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What is the Best Wah Wah Pedal?

Updated on June 27, 2013

What is the Best Wah Wah Pedal for You?


I love that Wah Wah Sound, don't you? Whether it's a '70s Car Chase', the 'funk-tastic' intro of Jimi Hendrix's 'Voodoo Chile' or an 'ear splitting' Guitar Solo by 'Rock Axe Master' Slash, the Wah Wah Pedal takes a Guitar Signal and sets it on Fire!

When I was looking to by my Wah Wah Pedal, I was blown away by the range and variety of Wahs. I was in search of that Classic Vintage Wah Sound. In my mind if you can't 'Chase Muscle Cars down American Highways' to it, it isn't classic Wah.



In order to find the right Wah for me, I did a lot of research. This lens is a collection of that research. I've included Video Demos and built my own Selection of Top Wahs. I've also taken a look at different styles and types of Wah Wah Pedal : from Classic 'Single Tone', to Modern 'Vary Tone' and Auto Wah. In addition to this I took a look at the two most 'iconic manufacturers of Wah Wah Pedals' Dunlop and Morley.

Finally I've included my own personal experience (such as it is) with my Wah Wah Pedal. I've added my feedback, having bought and used my 'Dunlop Classic Wah'. I've also added Tips and Advice based upon my own experiences of trying to use a Wah Wah Pedal for the first time.

I hope you find this lens helpful and fun to read. If there's anything else you'd like see on this lens, use the Comment Box at the end of the lens.

Wah Wah Photo by Jason Reinhardt

A Selection of Top Wah Wah Pedals - A Personal Tour of my Stand Out Wahs

Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Looking for a no nonsense Wah? This be the Wah for you. The Dunlop Original is the workhorse Wah. A no thrills, down the line, wakka wakka wah wah!

 
Dunlop GCB95F GCB95F Cry Baby Classic Wah Wah
Dunlop GCB95F GCB95F Cry Baby Classic Wah Wah

The Crybaby Classic is the Wah of 70s Car Chases. It Features the legendary Fasel Inductor that gave rise to the Wah sound. What more can I say than, this is my current Wah of choice.

 
Dunlop SW95 Slash Signature Cry Baby Wah Wah
Dunlop SW95 Slash Signature Cry Baby Wah Wah

This Wah has to be a must for all Guns n Roses loving Guitarists. A snarly, slinky Wah Wah built for their former iconic lead Guitarist. I love the mix of bluesy undertones and scorching distortion, so synonymous with Slash himself.

 
Morley Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah Pedal w/2 6" patch cables 2 18.6' inst cables
Morley Steve Vai Bad Horsie Wah Pedal w/2 6" patch cables 2 18.6' inst cables

Not to my taste, but Mr Vai's Naughty Horse can not be ignored. The polar opposite of my beloved Classic Wah, this Pedal comes loaded with a stack of customization tools. Built for the Guitarist searching for their own unique Wah tone. This box of Wakka Wakka magic tricks will allow you to vary Wah tones for each and every song you play.

 
Danelectro DJ-24 French Fries Auto Wah Mini Effects Pedal
Danelectro DJ-24 French Fries Auto Wah Mini Effects Pedal

Never thought I'd love an auto wah, but this baby's jammed with car chase certified Wa Wa Wah Wa Wa Wah Wah. Coming in at such a reasonable price, makes this little box of funk hard to say 'no' to.

 

How to Use a Wah Wah

My First Wah Jam : Tips1. Be Patient: It's not as easy as it looks.2. Try different foot positions.3. Try left & right foot control.4. Use fixed positions: learn the sound & range of your Wah (plus it's cool).5. Slow movements develop control & taste.6. Your ankle will get tired.7. 10 min jamming sessons: build muscles & try out different Wah Wah techniques.8. Be funky.

What is the Best Way to Use a Wah Wah?

