Wah pedals were invented in the rock and roll era of the 60s and popularised by the likes of famous guitarists Jimi Hendrix, Isaac Hayes, and Kirk Hammett.
A wah pedal is a type of 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.
So, how does a wah pedal work?
Most wah pedals are pretty basic to use. The majority of 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. However today there are many modern wah pedals that have a ‘Q’ knob that can adjust the width of the wah pedal’s frequency.
Some even have a built-in boost function which is great when raising your overall output when the pedal is engaged.
Many guitar players have taken advantage of the wah pedal for their sounds.
Take Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’ which 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 other most famous wah tune has to be the much-parodied theme tune to the 70s cop flick, Shaft. While the wah pedal has come along since the 60s, 70s, and 80s, despite today’s increasing digitalization of popular music, the wah pedal is just as prevalent as it’s ever been.
And in terms of what’s out there - you’ll be pretty spoilt for choice – just check out our online shop to see what is currently available!
Which wah pedal should I be looking out for?
There are many manufacturers out there making wah pedals to suit all budgets.
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. Not only has the Cry Baby Wah Pedal stood the test of time, but it has also served guitarists of every style through the generations.
The iconic brand offers an unmistakable classic sound and 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 to the Ibanez wah pedals which have remained highly popular over the years. And there’s also the Boss wah pedals which are versatile, durable, and ready to gig straight out of the box.
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.