The wah wah pedal is used by guitarists to apply a special harmonic effect to the sound of an electric guitar. You probably knew that, but do you know how to select the right wah pedal from among the hundreds of models currently swarming the musical instrument market? Well, we are here to help you with that.
The first thing that you need to do before buying a wah pedal is, asking yourself what you need your wah pedal to do. Assuming that you are buying a wah pedal for your electric guitar, here are the points which must be considered before purchasing a wah pedal.
Wah wah pedal: What to look for?
- Single pressing or press and release type: If your song requires you to make quick adjustments to the tone while playing, then the single pressing type is what you need. With the press and release types you get one type of effect when you press, and when you release, the effect is cut off. With single step types, a second depression increases the intensity of the effects, resulting in different sounding music with each successive press of the pedal.
- Know your music type and desired size: The style of your music is what helps you choose the tight sized wah pedal.
- The number of built-in transistors: With more transistors, you get more effects from your wah pedal.
These three are the most decisive points when it comes to making an actual selection from among hundreds of wah pedals.
However, you will also need to pay attention to other factors such as – the structure and build quality, rubber feet on the base, company reputation and popularity in the music community, etc.
Signature wah pedals are specifically tuned to mimic the sound effects of certain popular guitarists. Just make sure that you can also create your own style, or else you will be stuck with another man’s playing style for the rest of your guitarist career.
Below is a list of the best wah wah pedals in the market right now.
Behringer Hellbabe HB01Pro: Well built, pedal sweep control for frequency
Con: Lacks preset modes
This is an extremely affordable, yet very well constructed wah wah pedal. Packed with tons of features for the price. Its heel-down range control lets you sweep the lower frequencies from 440 Hz, all the way down to 250 Hz. This makes the HB01 an excellent wah pedal for bass, for and heavy-sounding effects on your guitar. It is not all about the lows though, since the Hell Babe also features a FINE control, which lets you adjust the frequency sweep for super high frequencies, all the way up to 2.2 KHz. Since the entire unit is fully controlled by optics and does not include any mechanical pots or switches, the lifespan is greatly extended.
Rocktron Classic Wah PedalPro: Classic sound effects
Con: Complicated controls
If you want a large sized wah pedal with a classic touch, then the Roktron Classic might be the right pedal for you. It is supported by a heavy duty metal chassis and includes a tension adjustment unit for the pedal, which means that you can control how much feedback you get from the pedal and can set the actuation force to be lower or higher depending on your requirement. There is an easy access battery compartment which makes swapping out batteries in the middle of a gig much easier than before. With this pedal you’ll get a wide tonal range, along with a nice classic “screaming” effect with your guitar solos.
Vox V845 Classic Wah Wah PedalPro: Tough aluminum housing
Con: Lacks multiple operating modes
Coming in an all-black finish, this is the best cheap wah pedal that Vox has to offer, yet it does not skimp on any essential features. It features an external die-cast aluminum housing which greatly increases durability and prevents wear and tear over time due to rusting. This pedal is based on the specifications of the original Vox that was created way back in the 60’s, and has some really unique sound characteristics. It allows you to generate low hums, as well as ear shattering sonic booms. Or you can choose to mix stuff up and get that unique “crying” sound from your guitar.
Dunlop GCB95 Wah WahPro: Classic sound quality, 100 Kilo Ohm impedance
Con: Wide wah sweep
The original Cry Baby from Dunlop is a timeless classic that has graced the feet of several renowned guitarists such as Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, etc. It features a heavy die cast construction that will last for decades, a rugged 100 K Ohm Hot Potz potentiometer, and is powered by a DC adapter or a single 9 V battery. The high impedance input potentiometer allows you to achieve that sudden, abrupt wah sound that was made famous by the rock music of the 60’s and 70’s. Tone down gives extra treble, heel down gives extra bass. You can also boost a certain frequency by holding the pedal steady in one position, which will add sustain and create a desirable overtone.
BBE Wah Class A Vintage 1967 Wah Wah PedalPro: Vintage crying effect, Q control knob
Con: Limited usage scenarios
The BBE Wah Class-A Vintage pedal is all about getting those classic rock and roll effects that used to be extremely popular back in the 60’s era. The “Q” control knob lets you adjust the sweep of the frequency response by controlling the filter circuits. A hardwired bypassing mechanism keeps the signal path clean and minimizes undesired noise. BBE custom engineered the Halo inductor to recreate the highly powerful tones that were made famous by the legends Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. All components are hand wired to ensure authentic vintage quality and a high degree of precision.
Morley VAI-2 Contour WahPro: Deep bass, true bypass mode
Con: Sounds too digital
With its unique switch-free design and dual foot triggered wah modes, the Morley VAI-2 Contour is an incredibly versatile and very easy to operate wah wah pedal. The Clear Tone buffer circuit ensures authentic bass and deep, natural guitar tones, and you also get consistent signal levels thanks to the bypass and wah mode. Just step on to engage wah mode, and step off to engage the bypass. In contour mode, there are two knobs that let you adjust the frequency and power level of the wah. The power can be supplied through a DC adapter or you can use the easy to access rear hatch to pop in a 9 V battery.
Ibanez WD7 Weeping Demon Wah PedalPro: Interchangeable effects, lots of tuning options
Con: Complicated operation
The Weeping Demon is a complete special effects station packed into a wah pedal. Its range switch lets you swing between both low, as well as high frequency response to create the effect that you wish. If you want even further frequency control, then the range fine tuning will let you precision-tune the range of frequency. The pedal also has an auto wah setting that lets you change the operation mode with the help of a switch. You can select automatic effect off when the pedal returns to its original position, or set a delayed off by turning the control knob. The pedal footboard spring tension can be adjusted in auto-switch mode, to make it feel loose or tight depending on your preferences.
MXR MC404 CAE Dual Indicator Wah WahPro: Sounds like true analog, very versatile
Con: No presets
The MXR MC404 CAE wah pedal is a modern age guitar effect pedal that is designed to deliver the best possible experience to users without sacrificing on sound quality or build. It can deliver vintage sounds as well as modern electronic sounds, a feature you will not find in most vintage wah pedals which force you to play in a certain style. This pedal however, is built to play the way you want it to, and it can generate unique, crisp, and noise-free output, without sounding too digital. The tension can be easily adjusted and the entire unit is enclosed inside a sturdy metal case for maximum durability.
Fulltone Clyde Deluxe WahPro: 3 different preset playing modes, 10-step input control
Con: A bit noisy
Let’s say you want the absolute best wah wah pedal in terms of raw customizability and features, and money is not a problem. Well then, the Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah is there for you. Sporting a 10-step variable input level control, true bypass for clean signal paths, side-mounted pilot light status LED, and 3 selectable playing modes, the Deluxe is loaded with everything that a great wah pedal should have. The three pre-configured playing modes are – Wacked, Jimi, and Shaft. Wacked sound abrupt and full of sharp peaks, Jimi is designed to mimic Hendrix’s unique playing style, and Shaft delivers deep, satisfying bass.