Original Crybaby - Number One Standard Wah

Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Wah Guitar Effects Pedal

Positive Reviews"There are a lot of wah pedals with a wider range out there but if you are looking for the traditional wah sound, this is the way to go."...from 4 Star Review by Amazon Customer B. Stallings"You really don't need all the extra knobs and stuff, this pedal has the sound your looking for. Great clean, distorted, overdriven, just about any sound you put through it will come out with that beautiful Hendrix inspired sound."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer B. ShoverNegative Reviews"The problem with this pedal is that you have to step all the way down on it to turn it on, which produces a sound."...from 3 Star Review by Amazon Customer Devin"Certainly not a state of the art pedal but adecuate if your needs are based more on coloring your guitar sound. The expression/range on the pedal is not that great and if you want to spice your solos with the wah wah effect, I recommend you look somewhere else."...from 3 Star Review by Amazon Customer Jonathan Chen

 

Original Crybaby : Video Demos

Original Crybaby : Customer Verdict

Pros :AffordableDurableClassic SoundCons :LimitedSimplisticOld FashionedConclusion :Great for some vintage funkification, but lacking the bells and whistles demanded by the modern player - in particular the Lead Guitarists.

Original Crybaby Vs Classic : Which is best for Vintage Wah Sound?

Why did I Buy the Dunlop Crybaby Classic? - Chasing Wahs

Dunlop GCB95F GCB95F Cry Baby Classic Wah Wah
Dunlop GCB95F GCB95F Cry Baby Classic Wah Wah

Positive Reviews"This Wah pedal is the absolute best out there, anywhere. The Italian man "Fasel Inductor" is the heart of the sound that comes from this rock-solid tank-like beast of a Wah pedal."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer Robert Hedrick"If you want the Wah sound that is the staple of classic rock, look no further. The Crybaby is the original and remains the choice of the greats of rock up to the present. The warm tone and variability are unmatched by any imitator."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer SoCal FunNegative Reviews"I was unable to rate the quality of the pedal because it simply did not work at all right out of the box. Neither battery or adapter power made any difference."...1 Star Review by Amazon Customer Neil M"This item was hooked up & played without problems for about five minutes. It then stopped working altogether, had to be taken apart and a loose screw tightened in order for it to work."...from 2 Star Review by Amazon Customer Ind Listener

 

Crybaby Classic : Video Demos

Crybaby Classic : Customer Verdict

Pros : Classic Wah soundSuits wide range of stylesOriginal Fazel Inductors give warmer toneDurableCons : Poor Quality ControlConclusionA stonking classic Wah sound with a warm tone, housed in a durable case. However, one or two questions over Quality Control.

Original Crybaby Vs Classic : Video Demos

What's it like to Use a Crybaby Classic?

I found the pedal a little hard to get the hang of at first, but with a little concentration and focus I started to get a good funky vibe going.A Jam session with my brother sold me 100% on the Crybaby Classic : my Fender Tele sounded funk-tastic through it. I happily jammed away, funking chords up and down my Guitar, while my brother played an impro lead on the Keyboard - funky stuff.I just need to get better with it now ;-)

Which is Best, the Dunlop Original or Classic Wah?

Do you prefer the Dunlop Original Wah or the Dunlop Classic Wah?

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What is the Best Signature Wah Wah Pedal?

*A Signature Wah Wah Pedal is a Wah made to the specifications of a particular Guitarist.

