Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The $10 “Broken” MXR Phase 90

You know sometimes just being willing to try to fix stuff allows you the freedom to buy things that you otherwise would’ve steered clear of, even though they’re not really broken.

I was in one of the local guitar shops not long ago; one that sells second-hand pedals. In their pile they had this:

It’s an MXR Phase 90

with the back cover missing (and replaced with some electrician’s tape):

I asked how much they wanted for it and they told me that it was broken. I said I was still interested, figuring it might be worth my while to try and repair it if the price was right. After some discussion with the pedal owner (one of the guys who works in the shop), they asked me for NT$300 (about US$10), reminding me again that it was broken.

I figured for ten bucks it would be worth it for parts alone, so I readily handed over the cash. The guys in the shop were amazed that I was willing to buy a broken pedal. Meanwhile I was amazed that that seemed so strange to them.

So I got it home and peeled off the PVC that was stuck on the back. I expected it to be all dirty and possibly corroded inside, but this is what I found:

Surprised by just how clean it was, I decided to plug it in and see what appeared to be the issue. First I tried it with a power supply, and then with a battery. In both cases it worked fine. I mean, it was perfect; not even any dodgy jacks or a sandy-sounding pot or anything.

So I set about making a back cover for it.

I actually have a few project boxes that are the same size as this, but I’d feel bad wasting one of those just for a back cover, so I found another back cover from a box that had been cut up and used for something else. It was a bigger box, so the outline of the box is traced onto the back cover first:

Then the back cover is cut down to size, as follows:

And filed flat:

The holes were drilled for the screws:

And then those holes were countersunk:

The corners were rounded:

And then the edges were smoothed:

Here I'm giving the base a good scrub with a wire brush. This'll help prepare it to receive paint.

At first I wasn't even going to paint this, but I had this orange primer lying around that seemed to match pretty well, so on it went:

After a couple of coats:

Then some clear coat is added:

For the second (and final) clear coat, the can is held at a distance while spraying in order to get a bit of an orange peel effect:

The reason for that is to try as best as possible to match the finish on the pedal itself, which you can see here:

After the clear coat dries, the base is screwed on:

Then some rubber feet are fitted:

And there we have it. A perfectly functional MXR Phase 90 for ten bucks. How’s THEM apples?

1 comment:

Syrus said...

You son of a gun.

That's a true steal.

I've got a great idea for this pedal. Ever seen this?

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l299/eskizo69/wah.jpg (perplex base sandwiched in with LED's)

How about syncing a LED with the phase shifting pattern? That would really be unique.