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DetroitBlues

Crying over the Wah?

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The Wah pedal.  The sound of Hendrix, Hammett, theme from Shaft, and purportedly the sound from scores of 70's adult films, is iconic. 

Love that sound.  So much dynamic to mediocre players like myself, and up the ante on pros. But, the wah pedal seems to be the most commonly worn out and discarded pedal, nearly disposable. I've had about four or five Wah pedals in the past decade.Almost always its because of the annoying, scratchy pot they develop. Yes, you can clean the pot (sometimes it doesn't work) or you can replace it (never does quite sound the same again)

I've purchased used, modified, and eventually bought a brand new one a few years ago. I've tried the Morley Optical Wah's and the Ibanez Weeping Demon.  Meh.  Not the same sound as a Vox or Dunlop.  After trying several used models, I started buying new.  Had a 535Q but didn't like it.  Ended up with a Dunlop Mini (has some of the Q features internally). I love the pedal, but after a few years, the scratchy pot noise is there and drives me crazy.

Is the Wah pedal a disposable pedal?  I hate wasting money on gear.  Is the Wah just an eventual waste?

Anyone else feel this way?

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My trusty Dunlop is over twenty five years old. That's a lot of "White Rooms".

And it's not just for guitars. Garth Hudson of the Band used a wah with keys on "Up on Cripple Creek" and Miles Davis used one for his trumpet. 

I finally talked our keyboard guy into trying one out. He likes it.

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Posted (edited)

A lot of “White Rooms” 😀

Edited by MisterG

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1 hour ago, Yooper said:

My trusty Dunlop is over twenty five years old. That's a lot of "White Rooms".

Me too, I think Dunlap is close to 30 yrs old. 

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Wah and vibe, always seemed to me to be essential. 

Nope. Never were for me as it turns out.

 

I like the vox wah.

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I guess I got my Thomas Organ CryBaby in 1978 or 79.   It's the only effect I've used on a regular basis, as my amps have overdrive built in usually.  

The only issue I've run into is it seemed to pick up interference when I used it with a Strat on stage.  I'm used to using humbuckers , so this was new to me. Pickup position 2 and 4 helped this to some degree. 

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DB I was in a similar situation, I finally coughed up & got a Fulltone Clyde Deluxe

it's quiet, reliable, runs off pedalboard power, and has switching options for wah response

plus it has a light, so you can see when it's on!! handy

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I bought my first Thomas Organ Dunlop Wah Wah shortly after they came out in 1969.  I used that thing on so many gigs I thought I was Motown's Wah Wah Watson!  It lasted all through tons of smokey clubs, college, some studio work and two USO tours before getting too scratchy to deal with.  I tossed it...or gave it to my younger brother.  I don't remember exactly.

Fast forward to the 90's I got a Dunlop Wah/Volume pedal that I still have on my pedal board.  No problems...ever. 

A few years ago a buddy of mine sold me a '69 or '70 Dunlop pedal in great overall condition.  He knew I was weak...and sentimental.  It was a little scratchy at first, and got worse and worse over time.  I lucked out and found an Ebay'er who sold NOS Wah Wah pots!  SOLD!  Now this old battery eater sounds just like my old sweetheart Wah Wah!  Good times.

So DB, to answer your question about Wah Wah's being disposable.  I say no.  Just replace the tone potentiometer.  After all, that's all a Wah Wah really is...a tone control. 

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Posted (edited)

Somehow, in fifty years of playing, I managed to miss the Wah-Wah bus.  My shortcoming, not the pedal's!  Then, in September, as we were working up material for the new record, we took on a Jeff Tweedy tune he'd written for Mavis Staples, Who Told You That.  The tune spoke to me: "Wah-Wah...here...now!"  Though I've never used one, I've had one stuffed in a box for most of those fifty years.  It's a Pats. Pending Vox Thomas Organ Clyde McCoy wah-wah.  Made in Italy, no less.  Tried it out...pretty scratchy, and there was no pedal resistance in the pot.  Around this time, in passing conversation with John (Kuziak - Kuz), he mentioned he had an old Ibanez wah he didn't use.  And, typical of John's generosity, he insisted on sending it to me to do with it whatever I wished.  So I used it at rehearsal a few times....  I didn't find it as easy to use tastefully as I thought I would.  But the Mavis tune was just begging for it!  Gino takes the first solo, and I have the second.  Solo's live, with the band, in the studio.  Nash Strat with Tom Brantley Rewinds p'ups and harness, on the neck pickup.   Wezo's singing in the booth.  The only overdub is the backing vox.   So here's wah-waht happened.  I hope you dig it:  Who Told You That   

 

Edited by yoslate
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10 hours ago, yoslate said:

 So I used it at rehearsal a few times....  I didn't find it as easy to use tastefully as I thought I would.  But the Mavis tune was just begging for it!  Gino takes the first solo, and I have the second.  Solo's live, with the band, in the studio.  Nash Strat with Tom Brantley Rewinds p'ups and harness, on the neck pickup.   Wezo's singing in the booth.  The only overdub is the backing vox.   So here's wah-waht happened.  I hope you dig it:  Who Told You That   

 

Tastefully done, Slate !   You truly made that guitar vocalize that tune.  It sounds effortless and natural. 

