“Hang tight everyone. It’s gonna be epic!” MXR’s Randy Rhoads signature Distortion+ pedal has finally been revealed – but it won’t be ready for NAMM

Randy Rhoads and his chip pan pedalboard
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The eagerly awaited release of the new Randy Rhoads signature MXR Distortion+ pedal has been delayed until mid-spring. That means the pedal won’t be present at NAMM 2024, but Kathy Rhoads assures fans it will “be worth the wait.”

News of the delay was revealed by Rhoads' sister via an Instagram post, but she's softened the blow by offering our first glimpse at the pedal. It sees the iconic black and white polka dot design synonymous with the late Ozzy Osbourne guitarist making a return on both the pedal's enclosure and box, while his signature appears on the pedal itself.

It was revealed in 2022 that Kathy Rhoads and MXR had been working together on the pedal "for quite some time". The project has seen MXR's pedal surgeons dissecting the guitarist's legendary "chip pan" pedalboard for the first time in 40 years as part of the pedal's research and development. 

Now Kathy has unveiled the design of the distortion pedal for the first time. Posting on Instagram, she says: “I personally got to design and choose every detail alongside Jimi Dunlop. I can honestly say how proud I am of the finished results!

“I am sad it wasn’t released at NAMM this year,” she adds, “but know it will be worth the wait.”

Her post also includes a statement from Jim Dunlop on the pedal’s delay, which reads: “Due to unforeseen circumstances the MXR Distribution+ is delayed until mid-spring. We know a lot of you are excited about this release and wanted to keep you updated. We want to dial it in just right, and we appreciate your patience for just a bit longer.”

Of MXR’s time with the pedalboard, a post from Kathy Rhoads on back in December 2022 stated: “Jimmy [Dunlop] and his team recently came down to check out Randy’s pedalboard. For the first time in over 40 years it was intricately examined, filmed, recorded and documented at Musonia. They have patiently awaited its return from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Randy always referred to it as 'the chip pan!')"

Central to the freshly-inspected pedalboard was an MXR Distortion+ pedal, which played a pivotal role in shaping his iconic sound, heard across Randy's much-too-short Ozzy Osbourne discography.

Much about the 'board has been shrouded in mystery. After it was ogled by MXR's researchers, Kathy Rhoads said it was returned to a "secured location," and not the music school and Randy Rhoads museum, Musonia, located in North Hollywood, California. Musonia was founded by the guitarist's mother, Delores. 

The change of tact is likely to have been made in light of a 2019 robbery, when thieves broke into Musonia and stole several instruments, photos and memorabilia. Thankfully, all the missing items were eventually retrieved and returned to the Rhoads family

A nosey in the comments section of Kathy Rhoads’ latest post also reveals that former Machine Head guitarist and Randy Rhoads fanatic Phil Demmel was involved in the pedal’s creation. His comment reads: “Proud to have played a very small part in this. So happy to see it happening.”

It’s unknown what role exactly he played, but we’ll now have to wait until mid-spring to find out the full story, as well as finally getting to see what footage of the 'board was captured on the day.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.