"It will be worth the wait": The design of MXR's still-in-development Randy Rhoads Distortion+ pedal has been revealed

Randy Rhoads performs with Ozzy Osbourne in Chicago, Illinois on January 24, 1982
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/WireImage/Getty Images)

Back in 2022, Kathy Rhoads D’Argenzio – the sister of late electric guitar hero Randy Rhoads – announced that the Rhoads family was working with MXR to create a Rhoads signature Distortion+ pedal.

At the time, the Rhoads family indicated that the pedal would be released in 2023. Though 2023 has now come and gone, Rhoads D’Argenzio has now offered an update, giving fans a first look at the still-in-development pedal.

“Here for the very first time, you can see the Randy Rhoads Distortion+,” Rhoads D’Argenzio wrote on Instagram last Sunday (January 7). “I personally got to design and choose every detail alongside Jimi Dunlop. I can't honestly say how proud I am of the finished results!”

Outfitted in a black-and-white polka dot finish – based on that found on Rhoads' iconic Karl Sandoval Flying V – the pedal was molded in part by MXR's extensive dissection of the guitarist's famous “chip pan” pedalboard, the first time in four decades that the 'board had been examined in detail.

Though the Rhoads Distortion+ didn't see the light of day in 2023, and won't – MXR and the Rhoads family confirmed – be revealed at the 2024 NAMM show later this month, players can expect to see it in a few months' time. 

“For those that have been patiently waiting and asking when its release will be, I have a personal statement from Jimi Dunlop himself,” Rhoads D’Argenzio wrote. “'Due to unforeseen circumstances the MXR Distortion+ 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.”

Though disappointed that the pedal wasn't ready for this year's NAMM, Rhoads D’Argenzio promises that it will be “epic“ and “worth the wait.”

Rhoads Distortion+ delays aside, MXR wasted no time kicking off its 2024 line of products, releasing the vintage-style rack unit-inspired Joshua Ambient Echo delay pedal last week. 

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.