VAI-2 - Number One Signature Wah

Morley VAI-2 Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah
Morley VAI-2 Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah

Positive Reviews"Since I've had this Bad Horsie 2, I've had it along on every gig, and I use it on several solos each show. It's very convenient, in that you don't need to kick a toe switch on or off. The wah instantly engages when you put your foot on it, and disengages when you withdraw your foot."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer D. Parsley"Ive had mine for 4 years. Nice extreme wah sound, and the contour switch adds custom sound. 2 wahs in one. Nice feature."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer PrsjamesNegative Reviews"...the middle-low range sound is week. And the high range sound is too harsh. So you have to operate this exquisitely....from 3 Star Review by Amazon Customer Hi"I don't totally buy into the vintage thing, but this pedal sounds way too digital. Has none of the percussive qualities of the intro model Dunlop Crybaby."...from 2 Star Review by Amazon Customer Nathan R. Burch

 

VAI-2 : Video Demos

VAI-2 : Customer Verdict

Pros :Auto SwitchCustom SoundCons :Too SophisticatedNo On/Off SwitchConclusion :Very much the modern Wah. Technically impressive and provides a custom sound for Guitars who want it. But can be too fiddly for other Guitarists and perhaps lacks the soul of the classic Wah sound.

Are Signature Wah Pedals Worth the Extra Money?

Do Signature Wah Pedals give Value for Money?

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What is the Best Auto Wah Pedal?

How do You Use a Auto Wah?

Danelectro DJ-24 - Number One Auto Wah

Danelectro DJ-24 French Fries Auto Wah Mini Effects Pedal
Danelectro DJ-24 French Fries Auto Wah Mini Effects Pedal

Postive Customer Reviews"From the solo on "Play That Funky Music" to the outro on "Sweet Child" this Auto Wah pedal gives you the exact sound you're looking for. I can't believe the sound you get for the price you pay - Amazing!"...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer Jeff Caron"As with most guitar effects, you will have to tweak the tone to suit your playing style. Start with the knob at 12 o'clock, then it is easy to find a tone that suits you."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer Thomas D. MoserThere are no Negative Reviews

 

DJ-24 : Video Demos

DJ-24 : Customer Verdict

Pros :Great value for moneyFunky Wah toneGood for different styles of musicCons :None MentionedConclusion :Funky little pedal for laid back Funksters looking for some easy-going funkification : Funk it!

Auto Wahs Vs Manual Wah Wah Pedals :

Which is a better, an Auto Wah or a Manual Wah?

See results

What is the Best Bass Wah Wah Pedal?

Dunlop 105Q - Number One Bass Wah

Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah
Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah

Positive Reviews"This is an incredible pedal, and is worth every cent you pay for it. ...if you want a bass wah that will sound incredible and LAST (it's seriously durable) this is the one you need to get."5 Star Review by Amazon Customer Grai"Overall this is a good pedal. The sound is good and the Q control can create a good range of sounds. When you step off it, it goes to the full up position, and switches to bypass if left there for a half second or so. The bypass is excellent."...from 4 Star Review by Amazon Customer BemaceNo Negative Reviews

 

Dunlop 105Q : Video Demos

Dunlop 105Q : Customer Verdict

Pros : Highly durableGood customization optionsExcellent bypassCons : Quite PriceyLimited motion range making it harder to controlConclusion :A little on the expensive side, but worth it : a solid, longlasting Wah with good custom sound options. Still room for Dunlop to improve it though.

Wah Wah Deals on eBay

*eBay can be great place to find deals on Guitar Kit. Perhaps not for the absolute beginner, but for the Guitarist who knows what to look for and, more importantly, what to avoid, ebay can offer some serious money saving deals.

Who are the Best Makers of Wah Wah Pedals?

*I picked Dunlop and Morley based on the large range of top rated Wah Wah Pedals both companies produce.There are other companies that make Wahs, but only Dunlop and Morley have comprehensive ranges of Wah Wah Pedals.

What is the best Dunlop Wah Wah Pedal?

