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Wah Pedals - One Size Fits All?


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For the past few years, I've had a Dunlop Mini-Crybaby on my pedal board.

However, I use it less and less these days because depending on the guitar and gain, it doesn't always sound good.

Couple things have come to mind here:

The sweep varies depending on what type of guitar I'm using.  Strat, 535, 137, etc.  

There is an internal switch that changes the frequency of the sweep, but I don't have time to change that every time I swap a guitar.

The small compact size of the pedal makes it difficult to get the right spot for the wah effect to be noticed.

I'm considering moving to a full size wah that is placed off the board, but what wah would work best universally?  I don't want to keep changing controls on a pedal when I switch guitars.

Is there a wah pedal out there I can use clean, low gain, high gain, single coil, humbuckers, etc. that has a good sweeping wah tone?  

 

Edited by DetroitBlues
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I went through a few trying to find a good solid all rounder. I used the 535Q for a while which I thought was okay for any application I needed.

But after all that searching Im left with just a  Vox 846hw, I think it just sounded sweeter to me, mellower. Probably not what you are looking for.

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I'm tempted to bau a Fulltone Clyde DeLuxe
as of now Dunlop CryBaby from the 90s I bought in New England (good times) and it delivers...at least with HBs and Ron Kirn's single coils

Edited by Gianluca
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I use a variety of Helix products for FX. I do not use them for amp modeling as I love my amps. What each of them has is about ten way models. Each one is slightly different. Or, you can take one way model and adjust the sweep for each patch. So if I am using a Strat and want a particular way sound I set it up that way. if I move to a LP and that way is a bit dark for the new guitar, I can easily adjust it. So every time I switch guitars, I hit a button and a different way is assigned to that guitar. You may scoff at this butI find it pretty amazing. It models pretty much every way out there and you just use the same FX pedal for all of them.

I hated digital stuff but no longer….

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8 hours ago, rwinking said:

I use a variety of Helix products for FX. I do not use them for amp modeling as I love my amps. What each of them has is about ten way models. Each one is slightly different. Or, you can take one way model and adjust the sweep for each patch. So if I am using a Strat and want a particular way sound I set it up that way. if I move to a LP and that way is a bit dark for the new guitar, I can easily adjust it. So every time I switch guitars, I hit a button and a different way is assigned to that guitar. You may scoff at this butI find it pretty amazing. It models pretty much every way out there and you just use the same FX pedal for all of them.

I hated digital stuff but no longer….

When I first got back into playing, I was using a Digitech RP350 with a built-in expression pedal.  The wah on it was awesome.  I've never played an analog wah like it.  I've tried a Ibanez Screaming Demon, Morely Bad Horsie II, Crybaby GCB-95F, Vox 847, Budda Budwah, Crybaby 535Q, and a Crybaby Mini.  All but the mini were used and I think that makes a difference.  Wah pedals seem to just wear out, they get scratchy, pot changes alter the sound (even if you manually try to readjust the sweep on the pot).  My mini seemed to work but depending on what I'm playing, Strat, 535, Les Paul and what I'm playing through Fender Clean or Marshall Dirty tones.  The Wah has almost no noticeable effect except for a small sweep zone on some set ups.  So far I the best sounding Wah for multipurpose has been the GCB-95F going by a distant memory.   My assumption is because of the larger pedal, the sweep is more controlled and wider because of the tradle path.  I only went to the mini because it was pedal-board friendly.

So I'm trying something really wacky and different.  An Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight Wah (https://www.ehx.com/products/cock-fight-plus/).  Has a setting that changes it to be a talk-wah plus the ability to add a Fuzz circuit either before or after the wah.  If I don't like it, I'm going to either try the Crybaby Junior or just get a simple GCB 95F.

Edited by DetroitBlues
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4 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

When I first got back into playing, I was using a Digitech RP350 with a built-in expression pedal.

Things have come a long way since the RP350 15-20 years ago.

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With all your crying and wah wahing you are worse than my cat Chester when he wants something... Please curb your desire to complain about gear.... After all you should be thankfull for the mucho bounty we all enjoy.

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17 hours ago, rwinking said:

I use a variety of Helix products for FX. I do not use them for amp modeling as I love my amps. What each of them has is about ten way models. Each one is slightly different. Or, you can take one way model and adjust the sweep for each patch. So if I am using a Strat and want a particular way sound I set it up that way. if I move to a LP and that way is a bit dark for the new guitar, I can easily adjust it. So every time I switch guitars, I hit a button and a different way is assigned to that guitar. You may scoff at this butI find it pretty amazing. It models pretty much every way out there and you just use the same FX pedal for all of them.

