Vintage MXR Phase 100 Restoration & Modding

A Little History

I bought this vintage MXR Phase 100 from a little second hand music shop in Bradford. I believe the year was 1998. At this time MXR pedals were relatively unwanted and had mostly been forgotten, at least that’s the impression I got since this pedal had sat in the window of this music shop for weeks along with a vintage MXR Flanger and vintage Stereo Chorus. I think I paid £35 or £40 for this particular Phase 100.

As you can see the pedal looks to have been through quite a life. Who knows what stages this thing sat on or who owned it originally.

I love the chipped paint.

The pedal was used on a number of songs in my then band Sand. The songs ‘E’, named so because it was in the key of E, and ‘The Todwell Lion’. A few years later my band broke up and I became a bass player. The pedal was then relegated to bedroom use.

At this time I was electronics curious and always opened up pedals or other equipment to just look at the insides. I had no idea how things worked or how to solder or anything like that, I just enjoyed looking at them.

The insides of this pedal were not in good condition. Rust, muck, and wires hanging on by threads. The cable jacks were also wobbly and not holding the guitar cables very well. The process of my meddling had also broken a few of the delicate wires. So I needed to find someone to do a complete rewire of the pedal, install a true bypass switch, and fix the jack sockets.

Around the year 2000/2001 I was given the details of a repair technician that had done some work on a friend’s amp so I took the pedal to him. After discussing the pedal briefly, he told me the pedal was already true-bypass. This should have been a red flag for me but I trusted him so left the pedal for him to do the other work. Fix the wiring and replace the jack sockets.

The pedal worked for a little while after this but once again it stopped working. I opened the pedal up and saw that more of the rusty, brittle wires had snapped inside. Even at that time with no knowledge of electronics I could tell that the work done was poor and the wire fixes were simply quick fixes to get the pedal working again. It was not professional work. I believe this cost me about £40, not cheap in 2000. So the pedal was shelved and not touched again.

If you want something doing well, do it yourself.

Now roughly 20 years later I am in possession of some electronics knowledge and some fine soldering skills so it was time to bring this pedal back to life and do the work I had always wanted doing.

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