Why You Need a Wah Pedal, Plus Our Top Picks

A wah pedal is a sweeping filter that puts more weight on some frequencies and less on others. It is similar to working the normal tone control on a pedal or electric guitar. However, the "wah" sound, for which the pedal is known, is made by changing the frequency response quickly and dramatically. 

Interestingly, trumpet and trombone players were the first to use the "wah-wah" effect. They did this by quickly moving a rubber mute in and out of the bell. Even though wah pedals are most often used in “funkier” songs, they can be very useful in various musical genres.

You can also use the wah as an equalizer. Leaving the foot pedal in a specific position can give your guitar a nasal and sharp tone that is good for cutting through the mix.   

Leaving it in the opposite position can give your guitar a smoother and more understated sound. That guitar effect is great for rhythm playing. You won’t be pressing on and picking the guitar strings anymore; you’ll start to string through your guitar. Aside from solos, wah-wah is used in many ways in rhythm sections. In this article, you will see detailed descriptions of the best wah pedals available for you, so let’s start.wah pedal

Best Wah Pedals Available

When buying the best wah pedal, the “sweet spot” is the most important thing to consider. The “sweet spot” of a wah pedal is the range of sounds you can get between very bassy, muddy, bright, and sharp. Before shopping for a wah, it's good to know what you like, or at least make sure you buy an adjustable wah that can make the sound you desire.

1. Donner Mini Auto Wah Pedal Dynamic Wah

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02/18/2024 06:23 am GMT

The Auto Wah pedal from Donner Company is called the Dynamic Wah. It is also an expression pedal with an analog circuit. The aluminum alloy stomp box has a very good wah effect, and this pedal is wonderful. The envelope filter is accurate, fully controllable, has a unique decay control, and tracks quickly. This clever circuit makes it possible for the envelope to be very responsive, even when played quickly. Four knobs control the functions: SENS, RES, DECAY, and RANGE. SENS is used to change how sensitive something is. RES is used to control how sharp the filter is. DECAY controls how quickly the filter's frequency returns to its starting point. Finally, RANGE is used to control the frequency range of the filter.

To make your music tone, you must control three knobs, and choose the model you want. Then, have fun with your own bright life. As you can see, Dynamic Wah has a classic mini design with black "Clock Hand" knobs, a beautiful LOGO design, and a classic aluminum alloy box that is very stable and strong. The LED indicator shows what's going on. When the effect is turned off, the true bypass switch lets your instrument's signal go through a non-electronic bypass line, so your amp gets a direct signal from your instrument that hasn't been changed.

Donner Mini Auto Wah Pedal Dynamic Wah

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

2. Cry Baby GCB95 Standard Wah

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02/18/2024 07:03 am GMT

For a long time, the Cry Baby was the wah pedal everyone else tried to copy. Many musicians have used it over the years, and it is still going strong today. Cry Baby still sounds as good as it did when it first came out. Like many others, it was based on the early Vox wah, but the pedal was the one that got the sound the closest. Cry Baby changed the sound in many ways, making it stand out as an iconic pedal. It is ready for the road, and can take a few bumps, which it has probably done over the years. Cry Baby is made to work well and last a long time!

Push down for treble, back for bass, and in between for all the other tones. Today, the rack and pinion connections are better than before. It's easy to use, and makes that sound, as everyone knows. Cry Baby is no longer as popular as it used to be because other pedals offer a wider range of tones. It also doesn't have too many bells and whistles, but that was never the point of this pedal, and it still isn't. Cry Baby is just a simple wah pedal

Cry Baby GCB95 Standard Wah

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

3. Vox V845 Classic Wah

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02/18/2024 07:23 am GMT

The housing of the Vox V845 Classic Wah Pedal is made of die-cast aluminum, just like the housings of the original VOX wah-wah pedals from the 1960s. The housing is both sturdy and lightweight. The parameters of the pedal Vox produced for the first time in the 1960s can be used as the basis. The V845 should be among your top possibilities for a new strong design that is extremely reasonable, if you consider adding those old-school wah-wah sounds to your guitar tone. The V845 should be among your top choices if this is the case!

