Best wah pedals
When it comes to guitar accessories, you can take your pick. There are so many ways to improve or change your sound that is impossible to use them all. However, one of the most common guitar accessories is the wah pedal. It is also known as a wah-wah pedal, and it first came out about the same time the electric guitar did. The 60s were a great age for guitar, and the wah pedal changed the game, so to speak.
What is a wah pedal?
As I mentioned above, guitar effects have been around for quite some time now, and the 60s were characterized by sound experiments. Since the rapid development of electronics, results such as the wah pedal came into existence at a fast rate. Just so you know, the wah pedal was one of the first discoveries as far as guitar effects are concerned, and we still use them today almost on a daily basis. While players are very familiar with the device, what actually is a wah pedal?
A brief history of the wah pedal
To get a clearer picture, the wah pedal makes the crying, weeping tone that somewhat resembles the human voice. The effect is similar to that of trumpet players who used their hats to cover the bell of their trumpets to create the ‘wah’ effect. However, that was the 1920s, and the wah pedal was far more advanced when it first came out.
For your information, the wah pedal came into existence by accident. Obviously, it was a happy one. The developers were working on a solid state amp for the Beatles. One of them, a junior developer, made a circuit that created strange audible effects. However, they liked the sound and started working on that. The name on the patent is ‘foot controlled continuously variable preference circuit for music instruments.’ As you can imagine, that did not stick, and the term of ‘wah pedal’ was used.
So, again, what is a wah pedal?
I have to admit that I got caught in details and history. A wah pedal is some sort of filter. Thee are many types of audio filters. I do not want to get too technical because I do not want to confuse anybody. Basically, the wah pedal features something that is a band pass filter. It lets the audio from a set frequency band past, and at the same time, it filters out the frequencies above and below. If you do not understand that, it is entirely understandable, especially if you are just a beginner.
The wah has a resonant peak at the upper cut-off frequency, and the rocker pedal mechanism that is connected to a potentiometer simply sweeps the audible band of audio. The result is the ability to change from closed ‘wwww’ sounds to open the ‘aaahhh’ sounds. Hence the wah pedal name.
One of the best things about a wah pedal is that it gives you an extra means of expression as a guitar player. It is not a device that you just turn on and off whenever you need to, but it is treated more as an extension of the instrument. You can push the pedal whenever you feel the time is right. While using a wah pedal is something you need to learn, using it is not a must at a particular given time. It is more of a feeling rather than a necessity.
What do you need to consider when buying the best wah pedal?
The answer to that question revolves around what you want in a wah pedal. They are not all alike. In fact, there are several models, which can make your task a bit challenging. You need to decide whether you want a classic wah pedal or do you want a unique tone and flexibility? How many times are you going to use the device? Do you need a model that tweaks or you want a plug and play model? All of these are questions that require an answer and depending on the answer, you can buy the best wah pedal for you.
There are other factors to consider as well. If you have no idea what those are, take a look at the list below:
- Simplicity – do you want a pedal that has multiple features or you would like a wah with no frills just for a good tone? Lucky for you, you can have both because there are models that can be adjusted. They are a bit expensive though. While in most cases we use the rule of the thumb that says the more, the merrier, when it comes to a wah pedal, there is such thing as too much. Keep it simple, especially if you are a beginner.
- Value – how much are you willing to spend on a wah pedal? You have where to take your pick from. A decent wah pedal will never be cheaper than $40, but there are some models that can make you a few hundreds of bucks poorer. It depends on your budget, but do not go on thinking that you must spend much money on a wah pedal. Simple models are quite affordable.
- Flexibility – how do you want to use the wah pedal? Do you want to tweak your tone for different settings? Is adjustability something you are after? If yes, you can make a choice based on that. I find that simplicity is better, but tastes are subjective, so it is more a matter of preference. The decision is yours.
Get started on learning
While the wah pedal is a simple accessory, you need to learn how to use it. If you practice enough, you will reach a point in which you will ignore the general rules and create your own sound. However, that will take a while. You need to start with some basic exercises that can help you improve your coordination. If you have not learned to use your arms and leg at the same time, it is time that you do.
