Review: MXR EVH 5150 Chorus Pedal

(Image credit: MXR)

The first time I ever saw Van Halen live was back in 1988 at the Monsters of Rock Festival. It was a full-blown guitar player’s wet dream to be able to watch some of the most cutting-edge guitarists of the time, such as George Lynch from Dokken, Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs from the Scorpions, Kirk Hammett from Metallica — and of course, Van Halen — perform that day. And, more importantly, to hear whether these guitarists’ tones and chops lived up to their accolades. 

For the most part, no one disappointed, but it seemed as if everyone overcompensated with more volume and gain roaring from their Marshall and Mesa Boogie stacks. So by the time Van Halen (who were the headliners) hit the stage, what struck me most was that Eddie Van Halen’s tone was so noticeably different from the previous acts. It was unmistakably a chorused sound, with a wider intensity and clearer definition that was diametrically opposed to the analog chorus modulations of say, Andy Summers of the Police. Eddie’s tone was remarkably bigger and better, and even more precise, and he easily stood head and shoulders above every other guitar player that day with a sound that had more pleasing depth, which — as a byproduct — enhanced the gain blazing from his amp. 

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.