I hated digital stuff but no longer….

I was the same way, and fought digital for a long time. Lately though, for concerts where I play a lot of my original material I have presets for each song, and funnier yet, this is all for acoustic guitar. I don't use the preamps of EQ in the Helix Stomp (I use a JHS color box for that), but all of my time delay, and modulation FX are handled by it. And it's great to have everything beat-timed with the perfect wet/dry mix! And like you, I make the presets with the guitar/pickup combo I'm going to use for that song!

1Dk3k0Z.jpg

 

 

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35 minutes ago, rockabilly69 said:

but all of my time delay, and modulation FX are handled by it.

And I see the Mission engineering FX pedal on you pedalboard. I have found some great wahs on there and the Mission pedal works wonderfully.

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Back in my pedal days I had this same problem with a Dunlop Wah. I bought a Fulltone Clyde (non deluxe) and I was able to use it with different guitars and not have issues. I sold it along with most of my pedals. I still have the Dunlop. I dug it out the other day and used a pedal for the first time in years. I instantly remembered why I bought the Fulltone. The Dunlop I have is the Q version with the side knob for different tone frequencies, a boost switch (I never used) and a trem pot for gain. I always had the gain all the way down but it had a noticeable boost with the amp turned up. The wah sounded god with a powerful but clean amp like a 6l6 amp. When I started using it with 20 watt and less amps turned up for dirt the pedal sounded terrible. I really don’t think there is a wah that sounds good with an amp cranked so the power tubes are clipping. I do think the Fulltone sounds good with a Mater Volume amp and I used mine that way as well as clean. The Fulltone didn’t seem to have any added gain and I think that is very important for a wah. 

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1 hour ago, rwinking said:

And I see the Mission engineering FX pedal on you pedalboard. I have found some great wahs on there and the Mission pedal works wonderfully.

I like their volume pedals, they have a nice taper. 

The guy that I play in a duet with (who built my Marshall amp), is a pedal fiend. Besides building great pedals himself, he tries out more pedals than anybody I know. It was his good luck with Mission pedals that steered me to the pedal on my digital FX board. He uses both volume and wahs made by Mission

 

But my favorite volume pedal, with the taper and feel I love most, is the Tapestry Bloomery, which unfortunately, is no longer made. I bought three of them when I realized the company was going out of business. That's what I use on my daily gigger board for my house gigs...

Board.jpg.f5d8accccfc5977da08f91b7d2e702d2.jpg

And speaking of pedals, the Origin Effects Revival Trem on this board may be the best FX pedal I have ever incorporated into my acoustic show. When it's on, you can't bypass the preamp (early 60's brownface deluxe style), and it does something magic to my acoustic guitars that use Seymour Duncan Mag/Mic pickups. For lack of a better word, the pedal just makes my guitars sound bigger, with thick low mids, without getting muddy, and that's quite the balancing act!

For years, I would incorporate a small tube amp into my setup (Princeton, AC15HW, etc) and besides being a pain in the ass to lug around, I still wasn't perfectly happy with the dirty tone I was shooting for in my more blues oriented songs, but this pedal is giving up exactly what I want. I can make the guitars sing on slide guitars like I'm playing through a wound up amp. And the bias tremolo, oh my, it is AWESOME!

 

 

Edited by rockabilly69
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17 hours ago, ElChoad said:

This conversation needs opinions from the world's premier wah expert. Where is Kirk Hammett when we need him???

Like the music, not my style.  FWIW, my wah sounds great with higher gain and humbuckers.

Got the new EH Cock Fight wah.... It's meh, the talk function is weird.  Sweep was good and does a better job with the clean stuff, sounded great with the higher gain.  

Shipping the EH pedal back.  The small switches and knobs along with plastic/lightweight housing doesn't seem too durable.

Ordered the Dunlop MC404 CAE Wah in its place.  I think the button to switch yellow and red inductors will allow me to shift my wah to match the guitar going into it since they operate at different frequencies/sweeps.

Edited by DetroitBlues
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5 hours ago, bobmeyrick said:

I'm rather fond of my Ernie Ball wah - smooth action, good sound and a bright green LED to let you know it's on.

They have a cool Volume/Tuner pedal, but its expensive and I really don't understand a touch screen where your foot goes...

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