Maxon Effects

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IndustryConsumer electronics
Founded1965; 54 years ago (1965)
HeadquartersTokyo, Japan
Productseffects pedals,
ParentNisshin Onpa
A Maxon pedal

Maxon is the name used by the Nisshin Onpa company of Japan for its line of effects pedals designed for guitar and bass. The unrelated Maxon Corporation is a major global supplier of industrial heating equipment [1].


Maxon (Nisshin Onpa) started out in the mid 1960s as a guitar pickup manufacturer. In 1969 they also became an effects pedal manufacturer, primarily as a producer of OEM products for other companies. During that time Nisshin Onpa was responsible for building a fuzz-wah pedal that was very popular, being marketed under a multitude of trade names including Ibanez. During the 1970s Ibanez became one of the company's main OEM customers. Nisshin Onpa designed and manufactured the now legendary TS-808/TS808 and TS9 Tube Screamers for Ibanez, and many other models, including the FL9 Flanger, CS9 Chorus, and AD9 Analog Delay. Nisshin Onpa also marketed its pedals under its own Maxon name during this time. When Nisshin Onpa and Ibanez parted ways in 2002, Nisshin Onpa began to more aggressively market its own line of Maxon pedals. Repositioning itself as a manufacturer of high-end mass-produced effects, Maxon expanded its line of analog pedals, using rare NOS components and classic circuit designs that are to this day highly respected and sought after.

Maxon continues to expand its product line. Although they produced digital delays and reverbs during the 1980s and '90s, they now concentrate mostly on "hard-to-find elsewhere" vintage type effects such as analog delays, analog choruses and flangers, and classic overdrive and distortion units. Most of the old Ibanez Nine Series is available in Maxon form these days, but the Maxon pedals now include true-bypass switching and circuitry equal to or in many cases superior to the Ibanez originals. The company prides itself on a reputation of quality over quantity.

Maxon's big break came when they began building the Ibanez Tube Screamers. Ibanez Tube Screamers were built by Maxon from 1974 until 2002. If you take the cover off any Ibanez TS-808/TS808 or TS9, and other Ibanez pedals from this period, the Maxon name will appear on the circuit board. These Maxon manufactured Ibanez pedals became famous through users such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Carlos Santana and Gary Moore, amongst many other famous users. Ibanez still make these classic pedals but using different circuitry, thus losing some of the classic Tube Screamer tone, hence the Maxon models are so sought after. Maxon still makes these pedals today under their own company name (called Overdrives: the OD-808 and OD-9 as opposed to Tube Screamer, TS). However, supply of these pedals is very short and because of this, the Maxon pedals using the original Tube Screamer circuitry are little known and often overlooked. Currently, Maxon manufacture around 23 effects pedals for guitars.

Video of the Maxon PT999 Phase Tone phaser pedal.


Nisshin Onpa has manufactured pickups for Aria, Ibanez and Greco guitars. The Ibanez "Super 70" and "Super 58" pickups and also the Greco "UD", "U-1000", "U-2000", "PU-x" and "Dry Z" pickups were made by Nisshin Onpa.

Pickup Serial Numbers[edit]

Ibanez and Greco Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup serial number format consisting of 5 numbers up to and including 1977. Ibanez Super 70 pickups have the same serial number format.

  • First number = Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup code (1, 2, etc.)
  • Second number = Year (7=1977)
  • Third number = Month (0=Jan ... 9=Oct then .=Nov, X=Dec)
  • Fourth and Fifth number = Day of Month (01-31)

Ibanez and Greco Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup serial number format consisting of 6 numbers from 1977 to 1982.

  • First number = Nisshin Onpa (Maxon) pickup code (1, 2, etc.)
  • Second number = Year (9=1979)
  • Third and Fourth number = Month (01=Jan ... 12=Dec)
  • Fifth and sixth number = Day of Month (01-31)

Ibanez "Super 70" and Greco "U-1000" pickups had an alnico VIII magnet. Greco "U-2000" and "PU-x" pickups had an alnico V magnet. Ibanez "Super 58" and Greco "Dry-Z" pickups had an alnico III magnet. Ibanez "Super 80" pickups had a ceramic magnet. All of the above pickups DC resistance is approximately 7.5-8.0 kilohms.


On its website, Maxon claims several firsts in the effects pedal industry: the first realistic tube amp overdrive, the first compact analogue delay, the first programmable effect, and the first multi effect unit.

Current products[edit]

Reissue series[edit]

  • D&S II Distortion/Sustainer
  • PT999 Phase Tone
  • CP101 Compressor
  • D&S Distortion/Sustainer
  • GE601 Graphic Equalizer
  • OD808 Overdrive

Vintage series[edit]

  • AD-999 Analog Delay
  • AD-999 Pro Analog Delay (Tape Echo simulation)
  • CS-550 Stereo Chorus
  • DS-830 Distortion Master
  • OD-820 Overdrive Pro
  • PH-350 Rotary Phaser

Nine series[edit]

  • AD-9 Pro Analog Delay (Tape Echo simulation)
  • AF-9 Auto Filter
  • CP-9 Pro+ Compressor
  • CS-9 Stereo Chorus Pro
  • FL-9 Flanger
  • OD-9 Overdrive
  • OD-9 Pro+ Overdrive
  • OOD-9 Organic Overdrive
  • OSD-9 Overdrive/Soft Distortion
  • PT-9 Pro+ Phase Shifter
  • SD-9 Sonic Distortion
  • VOP-9 Vintage Overdrive Pro
  • SM-9 Super Metal 9 distortion
  • PAC-9 Pure Analog Chorus

Real Tube series[edit]

  • RCP 660 Real Compressor
  • ROD 880 Real Overdrive
  • ROD 881 Real Overdrive/Distortion

Compact series[edit]

  • ASC10 Ambient Stereo Chorus
  • AD10 Analog Delay
  • DB10 Dual Booster

Current famous users[edit]

Although Maxon pedals are often overlooked by guitarists for the Ibanez models, there are still artists using them. These include: