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MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal

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The MXR Custom Badass '78 Distortion roars with huge amp stack tones and old-school distortion. MXR took a classic distortion circuit and hot-rodded ...Click To Read More About This Product

Available 12-05-2017

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OVERVIEW

A hot-rodded classic circuit that roars with huge amp-stack tones and old-school distortion.

The MXR Custom Badass '78 Distortion roars with huge amp stack tones and old-school distortion. MXR took a classic distortion circuit and hot-rodded it to deliver over-the-top, soaring leads and rich, saturated rhythms. With only three knobs, dialing in a badass tone is a cinch. Engage the CRUNCH button to boost the harmonic content of the distortion. Under the hood, this high-performance machine features top-notch circuitry and hardware meant for a lifetime of use.

FEATURES
  • A hot-rodded classic circuit
  • Roars with huge amp stack tones and old school distortion
  • Delivers soaring leads and rich, saturated rhythms
  • CRUNCH button boosts harmonic content of distortion

Nobody does distortion like MXR. Get your Badass '78 now!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
MXRM78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
 
4.3

(based on 43 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (27)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality (13)
  • Responsive (12)
  • Compact (11)
  • Versatile (10)
  • Good selection of effects (7)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (12)
  • Home studio (9)
  • Amateur recording (7)
  • Outdoor events / games (7)
  • Professional recording (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (11), Professional musician (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Perfection

I've never liked distortion pedals. They always sound artificial to me and I prefer overdrives. Having loved the TS9 Tubescreamer, I thought I'd try the new Ibanez Jet Driver which was described as...Read complete review

I've never liked distortion pedals. They always sound artificial to me and I prefer overdrives. Having loved the TS9 Tubescreamer, I thought I'd try the new Ibanez Jet Driver which was described as a more pwerful TS9 with way more output and more gain. I didn't really like it and returned it for the 78, having never played or heard it.

I was completely blown away.

The tone is magical. THE perfect classic rock/hard rock/bluesy rock sound. Everything from a light crunch to Zeppelin, ZZ Top, AC/DC and beyond. Falls just barely short of metal. The tone knob is really functional. 0 for mud, 10 for bright. Somewhere in-between is your perfect and extremely usable tone. Mine stays permenantly set at around 10:30. Warm but not muddy.

Lots of gain on tap, you'll get an acceptable classic chug but not metal. IF you're in a cover band and play like 1 Judas Priest tune, you can fake it for one song if you dime the gain. But you'll want to look elsewhere for metal.

Sounds great with all guitars, too. I have a LEs Paul Junior with a P-90, an SG standard with humbuckers, and a Tele. IT compliments all of them well with just slight adjustments.

The crunch button doesn't really add cruch, but color to your sound. It sounds just a little fuller when on, adding more lows and highs than mids. The slight eq boost also adds a minimal but noticeable amount of volume. Go demo it to hear what I mean. So far, I like it on when I have the gain turned up, but off when I have the gain turned down. I also prefer it off with the Tele. I wish it was possible to switch on and off with my foot. It really does change the sound of the pedal.

Overall, I love it. The 78 bridges the gap between overdrives and distortions. If you're like me and love the warmth of a good overdrive, but hate the fizz and shrill of *most* distortions, give this one a shot. It sounds more like an amp than a pedal.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

78' Distortion not as versitle as Distortion III

I bought the MXR Distortion III at the same time as the 78' Distortion and thought this would win over the III.The goal of this pedal for me was seeking that Distortion that fits...Read complete review

I bought the MXR Distortion III at the same time as the 78' Distortion and thought this would win over the III.The goal of this pedal for me was seeking that Distortion that fits into the 78 era distortion and works well with the tone knobs on my strat and Gibson Les Paul. The M78 has a 'sound to it' that works if you like that era sound, but not very versatile in tone. I felt that my knobs on my guitar (tone, volume) didn't really make a difference in the pedal. As for the Dist III I felt i had a bit more control. the look of it is beautiful. the casing color is stunning red and really is nice on the pedal board but I like to close my eyes and know it feels right in the mix of my pedal setups. Overall it has a sound that works in most classic heavy distortion situations. A good pedal but I feel the MXR Dist III has more of an organic feel then the 78'd distortion.For the price difference, I would suggest a listen to the MXR Distortion III. But if you like the 78' distortion out of the box, then this pedal is for you.

