REVIEW > MOJO HAND
other end of the cord, I plugged in a ’ 96
Fender US Lone Star Strat.
Many players use phase pedals with a
shallow depth and slow sweep to subtly alter
the tonal characteristic of their clean guitar
tone. Throwing the Strat’s pickup selector
into the neck position while playing clean
rhythm through a mellow phase softened
the Strat’s tone a touch by rounding off
some of the treble frequencies and tightening up the bass. In a full band, it’s a perfect
recipe for blending in without getting lost
in the mix, and Carlos Alomar’s tone during the Bowie era—the high guitar parts
in “Golden Years,” for instance—is a good
point of reference for how the Nebula IV
can work in this context.
One of the cooler aspects of the Nebula
IV is that you can dial in the volume (even
overdrive it a tiny bit), as well as adjust the
depth setting. The original MXR Phase
90 has almost mythical status because the
depth is set so perfectly in the box. But the
Nebula IV’s ability to nail that sweet spot
and cover the additional ground is a welcome—and musically useful—evolution.
Pros: Beautifully built. Super dimensional. Good for subtle-to-radical phase effects.
Mojo Hand FX Nebula IV Phaser, $159 street, mojohandfx.com
Ease of Use
Cons: Oddly placed power jack.
Cranking up the depth and rate a touch,
I was able to nail Jonny Greenwood’s phased
guitar tone from Radiohead’s “Paranoid
Android.” Pushing the depth even further
gets you cool vowel-like tones with a little
overdrive, much like the rhythm guitar in
Tame Impala’s “Solitude Is Bliss”—a great
texture for livening up an otherwise dull and
pedestrian strumming pattern. The Nebula
IV works very well with other pedals too, and
driving it at full phase with the Super Fuzz
out front conjures a fantastic, deep and menacing swirl without losing detail or definition.
The Nebula IV does a beautiful job of
capturing the magic of the original Phase
90 and extending the sonic possibilities
of that foundation. Newer, higher precision components and some engineering
prowess make the Nebula IV a lot like a
higher-fidelity, lower-noise descendent
of the original MXR Phase 90. It’s more
dimensional and spacious, however, and
it puts a lot of tone-shaping control at
Complaints are minor: The power jack
is less than conveniently located, causing right-angle 1/4" cables to poke up in
harm’s way. Otherwise, the Nebula IV is a
well-built, stylish and versatile phaser that
will please even the most hardcore swirl
fiends—and perhaps bring some new ones
into the fold.
166 PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2012