I remember back when I used a wah more often, I'd often just use it to get that cocked wah sound, helped the guitar cut through a bit. 

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10 hours ago, yoslate said:

Somehow, in fifty years of playing, I managed to miss the Wah-Wah bus.  My shortcoming, not the pedal's!  Then, in September, as we were working up material for the new record, we took on a Jeff Tweedy tune he'd written for Mavis Staples, Who Told You That.  The tune spoke to me: "Wah-Wah...here...now!"  Though I've never used one, I've had one stuffed in a box for most of those fifty years.  It's a Pats. Pending Vox Thomas Organ Clyde McCoy wah-wah.  Made in Italy, no less.  Tried it out...pretty scratchy, and there was no pedal resistance in the pot.  Around this time, in passing conversation with John (Kuziak - Kuz), he mentioned he had an old Ibanez wah he didn't use.  And, typical of John's generosity, he insisted on sending it to me to do with it whatever I wished.  So I used it at rehearsal a few times....  I didn't find it as easy to use tastefully as I thought I would.  But the Mavis tune was just begging for it!  Gino takes the first solo, and I have the second.  Solo's live, with the band, in the studio.  Nash Strat with Tom Brantley Rewinds p'ups and harness, on the neck pickup.   Wezo's singing in the booth.  The only overdub is the backing vox.   So here's wah-waht happened.  I hope you dig it:  Who Told You That   

 

Killer tune, so tasteful. When I grow up, I want to play like that.

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enjoyed, cool tone :-) congrats

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2 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

..... When I grow up, I want to play like that.

DB, a lot of us feel that way.

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Nicely done, Slate!  Not too much Wah...Just enough to get the message across.  :music_mini2:

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Maybe the first track that alerted me to the possibilities of the wah-wah pedal was Get A Little from the Mothers of Invention's Weasels Ripped My Flesh LP.

For me, Frank Zappa had a way of using effects that was just a little bit different - other great examples are his use of the Mutron III on the solo in Inca Roads from One Size Fits All, and the Oberheim Sample and Hold filter on Ship Ahoy from Shut Up and Play Your Guitar. The Line 6 FM4 has a setting called "Obi Wah" which recreates that effect. That's why I bought one...

 

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That is crazy set-up of a Les Paul he has there.  Lot's of extra knobs, switches, and who knows what else is on that guitar.

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2 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

That is crazy set-up of a Les Paul he has there.  Lot's of extra knobs, switches, and who knows what else is on that guitar.

FZ's guitars were heavily customised, with circuits for boosting frequencies (effectively parametric EQs). There are  quite a few articles on the web about Frank's guitars and amps, e.g. this one from Guitar Player. Zappa was one of my first guitar heroes, and I managed to see his bands pretty much every time he played the UK between 1972 (the Grand Wazoo big band) and his last tour in 1988. I've seen Dweezil a few times too, and he does a fine job of playing his father's music.

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On 3/15/2019 at 9:31 PM, Gitfiddler said:

I bought my first Thomas Organ Dunlop Wah Wah shortly after they came out in 1969...

I have a "Vox Wah-Wah Model V846"  Serial Number 2200954  Thomas Organ Company Sepulveda, CA.  I retired it many years ago because it is worn out.  My current Wah is a kit from BYOC. 

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@Bobmeyrick -Thanks for bringing up Frank!! His brilliant use of effects is nearly as impressive as his playing was! A true genius.  

 

Here's some more Zappa (with wah) simply because.

 

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2 hours ago, High Flying Bird said:

I have a "Vox Wah-Wah Model V846"  Serial Number 2200954  Thomas Organ Company Sepulveda, CA.  I retired it many years ago because it is worn out.  My current Wah is a kit from BYOC. 

Ha!  My Cry-Baby  is Model 95-910511;  Serial Number 2033130 Thomas Organ Co Sepulveda, CA! 

Cry-Baby brothers from another mother?

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4 hours ago, Gitfiddler said:

Ha!  My Cry-Baby  is Model 95-910511;  Serial Number 2033130 Thomas Organ Co Sepulveda, CA! 

Cry-Baby brothers from another mother?

I mainly used it for a tone boost.  I liked the way it sounded in the mid position of the sweep.  I have a note to get photos of it tomorow night.  I will post them here.  ;^)

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This poor pedal has been around. 

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3 minutes ago, Gitfiddler said:

Exactly like my Dunlop...even down to the simple innards.

I am reading this article now. 

http://www.voxshowroom.com/us/misc/v846.html

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From the article above.  This would make mine a 1979 model.  That doesn't sound right. 

"Serial Numbers and Year of Production
It is not difficult to determine the year of production for most items distributed by Thomas Organ. As Thomas commenced production in 1957, adding 57 to the first two digits of the serial number will, in many cases, give you the year of production. The serial number on the bottom plate of the Italian made V846 Wah-Wah shown above was 1631067. Adding 57 the first two digits of the serial (16) makes 73, indicating this Italian made V846 wah was produced in 1973. The serial number of the US made V846 shown above is 1995087. Adding 57 to the first two digits of the serial number makes 76. This wah was built in 1976.
"

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