Reviewed by 43 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Perfection

By Super Modes

from NJ

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Pros

  • Beautiful Tone
  • Great With All Guitars
  • No Fizz
  • Versitle
  • Well made

Cons

  • You Dont Own One Yet

Best Uses

  • Great In Any Situation

Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

I've never liked distortion pedals. They always sound artificial to me and I prefer overdrives. Having loved the TS9 Tubescreamer, I thought I'd try the new Ibanez Jet Driver which was described as a more pwerful TS9 with way more output and more gain. I didn't really like it and returned it for the 78, having never played or heard it.

I was completely blown away.

The tone is magical. THE perfect classic rock/hard rock/bluesy rock sound. Everything from a light crunch to Zeppelin, ZZ Top, AC/DC and beyond. Falls just barely short of metal. The tone knob is really functional. 0 for mud, 10 for bright. Somewhere in-between is your perfect and extremely usable tone. Mine stays permenantly set at around 10:30. Warm but not muddy.

Lots of gain on tap, you'll get an acceptable classic chug but not metal. IF you're in a cover band and play like 1 Judas Priest tune, you can fake it for one song if you dime the gain. But you'll want to look elsewhere for metal.

Sounds great with all guitars, too. I have a LEs Paul Junior with a P-90, an SG standard with humbuckers, and a Tele. IT compliments all of them well with just slight adjustments.

The crunch button doesn't really add cruch, but color to your sound. It sounds just a little fuller when on, adding more lows and highs than mids. The slight eq boost also adds a minimal but noticeable amount of volume. Go demo it to hear what I mean. So far, I like it on when I have the gain turned up, but off when I have the gain turned down. I also prefer it off with the Tele. I wish it was possible to switch on and off with my foot. It really does change the sound of the pedal.

Overall, I love it. The 78 bridges the gap between overdrives and distortions. If you're like me and love the warmth of a good overdrive, but hate the fizz and shrill of *most* distortions, give this one a shot. It sounds more like an amp than a pedal.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Nice tasty stuff!

By RnR

from Caracas, Venezuela

See all my reviews

Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

As I wrote before, this pedal is a classic disortion, not an O.D as many people think (thats why theyve got the custom badass O.D modified, dont you think?) Great tone, great ammount of distortion, excelent dynamics, true by pass, doesnt change your pedalboard sound at all. About the durability... well time and use will judge this alluminium box.
PLEASE, dont pay attention to those who are saying that this pedal sucks just because it was not made for metal (Black MEtal, nu metal, thrash, death metal an so on) you can get a metal sound using an O.D at the same time.
Remeber, this is a Classic 70s, 80s and 90s distortion. Sit down with your amp and this cherry box and enjoy life.Thank you for reading
The only feature this baby has is the crunch mode, which boost the mids, and in some way make it sound "cleaner". However, is not THAT necesary at all, bcause of the tones you can get from this baby. The dynamics, the softer you play, the softer you hear (something difficult to find and all MXR products have). Another use you can get from this dist. is that you can actually use an O.D at the same time, and it sounds heavy as hell. At last but not least, you actually CAN hear the chords you play, that means, this pedal is understandable at all ranges.This is not a metal distortion, but if you equalize ypur amp and use an O.D at the same time, you can get that - in my case I use a ZW 44 and sounds as a dragon.
Most of the reviews are good at this point. However, in my own personal opinion, the body is not that great. I think MXR team is changing the way they are building their pedals, making them less harder and waaaay too softer, thanks to the alluminium they are using. If you compare old MXR pedals with the new ones, they are just car toys. Sorry MXR, but is the ugly true.
If you have the money, buy it.

(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great '78

By Tubehed

from Westminster, CA

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

    Like all MXR effects pedals, the M78 is compact, rugged, well made and affordable. In addition, the M78 upholds MXR's reputation for good sound quality. This pedal nails the sound of classic rock and can go from a nice, smooth rhythm tone at lower gain settings to a maxed out JCM 800 when the gain knob is at or past 3:00. It is dynamic and responsive for a distortion pedal. The tone knob offers useable high frequency boost and cut options. The crunch switch is good for adding more volume and even harmonic content. Too bad this feature can't be activated via an additional footswitch.

