The latest from MXR features a great range of subtle to extreme space effects for under $100.

The chorus effect is a classic sound that has been around for decades. It’s probably most associated with ’80s-era production, though it’s hard to ignore in any context. Syrupy and liquid, sparkly and lush, it just makes everything sound bigger. Now, MXR has brought back the classic sound of the analog chorus with the predictably named but lovely sounding Analog Chorus.

Underwater Colors
Decked out in aqua blue the Analog Chorus has a five-control layout featuring Low and High EQ controls, Level, Rate, and Depth for maximum flexibility. It adds up to access to just about every chorus effect conceivable in a compact, easy-to-operate unit. Though they should probably issue a warning to wear your sunglasses when engaging the pedal, because the blue LED must be one of the brightest on the planet!

Submarine Sounds
Using a Stiff Amplification DirtHead amp in clean mode with a Mills Acoustic 4x12 as well as an Overloud TH-2 amp modeler and Elliott Tonemaster, I was able to move from Robbie Blunt’s tone on Robert Plant’s “Big Log” sounds to the deeper undulations of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” with just a few tweaks of the Level and Depth control. In between that I pulled out Andy Summers-inspired lushness and even a convincing “Black Hole Sun” Leslie warble.

At times, I was struck by how close I could make it sound to an analog flanger with manipulation of the rate and depth. With the volume rolled back on my amp’s gain channel I got a tone nearly identical to the intro to “Hear About It Later” from Van Halen’s Fair Warning. With a Strat, the same settings evoked Crowded House’s clean tone. And with the distortion cranked I couldn’t resist ripping some “Tom Sawyer” inspired solos.

The real meat of the pedal lies in the Rate and Depth controls and they offer great range to go from subtle to extreme space effects.

The level control is great for just adding a pinch of chorus if you don’t want to dominate your sound with wash. Cranking it up and slamming the depth and rate gets you into Leslie territory with ease. The High and Low EQ is a nice addition for dialing in just the right amount of presence and depth for any guitar. But the real meat of the pedal lies in the Rate and Depth controls and they offer great range to go from subtle to extreme space effects.

The Verdict
Chorus can be addictive. If you’re looking to get the ’80s in a box, this is your pedal. But it’s also a great texture in contemporary settings as well as ’60s-style Leslie wash. It also proves that chorus doesn’t just have to be a pretty, shimmering sound—when it comes in a well-designed stompbox and is engineered to move beyond the most cliché applications, it can rock and go way beyond too.

Buy if...
you crave retro analog chorus tones but need greater range of modulation.

Skip if...
you’re still trying to forget the ‘80s.

Rating...

Street $85 - MXR - jimdunlop.com

Guitar store staff have better things to do than clean your instrument, so a well-loved but unsoiled 6-string like this is going to command a higher trade-in value than one that comes in covered in years of residue.

Believe it or not, you can boost the value of your instrument by making everyone's life a little easier … and cleaner!

There's an overwhelming amount of activity in the guitar market these days, and the sheer amount of demand has left some manufacturers struggling to keep up. But rather than wait around for stores to re-stock, more and more customers are shopping for used and vintage guitars. You might wonder, where do all those used guitars come from?

Read More Show less

"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

Read More Show less
x