5 More Pedals in Need of a Reissue

Similar to vintage vinyl, original versions of effects pedals are a thing of pure myth. They often become pieces of prized vintage collections and, ultimately, drive used prices to monumental value. But thanks to modern technologies, companies can revisit these older designs and create an updated model based on customer feedback and internet popularity.

In this second edition of “Pedals in Need of a Reissue,” we take a look at five more vintage pedals that have returned to popularity and are in extreme demand for a modern reissue.

1. Musitronics Mu-tron Bi-Phase

Rightfully called the “holy grail” of phasers, the MuTron Bi-Phase was not only the largest pedal of its kind, it was also one of the funkiest. Incorporating two independent phase speeds created otherworldly and psychedelic tones, making it a favorite amongst guitarists like Frank Zappa, Billy Corgan and many more.

Musitronics Mu-tron Bi-Phase

Apart from its two independent phasing units, both speeds could be controlled with the wah-like foot controller for ramping up and down sounds similar to the Leslie Speaker. No matter how many times pedal builders are “inspired” by the Bi-Phase, there’s only one person capable of recreating these units: Mike Beigel.

Luckily, Mike has been re-releasing some of the beloved Mutron pedals under the new name Mu-Fx. So far, the Octave Divider, Mu-Tron III (now called the Trudgen’s-Tron 3x) and the Phasor II (the Bi-Phase’s little brother) have all been reissued.

With the recent revival and popularity of modulation pedals, the Bi-Phase would be an excellent choice for Mike’s next release – not to mention the fact that it would help curb the vintage unit’s currently outrageous $3,500 price tag.


2. Electro-Harmonix 16 Second Digital Delay

Back in the early 1980s, compact delay units were often limited to 350 milliseconds. However, Mike Matthews of Electro-Harmonix introduced a new delay pedal that gave players a whopping 32 seconds of delay time, which led to an entirely new era of sound-on-sound looping.

Electro-Harmonix 16 Second Digital Delay

Branded as a delay pedal, the Electro-Harmonix 16 Second Digital Delay had controls for reverse, modulation, and half speed. One of the more useful functions happened to be the “always on” style of phrase recording. Even when the pedal was switched off, it was still recording the instrument’s signal.

Most pedal companies tend to leave this feature out in favor of true bypass, which is why the hugely anticipated 1990s reissue of the 16 Second Digital Delay was a let down for many players eagerly awaiting the update. While its many forward thinking functionalities have been incorporated into other modern loopers, there hasn't really been a looper like it since.

The 16 Second Digital Delay's number one fan, Nels Cline, shows just how unique and special the original design was. His ability to create on-the-fly recordings with the “always on” feature lend to his amazing and jealousy-inspiring improvisational soundscapes.

Though Electro-Harmonix recently released the compact 720 looper, the state of looping pedals is in desperate need for a new – or perhaps old – and inspiring piece of gear. Maybe Mike Matthews and the team over at EHX will yet again stir things up by reintroducing the widely applauded 16 Second Digital Delay. Until then, though, it will remain a mythical beast on the secondhand market.


3. Boss PH-1rW

Boss PH-1r

One of the first compact phaser pedals on the market, the Boss PH-1r was the second iteration in its family. The original design was a simple rate and depth knob, later adding a resonance knob for a more dramatic effect.

When the PH-1r was originally released, many players wanted to have a compact solution for the Leslie Speaker sound. Though not sounding exactly like a Leslie Speaker, the PH-1r was able to give musicians the warm phaser sound in a box the size of a (not yet invented) smartphone.

With Boss's recent release of the CE-2W giving musicians access to multiple modes of classic pedals, the PH-1r reissue would pick up where the original left off. Perhaps this version could incorporate an added switch to turn the resonance on or off and to access different modes. So Boss, if you're listening, it may be time to pull the PH-1r out of retirement and put it back into musicians’ hands!


4. Digitech PDS 20/20 Multiplay

In 1987, DigiTech released a series of eight double pedals with varying effects of flavor including distortion, reverb, chorus/flange, delay, and a sampler. While some of the models weren't a huge success, the delay and sampler pedals became essential to musicians creating layers of texture in their sound. These musicians include Kevin Shields, Jonathan Hischke, Lee Ranaldo, Juan Alderete and many, many more.

Digitech PDS 20/20 Multiplay

Without a doubt, the "hidden gem" of the bunch would have to be the PDS 20/20 Multiplay. Its ability to be a sampler, delay, and modulation pedal enabled players to make pitch bending noise beyond their wildest dreams. Placing the delay and modulation sections after the hold function made it possible to further manipulate the sound.

Although the interface was simple, the PDS 20/20 had subtle complexities that make it a highly sought after item. With DigiTech reissuing many of its older pedals, it will be no surprise if this inspirational pedal receives a much needed facelift and re-release.


5. VOX 4 & 7 Series Amp in compact pedal form

Vox has played an iconic role in providing musicians with some of the best equipment. From the classic tones played from amplifiers to the distinctive "wah-wah" of pedals, the Vox brand is a legacy when it comes to the music business.

1966 Vox UL4120

Throughout the last decade, many companies have tried stuffing the classic tones of the Vox AC30 amplifiers into a compact pedal enclosure. But one of the more overlooked but highly sought after Vox amplifiers to date is the 4 and 7 series, most notably played by The Beatles during their Revolver and Sgt. Pepper recording sessions.

With recent amplifier brands such as Friedman and Diezel releasing highly anticipated pedal versions of their amps, it would be a smart time for Vox to release the 4 & 7 series in pedal format. Of course, if Vox did want to reissue the 4 & 7 series, musicians surely would have no objections. However, if it's not an exact replication of the infamous 1966 amplifier, fans will most likely take to the internet to criticize Vox on every forum they can type on.

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