    Even if you are into more subtle, natural overdrive sounds, the M78 is a great way to compliment a high quality O.D. or booster, whether used independently or stacked.

    This pedal probably won't appeal to metal heads, as there is not enough of a mid scoop or gain on tap for Metallica or Pantera covers. But, if your thing is classic mid to high gain Marshall stack tones, then look no further, my friend.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    The Real Deal

    By Greg

    from The cold up north

    See all my reviews

    Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

    It's not an overdrive. It's not a fuzz. It's rough and raw, and by god, it sounds like the real deal! Play it through a tube amp really loud. It's the sound you've been looking for. And it's affordable.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Don't Get How This Isn't 5 Stars

    By Army Drummer

    from Washington, D.C.

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Build Quality
    • Compact Design
    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Responsive
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • Na

    Best Uses

      Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

      How is this pedal not a 5 star? It is amazingly versatile. The tone knob actually does something on this one. The crunch button gives your distortion a whole new color. It is based on an original DS-1 circuit, but it has been modded to sound even better. This pedal is an incredible value!

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great for classic rock , NOT Death Metal

      By Mad Mike-DpCJv

      from TN

      See all my reviews

      Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

      I demoed this against other distortion pedal in the store, but the real test is always at the gig! I also set up my rig at home running at gig volume for a few hours & really played with all of the features, here's what I came up with...
      First of all, the face that it has " '78" in the title should be a clue as to the tone it was designed to give...It does get pretty dirty, but more like an old Marshall Plex, not a super saturated, really high gain modern sound....if you were to Google some rock songs from the late 70's through the first couple of years in the 80's you'll get a better idea...
      I really like the pedal with a 3 of my guitars, a Tele, a Les Paul, and and Ibanez semi-hollow body with humbuckers.
      I also found that the crunch knob seemed to give a slight boost to the upper midrange, and smoothed out the clipping a bit.
      I run several other pedals, and this is pretty sweet when using my dyna comp and sometimes also kick in my "Wampler Paisley Drive", it'll really sing then!, but again, I really don't think it will cut it for drop C tuning, CHUGGA-CHUGGA-CHUGGA stuff...Line 6 makes a "UBER METAL" that lots of those types of players used to like at a music store I used to work at before.
      Journey, Foreigner, Pat Benetar, etc...this is the tone this thing puts out..
      I actually HATE where the power jack is (on the side), when using on a pedal board, it can interfere with the patch cable, but this is very minor...and watch the nut that holds the stomp switch, mine loosened up,and I caught in time, before I snapped the switch...they need to add a lock washer, but again, easily fixed.
      I don't think you can get a better value for the money FOR THE RIGHT APPLICATION!, DON'T get this & think you're going to get screaming death metal tones, it WON'T happen!

      (2 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Review

      By Anonymous

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

      Looks very nice! Sounds cheap. This pedal has the feel and sound of a cheap unit. I use plexi and jcm 800's with high end les pauls, so a decent pedal should sound decent thru my gear. I picked my '78 bad ass up at a local store but have sinse returned it. Any of the Boss pedals can easily keep up with this one. MXR invested a great deal of time and money into marketing this item and far less investment into building it. Its worth about what they are asking for it but don't kid your self - you get what you pay for. I recommend the Proco whiteface Rat reissue or something around that price range 150 - 250 bucks. MXR does have some good pedals but this isn't one of them. TC Electric is a good quality builder. Also check out Robert Keeley's web site for some good ones. These '78 bad ass units sound thin, gritty and fuzzy with very little range from low to high frequencies - kind of like a boss ds-1 with a dead battery.

      (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      The Pedal You've Been Waiting For

      By YayForGuitars

      from Washington, DC

      See all my reviews

      Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

      After I clicked the purchase button, I had that *gulp* feeling that maybe the promo vids, and gearmanndude's demo on youtube, etc. had duped me and that no way could it live up to my expectations. At my next rehearsal, my fears were wiped away as I bathed in the beautiful sound this thing produces. I run it in front of a '69 Fender Bassman and it absolutely sings. Just delicious. If you are thinking about an OCD or similar 3- or 4-knob distortion overdrive, I don't think you can do better for the money.
      Standard distortion box features, plus the "crunch" button, which actually does something cool.
      I don't normally give 10's, but this thing crushes. I have owned a few different overdrives and distortions (Ibanez TS9, Virtual Sound Jeckyll & Hyde, Fulltone OCD, Xotic BB Pre-amp, Fulltone Fulldrive) and this is the best one to my ear for rock to heavy rock. (I use the BB for more bluesy or brighter tones.)
      Try it in the store against boutique pedals costing 3x-4x as much.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      What A Pedal!

