The wah-wah is easily one of the most popular effects in music, right up there with distortion and delay, used by guitarists in nearly every genre. Whether its the funky wacka-wacka sound it splashes on the rhythm or that very noticeable scream when used with solos, the wah has been a part of the guitar's arsenal for decades and can be heard just as prominently on blues records as in metal. And seeing as how widespread the wah effect is, it can be hard for even a great wah to stand out. Below are just a few wahs to check out.
If we were to simply list the names of all the artists that have used Dunlop’s Crybaby, it would look much like a variable who’s who of electric guitar - not to mention very, very long. With so many users, it's no wonder the Crybaby line are the best-selling pedals in the world. If you're looking for that signature wah-wah sound on the 60s, look no further than the Crybaby Classic, made with the same Italian-made Fasel inductor as the original. Based on the Thomas Organ/Vox "Cry Baby" Wah (the same used by Jimi Hendrix), Dunlop's version went on to surpass all other wahs thanks to its great build, unmatched popularity and a classic, defining sound.
The XW-1 Wah pedal is based one of the earliest and most influential wahs around: the 1967-1968 Italian-built Clyde McCoy wah, a pedal that inspired countless imitators soon after its release. Building on the original it drew its basis from, Xotic managed to make a great pedal even better, packing an impressive amount of versatility thanks to the XW-1's unique controls that help shape and contour sound. The adjustability and flexibility of the Xotic Wah makes this one of the most adaptable wah pedals available today, perfect for creative guitarists who love pedals with countless tonal possibilities.
Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett is well known for his blistering, screaming solos created in-part from his aggressive use of the wah. While Hammett himself uses Dunlop’s Crybaby Rack Wah to carve his work, those not wanting to spend over half a grand can attain that signature sound with the much more affordable KH-95 Crybaby Wah. Hammett personally worked closely with Dunlop to get all the specifics just right, taking all of his EQ, volume and tone settings into account while creating this signature pedal. Known for its thick top end and full dynamic range, the KH-95 is no-brainer for players looking for a wah pedal that can deliver solos that scream like a banshee!
Based on a 1967 Class A circuit design that features a unique Halo inductor, the BBE Wah features classic tone and all hand-wired components for a pedal that aims to deliver nothing less than vintage authenticity. For the BBE Wah, the company re-engineered and custom-tuned the Halo inductor and potentiometer to re-create the well-known and expressive tones made famous by players like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn, while adding a Harmony control in order to help fine tune the pedals Q/peak response.
If space on your pedalboard is as important to you as tone, Dunlop's Crybaby Mini is the best of both worlds. At only half the size of a standard Crybaby, the CBM95 is a perfect blend of size and usability without sacrificing the tone that made the Crybaby brand a legend. The Crybaby Mini comes equipped with the same signature Fasel inductor as the Classic, a full sweep range, and three internally adjustable voicings—Low, Vintage, and GCB95. It also features true bypass switching and high quality hardware so it can take whatever you throw at it and then some!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What's your personal favorite wah-wah pedal or pedals and why?