For a more advanced knowledge, you can take classes on guitar effects. The wah pedal will be in there as well. And even if you know how to use a wah pedal, it can never hurt to take a class to improve your position and where to place the pedal so that you can take full advantage of it.
What are the best wah pedals?
If you decided that you want to try a wah pedal, you need to be very careful which model you choose. There are too many of them for you to make a random decision, which is why my advice is to always read the specifications before you hit the buy button. Reading some wah pedals reviews online can also be of much help because other people who have already bought a particular pedal can tell you whether or not it functions as advertised. You may not know how to make the right choice, but at least you will find out what the bad ones are. In the meantime, take a look at the wah pedals presented below. Maybe you will like and purchase one of them.
Vox V845 Classic Wah Wah Pedal
The first product on my radar was and still is the Vox V845. Just as the title suggests, it is a classic model, which makes it simple. Even so, it is ideal for both beginners and advanced guitar players. This particular model kept the spirit and the tone of the very first models that came out in the 60s. But players today still love it, and so will you.
This model is a highly durable wah pedal. It is made to withstand a lot of abuse, which is often the case if you are on the road. It features a sturdy yet lightweight die-cast aluminum housing, just like the ones in 1960 used to have. Even the specifications are based on the older Vox model. You could say that this pedal is authentic, although it costs a little under $70.
To put it simply, the Vox V845 provides the legendary wah-wah tone, but it comes in a sturdy and affordable design. The fitted AC power connector saves on batteries, and the outer case has a tough black finish. It is ideal for your pedal board. I am sure you are going to love it just as much as the other thousands of buyers.
Jim Dunlop GCB 95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effect Pedal
I am sure you have heard of Dunlop before. If you have not, I can take a wild guess and say that you are an absolute beginner in this whole guitar business. However, this is based on the original wah, and it is a standard in the music industry. It has a rugged construction and a very efficient design. This model has stood at the feet of legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy, Guy, David Gilmour, and many others.
While this is an authentic wah pedal, you still get to enjoy a pinch of versatility. You can apply the CryBaby effect with a gentle push. At the same time, a toe down gives you more treble, and the heel down gives you more bass. Your playing style determines the speed and the amount of the wah effect. You will get the hang of it pretty quickly.
The Dunlop GCB model has a heavy-duty, die-cast construction that ensures years of service. You can take it on the road, and it will survive the abuse. It boasts a 100K ohm Hot Potz potentiometer that is built to last and provides a quick and abrupt wah sound. It can run on a 9V battery, or you can power it with an AC adapter.
Sonicake Volwah Active Volume Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Last but not least, the Sonicake model is ideal for people who are looking for a more affordable solution. This is the cheapest model of all three of them, and it is the best wah pedal at this price. You go any lower than that, and you will get yourself a cheap and unreliable model that you need to throw out in a few months. This, however, is as low as you can go and still enjoy some excellent quality.
The Sonicake wah pedal has a purely analog circuit design that combines an active volume and a vintage wah in a single mini-pedal. It is compact, which can be good news for your already busy pedal board. The volume part of the wah pedal is an active circuit, but that can save you some trouble of impedance mismatch issues. The wah effect of the pedal is inspired by the original Crybaby style sound. It is both dynamic and responsive.
This time, the wah pedal is made of hard plastic. Aluminum is more expensive, so if you want a cheaper model, hard plastic is the best you can get. The product comes with a lightweight casing, but well enough built. The LED lights let you know the working state of the pedal. This model works on 9V DC (negative in the center).
All three products will satisfy your needs whether you are a beginner or an advanced player. However, if I were you, I would go with the Jim Dunlop GCB 95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effect Pedal. This is the same model that stood at the feet of legends, so you know that is worth a lot more than it actually costs. I think it is one of the best wah pedals you can buy.
If you want to experiment with guitar effects, a wah pedal is a great way to start. It improves your coordination and your sound at the same time. I am sure that no matter which of the products you purchase, you will be satisfied with your decision. Rock on! Click here to buy on Amazon
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