      By Josh Panos

      from South Carolina

      Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

      Buy it, you'll be glad you did!
      This pedal truly lives up to its name. The features aren't very wide on here. It's not that versatile, but, it does one thing really well. When you get all of your knobs right, it sounds just as good as it does in the videos.
      Built like a tank. The crunch button also sounds great.
      You're able to get so much out of no money at all. For 80 bucks, this is definitly impressive.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      works great as a lead switch in my setup

      By picklike60

      from pittsburgh,pa

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact Design
      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Responsive

      Cons

      • Limited Selection Of Effects

      Best Uses

      • Performances

      Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

      comp 2 ibanez tube screamer

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Better than some boutique options.

      By Dave

      from Salem, OR

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact Design
      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Responsive

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

          Had a JHS All American (rat variant) before this pedal. To be straight to the point, I like this pedal far better. My setup is a custom tele through a hand wired ac15

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          MXR '78 Distrortion

          By Laramie Hedrick

          from Ohio

          See all my reviews

          Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

          Again, its a well priced distortion pedal. There is nothing '78 about the sound, thats just marketing hype, so dont buy this pedal and expect to sound like Joe Perry. It does have just the slightest hint of warm vintage-ish sound. For my Boogie Single Recto combo, it gives it more chunk and less hiss then just the amps distortion alone. I have used 3 differant distortion pedals and they all do about the same thing. For the money and the quality though, if you are looking to suppliment your dirt for a slightly differant tone, you cant go wrong with this guy.
          Its simple. Output, tone and dirt. The tone knob takes your sound from warm almost fuzz-like distortion to full out hissing highs. The crunch button adds a nice gritty treble boost.
          Its MXR, they are build like Boogies.
          For the price, you are getting a great distortion pedal. It is however, just a distortion pedal, there are plenty of other pedals out there around the same price range that work and sound just as good, however the quality of MXR was my deciding factor on purchasing this particular pedal.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Not what I expected...

          By Donny Danger

          from Austin, TX y'all

          See all my reviews

          Ask me a question

          Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

          "Juicy" is the last word you would ever use to describe this pedal... after seeing the online demo I had high hopes, but trying it out in the store it had a very harsh sterile nasal "buzz-saw" sound and not a lot of gain... it's all about the "square-wave clipping diode" sound with no subtle shades of distortion to be had. The brushed red aluminum case is beautiful though... wish it sounded 1/2 as good as it looks.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          MXR '78 Custom Pedal

          By Strat-Thuei

          from Sylva, NC

          See all my reviews

          Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

          Havent had any trouble with this pedal, or any of my other MXR pedals, which fill up over half of my board. This thing is built like a tank, and i expect it to last a longgg time as my primary distortion.
          This pedal is simply amazing, I love everything about it
          The distortion you get out of this pedal sounds just as good as you get out of a huge Marshall tube stack. It sounds amazing, and it is soooo classic. Anything from Zeppelin, to Rush, this pedal covers it. Crunch button really adds flavor to the sound, and makes nice sustaining harmonics a breeze.
          Great pedal! Very good price too! Not to expensive for a high quality pedal

          (1 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          "The new juice box"

