If you are one of those musicians who have yet to experience a Budda pedal – it’s cool, you’re not alone. Although the company’s name and reputation has certainly grown over their 15 years in the business, they remain better known for their boutique amplifiers (which is how they got their start) than their pedals which to this day tend to remain rather elusive. In fact, its first foray into the pedal business just happens to be the Budwah – a highly touted wah-wah pedal that owes its immaculate tone to the company’s backbone in amplifier construction, resulting in a product that has been tailored to work with an amp’s own response rather than for the pedal’s own performance. So, in a world filled with plenty of big name wah pedals from some of the best manufacturers in the business – from Dunlop’s classic Crybaby to the fan favorite Morley Bad Horsie – does the Budwah have enough to deserve your hard earned cash and a spot on that pedal board?
Like most wah pedals, the Budwah is pretty much as simple as it can get; simply plug your guitar into the input and your amp into the output. After that, all you do is fully depress it until it goes on/off. No knobs for volume or other crazy things they put on other, more elaborate (rarely a good thing) wah pedals these days. Why? Because it does what it's supposed to, and it does it well. In fact, even though I couldn’t find a manual in the box, I highly doubt you will even need one. There’s also no EQ or settings on the pedal, though I was able to get an excellent sound for funk, blues or classic rock with minimal EQ adjustments (basically, I just turned the tone knob down on my guitar).
On the build side of things, this pedal is as tough as they come – and looks just as good! Seriously, the Budwah’s overall construction and decals are top of the line and far from looking or feeling cheap. The rocker level feels sturdy and responsive; the chassis is rock-solid thanks to its die-cast construction; even the ribbed rubber grips are only placed in necessary locations (which is a good thing because that mild purple hue doesn’t exactly scream rock and roll). All in all, it’s a well-made, easy-to-use pedal that looks good but nowhere near over the top. That’s because it saves its best flair where it counts: the tone!
There’s good reason why the Budwah’s tone is highly regarded by veteran and newbie rockers alike. When you hear the pedal in action, it’s rather obvious that the manufacturer’s intention was to provide a more focused top-end to prevent the wah from being too nasal sounding. There’s also plenty of thick filtering without disruptive low end honk. This is definitely a plus, especially if you plan on using this pedal with some drive, distortion or fuzz in the mix. It sweeps smoothly from heel to toe-down when rocked slowly, and produces a funky gyrating swirl when you let your foot go in spasms on the treadle. The Budwah also excels in the clean department both with single coils and humbucker equipped guitars. You’ll also be glad to know that this pedal features true bypass so your sound won’t drastically clip once you have it set off and your guitar’s inherent tone and output will remain true.
Budda themselves claim that at the heart of the pedal is a custom designed inductor, based on the Fasel inductor (kind of like the godfather inductor of wah pedals), which was used by Vox and Dunlop to produce a more vocal-like 'holy grail' wah sound. While audiophiles should salivate at this little piece of technical jargon, suffice it to say that for those who are hunting for a traditional sounding wah with a preference for a little more clarity, the Budwah is might be exactly what you’re looking for.
All in all, the Budda Budwah is a great wah pedal worthy of your board – and with plenty of good looks to back it up! Players who are into immaculate wah tone would agree that it’s worth the investment. When fully depressed, the high roll off to a frequency that isn’t annoyingly piercing like you would find in many wahs. Better yet, the overall tone sweep accentuates a tight and focused range with outstanding vocal-like quality. When you put all of that together, it’s no wonder why Budda’s Budwah is a highly regarded pedal that is definitely worth every penny!
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