications. As with the Vintage Phase 90, it features hand-matched FETs and a hand-wired circuit board.
Now let’s talk about the incredibly versatile Phase 95. First, you get both the mellow two-stage phasing of the Phase 45 and the more intense four-stage phasing of the Phase 90, with a 45/90 switch to toggle between the two. Once you select between those two iconic MXR phasers, you can choose to go with the lush, subdued sound and clarity of the original Script circuit or the light harmonic distortion and accentuated swoosh of the modern Block circuit thanks to the Script switch. As always, the familiar Speed control sets the rate of the effect.
What you’re getting with the Phase 95 is four different pedals in one: a Script Phase 45, a Script Phase 90, a Block Phase 45—which has never been offered before—and a Block Phase 90. Oh, and as we mentioned, it all comes in a mini housing that takes up a fraction of the space occupied by a standard pedal. Here’s how it looks on a mini travel board with a Germanium Fuzz Face® Mini Distortion and a Cry Baby® Mini Wah:
Keep your instruments pristine with Dunlop’s new Platinum 65™ Premium Care System of professional grade instrument care products. We took a cue from the automotive care industry, harnessing Montan wax—its latest innovation—as the Platinum 65 line’s key ingredient. Montan wax is a fossilized plant wax prized for its ease of use and deep glossy shine.
The Platinum 65 System optimizes Montan wax for the maintenance of musical instruments so that you can both clean your guitars or basses and dress them with a protective barrier. Platinum 65 products take less time and less effort than any other wax-based care product—there’s no need to wait for drying, and there’s no need to wear your arm out trying to even out the surface coating.
Platinum 65 care comes in two forms. For quick and easy everyday care, there’s the 1-step Cleaner-Polish. For weekly use, or whenever more thorough care is necessary, we recommend the Deep Clean and Spray Wax two-step process. Both Deep Clean and Spray Wax are silicone-free.
To show just how simple and effective Platinum 65 products are, we put together a step-by-step pictorial for each process. Check it out below.
USE CLEANER-POLISH FOR DAY TO DAY MAINTENANCE
Platinum 65 Cleaner-Polish is just its name says—a high quality two-in-one cleaner and polish that’s ideal for day to day maintenance of your guitar or bass. Let’s see how it works on this gunked up Les Paul.
First, take a clean, dry cloth such as the Platinum 65 Microfiber Cloth and spray 1 to 2 pumps of Cleaner-Polish onto it. Note: Do not spray Cleaner-Polish onto or around finish chips, cracks, or checking.
Next, wipe the cloth gently over the surface of your instrument and repeat as necessary until clean.
After you’ve gotten rid of the gunk, turn the cloth over to a clean, dry side and gently buff out your instrument’s surface until its nice and shiny.
See? Nice and shiny.
If you have to do a more thorough cleaning and a heavier polish, we suggest you try the two-step Deep Clean/Spray Wax process.
USE DEEP CLEAN & SPRAY WAX FOR MORE THOROUGH CARE
First, we’re going to clean the surface of our guitar with Platinum 65 Deep Clean. Once its gunk-free, we’ll give it a nice protective polish with Platinum 65 Spray Wax.
As we did with the Cleaner-Polish, spray 1 to 2 pumps of Deep Clean onto a clean, dry Platinum 65 Microfiber Cloth. Note: Likewise, do not spray Deep Clean onto or around finish chips, cracks, or checking.
Wipe gently to remove fingerprints and grime, repeating as necessary.
Now it’s time for Platinum 65 Spray Wax—spray 1-2 pumps directly onto a clean, dry Platinum 65 Microfiber Cloth. Gently buff your instrument to a nice glossy shine, turning the cloth as needed. Note: Again, don’t spray onto the surface of your instrument, especially if there are any finish cracks, chips, or checking.
And there you have it—ready for the showroom floor.
You can get Platinum 65 products by the individual bottle or in the following combo packs: the Platinum 65 Twin Pack includes Deep Clean, Spray Wax, and two Microfiber Cloths, while the Cleaner-Polish Pack features a bottle of Cleaner-Polish and a Microfiber Cloth.