          By darth vader

          from Dallas,tx

          Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

          Overall, its a well made pedal that suits its name. The tone is not the most transparent, but pretty damn good in how they made it sound like a full stack. It has tonal abilities that can unanimously compliment your tone which you can push your rig to it's fullest.
          The crunch button really enhances an already enhanced circuit. It makes the pedal cleaner and brighter sooth-able for leads.
          It's a reissued classic tone that's not found in every pedal. This pedal fits its name. In a world where everyone wants a fat SRV tone, its approachable here. Typical guitarist will tend to view it as a regular sounding OD. But if you really compare it to two greats you can hear a DOD FX51 juice box (which only sounds good in a dirty amp at full volumes) and has tremendous power like a hot-rod-maxon OD808. Now, this isnt one of those dist boxes that are super smooth; dial in water tone you can think of (which is very typical, a immature/mature guitarist that wants one pedal to do everything). IT'S A COMPLEMENT DIST BOX. Not to mention if you have a CLEAN AMP In front of it. You can sure get nice tube shimmery stratocaster tones by tweaking your amp and this pedal. The crunch button is phenomenal if used right, don't be cliche and try dimeing the hell out of it, you'll get a thin fuzz sound.
          Let me see cool aluminum casing, unique distinct tone, and its price... yeah pretty much a steal.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          RIGHT DOWN MY ALLEY!!!

          By Foxymoronic

          from Houston, TX

          See all my reviews

          Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

          I play alot of classic rock and so the concept and name of this pedal drew me in right away. I have been using multiple OD pedals on my board as well as the lead channel on my Peavey Classic 50 to dial in the elevated crunch I need on certain songs my band does. The problem was there were two many variables between two OD boxes and the adjustments on the gain on my amp to get the consistent tone I wanted. Enter the MXR Custom '78. I've had distortion boxes before and all of them sounded to harsh to my ears - think "bees in a can" syndrome! I had a Keeley-modded Boss DS-1 that still was just too buzzy.This pedal is just right, even at the highest settings it gives a great hard, classic rock tone. Kick in a compressor and it do 80's hair metal really well, particularly if I engage my Boss GE7 with scooped mids. This bad boy now occupies my pedal board right beside my Bad Monkey O/D and allows me to run everything right into the preamp and not mess with the noise effects loop from using the lead channel on my amp. Very happy with this pedal!

          (1 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

           
          2.0

          Final verdict - It's a one trick pony

          By J blues

          from FL

          See all my reviews

          Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

          Overall: I have 6 other MXR pedals and they are all great... except this one This is the the first MXR that I almost sent back. I bought this based on my experience with my other MXR pedals, the online demos, and the cool sounding name (as I went to high school in the '70's.) and love the classic sounds of that era. I really wanted to like this pedal but after trying it with every combination of amps, guitars and other pedals I find not to be versatile at all.
          On the plus side it has- Great looks, does not color your sound, no unwanted noise even at high dist., LOTS of output, great pick attack. But '78 was a special year for me and this pedal just does not deliver on that name sake.
          Some people have reviewed it and love it, so maybe you will have better luck that I did.
          Best advice = Try before you buy

           
          5.0

          Great!

          By Tube Amp Player

          from Riverside, CA

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Excellent Sound Quality
          • Responsive

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Home Studio
            • Performances

            Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

            I use it often for Zz Top and rock and blues, and can't do without it. Super responsive and natural overdrive sounds. It is my favorite pedal next to my Wampler Plextortion. Go for it!

            Service and delivery comments:

            Musicians Friend is fantastic! Top notch and the best, because they want you to be happy. I have exchanged 2 damaged guitars with them. Their tech people are great also, because they found me the guitar pickups that I wanted, and it said that they were sold out online. Great company!

             
            5.0

            WOW Can I just say wow and end this review

            By Rexx Velvet

            from Fayetteville, AR

            About Me Professional Musician

            Pros

            • Compact Design
            • Excellent Sound Quality
            • Good Selection Of Effects
            • Responsive
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Amateur Recording
              • Home Studio
              • Performances
              • Professional Recording

              Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

              I got this for a very loud and very clean amp (at low volumes, at high volumes it breaks up nicely). I replaced another brand's VT911 OD stompbox. This thing is very versatile and makes the clean amp sound like a Marshall Plexi and I am not kidding. WOW this now is my best sounding amp with the '78 in front...taking over for the Micro terror which needs no pedals and a Marshall that is more like a toy that sounds very good but has way too many knobs and stuff. MXR got it right...mic drop "WOW"

               
              4.0

              This is a very good Distortion pedal.

              By Arbi

              from Elkins,West Virginia

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Excellent Sound Quality

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Events
                • Performances
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about MXR M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

                I playbablot of clasic rock. This pedal is awesome for my style of playing. This pedal lacks a little in gain so you will not be able to pull of leads that requires a lot of tapping. But what you do get is a great quality sound.

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