Wah pedals were invented in the rock and roll era of the 60s and popularized by famous guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Isaac Hayes, and Kirk Hammett. A wah pedal is an electric guitar effects pedal that alters the tone and frequencies of the guitar signal to create a distinctive sound, mimicking the human voice and allowing for a more expressive, vocal-like guitar effect.
A wah pedal can be used in several ways. You can use a wah pedal to accentuate certain musical passages (like solos), or even leave one in a fixed position to achieve a nasally wah sound, for example. Most wah pedals use a standard footswitch to work, where the guitarist must press down hard on top of the pedal to engage the wah pedal effect. Some modern wah pedals have a ‘Q’ knob that can adjust the width of the wah pedal’s frequency, and others have a built-in boost function that is great for raising your overall output when the pedal is engaged.
Many guitar players have taken advantage of the wah pedal for their sounds. Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’ is a great example of where the outro solo features a wah effect almost entirely throughout. Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is another famous example of wah-wah guitar, while the most famous wah tune has to be the much-parodied theme tune to the 70s cop flick, Shaft. Despite today’s increasing digitalization of popular music, the wah pedal is just as prevalent as it’s ever been.
One of the most recognizable names in the pedal world is the Jim Dunlop Cry Baby wah. More than one million of these have been sold worldwide since its introduction. Dunlop has gone on to release several artist signature versions of the classic pedal, including the JH-1 Jimi Hendrix Signature, SW-95 Slash Signature, and ZW-4 Zakk Wylde Signature. Other brands to look out for are the multi-functional Behringer wah pedals which offer everything you need for all styles and sounds, the highly popular Ibanez wah pedals, and the versatile and durable Boss wah pedals.
Art of Guitar offers a range of wah pedals both online and in our Dubai store, so make sure to have a look or give us a call if you have any questions.