During the 1960s, VOX developed the world's first Wah-Wah effect to enable guitarists to replicate the sound of a trumpet being muted. The trumpet was a popular sound in popular music at the time. As a result, the first wah-wah pedal soon achieved widespread appeal. Since then, its one-of-a-kind sonic characteristics have inspired further exploration of the wah-wah effect among guitarists.

Vox V845 Classic Wah

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4. Sonicake Auto Wah Pedal

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02/18/2024 07:28 am GMT

Picking Dynamics one hundred percent analog Envelope Filter/Auto Wah Pedal is available now. It is developed specifically as a guitar and bass effects pedal. The pedal is both quick and precise, putting down some tracks on the auto-wah guitar pedal. You’ll get a wide range, funky tone shaping on the guitar effects pedal with 4 useful knobs. The Auto Wah Pedal’s True Bypass Footswitch ensures that the signal path remains uncontaminated. For the Guitar Wah Pedal, it works with 9V Center Negative Regular Pedal Power Supply (not included). Cry-Bot is an effect pedal that emulates a traditional humanizing envelope filter wah. It is completely analog, including a true bypass.

Cry-Bot provides tracking of the dynamics of your picking that is very quick and highly precise. PRESS (the amount of pressure applied), SENSE (the sensitivity of the filter), FREQ (the frequency range of the filter), and DECAY (brightness of the filter). Cry-Bot also has a zinc-alloy die-cast housing designed to withstand wear and tear, a heavy-duty metal footswitch, and an on/off status LED. 

Sonicake Auto Wah Pedal

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

5. Flamma FC11 Auto Wah Pedal

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02/18/2024 07:40 am GMT

The FC11 Envelope Filter pedal from Flamma Innovation is a small pedal with a strong envelope filter, that is changed to make auto-wah effects. The FC11 is unique because it has a pure analog circuit that gives it a warm and natural effect. With its many knob controls, the FC11 can be set up to work with either a guitar or a bass. The Sensitivity, Tone, Decay, and Q knobs are used to change the tone to fit a wide range of styles. True bypass is also built in to keep the signal from getting worse when the pedal is turned off. The FC11 is made of metal, and has one of the smallest footprints on the market, so it can fit on any pedalboard

The guitar pedal is a classic envelope filter wah- an effects pedal. A wah is an important part of rock and roll history. It adds more movement and spark to your single notes, making you stand out in any mix. The controls are simple and easy to use. Choose a parameter, and turn the knobs to adjust it to get the wah effects you want. You can adjust the response to fit the way you play, from quick staccato leads, to chordal swells. The pedal is made entirely of metal, which makes it last longer. The pedal’s bright color and full size give it a lot of energy, and make it easy to carry and travel. It will give your shows and performances more room for change. 

Flamma FC11 Auto Wah Pedal

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

6. Donner Wah Vowel 2 in 1 Wah Pedal Mini

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02/18/2024 07:43 am GMT

The Volume/Wah pedal from Donner is called Vowel. It has an analog circuit design, and does both volume and wah. The whole hard plastic little stomp box has Volume/Wah effects; it is very strong and light, which is helpful for a guitar player. Now you don't need to go to play with a heavy pedal that only has volume mode or just expression mode. It will play by just plugging it in. When you press the footswitch, you can switch between wah mode and volume mode. The Green LED mode is volume, and the Red LED mode is a wah. In wah mode, the response is the original Cry Baby's response. You can hear the wah's classic vocal sweep and lush harmonics when you press it.

In the volume mode, Donner made a special active circuit that keeps every sound detail. As a result, the Vowel could meet the guitarist's strict requirements as a volume pedal. As you can see, the Vowel has a great name design: a red body and a great LOGO design. It has a good wah response, good volume function, and only takes up a small amount of space. It is much shorter than a regular wah or volume pedal. The case is formed of plastic, both light and strong. Enjoy your own music life, which is full of fun and color.

Donner Wah Vowel 2 in 1 Wah Pedal Mini

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

7. Joyo Wah-ii Classic and Multifunctional Wah Pedal

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02/18/2024 07:53 am GMT

The JOYO Multimode Wah is a multipurpose wah pedal that features both the "WAH-WAH" and the "Volume" function. With a wah sound Q value knob, you may ensure that the sound can alter from tight and crisp, to smooth and wide. There are 6 different WAH-WAH frequency ranges available for a wide variety of tones to accommodate different types of music. Its RM shielded inductance is built specifically for WAH-WAH tone, which guarantees that it will have an excellent tone. In addition, an active volume control circuit design ensures there will be little signal loss while maintaining the signal's integrity.

