A Blue Box of Mysteries

When I first encountered an MXR Blue Box, I’d never heard of it before. I was in a recording studio outside Boston, MA, and there was a wall of pedals. A few caught my eye, but none more than this mysterious ‘Blue Box’. I could pretty much figure out what every pedal might do for me based on the name or the setting labels, so I think that fact was really what seduced me into picking up this tiny blue object first. It was then that we had our first encounter… don’t worry, it was consensual.

When I plugged in to the Blue Box, I felt the power. As I adjusted the Blend knob, it became apparent that this was more than just a fuzz pedal. Upon first impression, the Blend knob was dialed all the way to the right, which was the closest thing to an octave pedal/octavia combination that it offers. It was only when I started twisting that knob counter-clockwise that a huge smile appeared on everyone’s face who could hear what was going on. My guitar had turned into a dirty, analog synth bass. If you want to hear a recording of what we ended up using it for, listen to the first notes of ‘Evergreens’ by one of my old bands: http:// polareye.bandcamp.com

The MXR Blue Box is classified as a fuzz pedal, but it’s much more than that. The sub-bass frequencies are capable of reaching two octaves below the note that you’re playing. The Output knob controls the volume, and the Blend knob lets you mingle between fuzz and synthesized tones. I honestly have never had more fun with a pedal as far as the features to sounds ratio than this one. Some pedals that have rivaled that fun factor have been pedals like the Boss Phase Shifter, or the Subdecay Starlight DLX Super Deluxe Flanger (yep, even the name is fun), but the Blue Box literally has ONE knob on it that affects the sound.

Obviously, this pedal is more of a luxury than a necessity, but you can avoid the retail price and find them new on eBay for around $60 if you’re interested in getting one. It will be the most fun gear investment you make, and if you’re ever jamming with your friends and your licks suck, just turn on your Blue Box and wail on it — good things will be sure to happen.