A phaser is probably one of the coolest effects you can have in your sonic arsenal, you just don't know it yet. Phasers often take a backseat to flangers, choruses and vibes, but the subtle organic swooshes of this effect has actually helped shape some of the most iconic guitar tones ever. So let's have a look at some of the most legendary uses of phasers, and hopefully it'll inspire you to integrate this lovely effect into your own sound. It truly is phasetastic!
Pink Floyd - Have A Cigar
A pivotal moment in phaser history is those iconic first four bars of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar". David Gilmour's tone is absolutely drenched in a smooth and lumpy phaser slope, which totally defines this moving yet funky riff.
Van Halen - Eruption
This is probably the quintessential phaser tone. The tone that really put phasers in the public spotlight, and proved what an awesome effect it is when used in the right context. This ultra-slow Phase90 tone stands in stark contrast to Eddie's insanely fast tapping, and combined with the quick delay it creates a calm and unique evolving ambience behind the frenetic shredding.
Smashing Pumpkins – Mayonaise
Smashing Pumpkins legendary Siamese Dream album from 1993 is a textbook example of how a subtle and slow-moving phaser can take an already great riff and melody and simply make it epic! The effect was used so much on this record that James Iha at one point actually had his Small Stone Phaser taped to his guitar (Maybe we should just start to include a roll of duct-tape with every Helix Phaser?). Just listen to the brilliant intro to Mayonaise and the solo around 3:10 to get a grasp of the evocative sway and movement a phaser can bring to your tone. But be warned! Once you try this, it's gonna be hard to turn that phaser off again.
Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala basically lives and breathes phasers. He loves the effect so much that he's once been quoted saying something along the lines of "If I could somehow get phaser on my breakfast, I would totally do it!". Just listen to the opening bars of his smash-hit "Solitude Is Bliss" and hear how the super sweet and perfectly timed phasing completely defines the riff. This song wouldn't have been the same without a phaser.