Dunlop 535Q - Number One Dunlop Wah

Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah, Black
Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby Multi-Wah, Black

Positive Reviews"...offers the greatest versatility of any other wah pedal in the dunlop range. It sounds great, as evident by a previous version of this pedal being used by Adam Jones (Tool) to shape his unique tone, along with many others."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer Jimmy"The greatest thing about this pedal is that it is customizable. The user dials in the frequency sweep they want. The volume boost is a great feature when you need to play a lead over the live mix."...from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer RexomusNegative Reviews (only one)"The wah effect is not working. When I press the pedal its only increasing and decreasing the volume. I will try to return the item"...from 3 Star Review by Amazon Customer Sandro

 

Dunlop 535Q : Video Demos

Dunlop 535Q : Customer Verdict

Pros :Fantastic range of customizationGreat build qualityComes from a long line of quality WahsCons :One customer reported a damaged pedal on deliveryConclusion :Funk-tastic Wah for funk-tweekers looking to personalize their Funk. A touch more pricey than the standard Wah. Perhaps not for beginners, but for Guitarists who have already developed their Funk palette.

What is the Best Morley Wah Wah Pedal?

Morley PDW-II - Number One Morley Wah

Morley PDW-II Distortion/Wah/Volume Combo Pedal
Morley PDW-II Distortion/Wah/Volume Combo Pedal

Postive Reviews"These "Modern Morleys" always add gain to your signal (like the old ones), When in the "bypass" mode-it's true bypass! The knobs don't "wobble" like other effects brands and the treadle (pedal) is BOLTED onto the chassie with nylon bushings-gives tight pedal action for life!"...taken from 5 Star Review by Amazon Customer Felix The Cat"Unlike many other wah pedals, this one doesn't take away the guitar's sound, but complements it. Even leaving it part open provides a different tone to play to. The distortion is not overbearing and the volume feature (when wah is switched off) is another useful addition. A great buy."...5 Star Review by Amazon Customer RazzaNo Negative Reviews**One Customer reported being very happy with the pedal, until "...the optical board shorted out." Morley replaced the board, but four months later "...the board went out again."...extracts from 4 Star Review by Amazon Customer J. Nester.

 

Morley PDW-II : Video Demos

Morley PDW-II : Customer Verdict

Pros :True BypassDistortion works well with Wah SoundUseful Volume FeatureCons :One report of faulty optical boardsConclusion :Chunky well built pedal for Wah Rockers, looking for a modern take on classic rock funkification

Which are Better, Dunlop or Morley Wahs?

Do you use Dunlop or Morley Wahs?

See results

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    • profile image

      chris Kimble 2 years ago

      Hi. I to have been searching for many years on the truth about wah wah pedals.The best pedal I ever played was an old Italian

      wah pedal. It was a 1967. I loved it so much my buddy wouldn't sell it to me.I decided to build one and it wasn't anything like the one he had een though I used the same identical parts. I met a guy aka Johnny D from JDiChiara amps he builds the real deal.

    • profile image

      Largedong 2 years ago

      VOX all the way! all cry baby I have had only last a year before they die on me. Also the VOX wah has much better tone. Cry baby tone is a bit like having a line 6 amp, to digital sounding for me.

    • Legenden profile image

      Legenden 4 years ago

      I like this lens. Well structured and interesting! :D

    • tobydavis profile image
      Author

      tobydavis 4 years ago

      @TanoCalvenoa: I'm stuck on Dunlop myself... but maybe I should give Vox another look - thanks for the comment!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I like Vox best, and I've owned over a dozen different wahs including five or so by Dunlop, RMC Teese, Fulltone, Gig-fx, and others.

    • tobydavis profile image
      Author

      tobydavis 4 years ago

      @Sean1987: Thanks for the comment - I'm a Dunlop man myself - love my Dunlop Classic.

    • Sean1987 profile image

      Sean Gagne 4 years ago from Tampa Bay Area

      Dunlop wahs are the best by far

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When my kids were still at home, we had the Wah Wah Pedals going. :)

    • tobydavis profile image
      Author

      tobydavis 4 years ago

      @louiseanne lm: :-) Very cool. Thanks for the comment.

    • louiseanne lm profile image

      louiseanne lm 4 years ago

      Two words: Voodoo Chile ;)