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Anatomy of a Guitar Tone: Phaser Before Overdrive

Hey everyone, Mark Marshall with and

In this week’s episode of Anatomy of Guitar Tone, I’m going to discuss using a phaser pre-overdrive pedal as opposed to post.

Now, I think it’s conventional wisdom that you place your modulation effects like flanger or phaser post-overdrive and pre-delay.

I came about this idea because I often plug straight into an amp and just turn the amp up to get the drive, and any effect you have on the floor is pretty much going to be pre-overdrive. But I noticed that it sounds a little different much in the same way that a wah-wah sounds a little different pre-fuzz pedal or post-fuzz pedal.

For this example, I’m going to be using this Ripple pedal from Jam Pedals, and it’s pretty much a Phase 45 flavor, which I like, because it’s a two-stage phaser, and it’s just warm and kind of has a lot of body to it, as opposed to some of the phasers that have more stages in it that kind of get a little crispy. I prefer this type of sound.

I’m going to run that in conjunction with this Fulltone OCD. This is version four. I’ve used this pedal mostly because I feel a lot of people have it, and it’s something they recognize.

The thing about how phasers work, as it sweeps, certain frequencies are getting boosted, and if you place this before an overdrive pedal, those frequencies that are getting boosted are going to push the overdrive a little bit harder. So that in itself is going to create a little bit of an effect, as I think some notes or some chords, as it goes through the phase, are just going to be a tiny bit more saturated than when the phaser is on more of the thin side of the cycle.

[phaser after overdrive]

[overdrive after phaser]

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall is a producer, songwriter, session musician and instructor based in NYC. More at

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