The wah-wah /volume, wah-wah /bypass toggle switches, and the minimum volume control knob make it simple to operate. The pedal is lightweight, portable, and takes up less room on the pedal board. The company will develop, and update the product in response to the loyal customer’s comprehensive and constructive comments. These improvements and upgrades will come in addition to the JF, Ironman, and R series of effect pedals already in production. It has a classic, solid, and robust casing made entirely of aluminum alloy and flashing LED indicators on both sides to display the device's operational status.

Joyo Wah-ii Classic and Multifunctional Wah Pedal

Photo source: Amazon.com

 

Creative Ways To Use a Wah Pedal

The only thing to be aware of is that most electric guitar wahs are band-pass filters, but some bass wahs are set up as low-pass filters. They keep the bass frequencies the same no matter where they are set. Here are some creative ideas for how to use your wah pedal well. Even though each wah pedal sounds different, these tricks will work with the Cry Baby, the Morley, and the Vox. Depending on the model of Morley, you might need to boost the treble a bit on the input.

Heel Down

It is less common, and there aren't many songs where a guitarist keeps their heel down for more than a short passage. Nonetheless, leaving the pedal in this position removes a lot of the treble, and brings out certain lower-mid resonances. However, it can sound scary, or like it's being played underwater, especially when small movements are made to bring back the treble temporarily.

The intro to Soundgarden's song "Boot Camp," on their album Down on the Upside is a good example. The clean guitars sound dark and scary, not just because of the notes they play, but also because of how the resonant filters change the sound of the notes. It is used as a lead sound, like in the verses of "Pretty Noose" by Soundgarden from the same album.

Variable Filter

It's a strange trick, but using a wah pedal as a variable filter is easy. Usually, you have to write the part with the effects to have it make sense. You can make the wah move slowly by coordinating the speed with a chord progression. You can use the wah a bit like a manual phaser to make the guitar sound like it's moving. It's rarely used, but a great trick for a middle eight, or a build up.

Pull Focus

For an outro, a creative method of using the wah pedal is to "pull the focus" of the guitar by using it to lower the treble. People like to move the wah slowly from toe down, to heel down, and then back to toe down, usually at the start of a chord progression. But if you time it right, your track or section should end right when the wah hits heel down, or soon after.

Step on It

The wah pedal works like a high-pass filter when the toe is pressed down. Of course, it is band-pass, but a decrease in frequencies below the maximum band-pass frequency point will be more noticeable than the reduction of higher frequencies above that point. In other words, it will sound like a high-pass filter, even though that’s not exactly what it is. It can be very helpful for intros or breakdowns, especially in heavier music. You can make this sound more or less extreme by choosing the pedals with it. For example, if you put one of the best fuzz pedals in front of the wah pedal, it can sound very sharp.

Final Thoughts

Even though there are lots of kinds of wah pedals, it’s easy to figure out which one is right for you. Every player has a different idea of what makes a good wah pedal, usually based on how it sounds. It’s not by the effect that wah is often called “vocal effects." When buying, there are three main things: the voice, the range, and the Q of the filter. For example, the Cry Baby GCB-95 has an 18dB boost, a filter centered around 750Hz, and ranges from 450Hz to 1.5kHz. Many wah pedals have a fixed range and Q, which make up the wah's "voice." Some more expensive models let you control the range and Q, making them much more flexible. 

Therefore, as final thoughts, vocalizing is just how the wah sounds. Since most only have the rocker plate, and a few or no other controls, the tastes and design choices of the builders matter a lot. Some wah pedals, like the Dunlop Cry Baby, have a wide but treble focused range. It means that the sound is very shrill when the toe is down. Some are darker, which means that even when you step on them, they sound smoother. The boosting range, and the filter's center frequency are also different. For example, the Vox V845 and Cry Baby have a similar range, but the Cry Baby cuts low-frequency harmonics much more strongly, giving it a different voice.

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