Today’s list has been put together, keeping the needs of the modern bass player in mind, and will cover the Top 11 Wah Pedals for Bassists in 2023. We’ll review Wah pedals from Vox, Xotic, Dunlop, Mooer, Boss, Ibanez, Electro-Harmonix, Morley, Snow White, EBS, and Zoom.
While they all have similar goals and sound a certain way, Wah pedals come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Moreover, there are different types of Wah pedals as well. You might have seen the more commonly identifiable expression-based Wah unit with a treadle or rocker.
Auto-Wah pedals are designed differently and resemble regular single effect/footswitch pedals commonly seen on pedalboards. The difference in form factors and internal circuitry means that expression-based pedals are foot-operated, while auto-Wah pedals react to the bass/guitar player’s playing hand.
You’ll also come across a few bass multi-effects processors that deliver both types of Wah and other effects that are essential components of a modern bass rig. So stick around and read till the end, and we’ll give you a detailed review of the best of the best.
What makes wah pedal good for bass?
Wah pedals make guitar playing more expressive. Since bass players employ slap bass and other percussive techniques, adding a Wah pedal on a bass rig adds tons of tonal character. While Wah pedals, in general, can be used for both guitar and bass, specific units are purely designed for bass guitar keeping their frequency range in mind.
As we discuss further, you’ll notice how some Wah pedals have separate settings for guitar and bass while others are specialized bass pedals. Furthermore, some Wah units even have a toggle switch for active and passive pickups, depending on what’s installed on your bass guitar.
The 11 Best Wah Pedals For Bass 2023 (All Budgets)
1. Vox V847 Wah Pedal
Recreating the classic Wah sounds from the 60s, Vox V847 can be a great tool in a bass player’s arsenal.
The unit has a rugged base with four rubber feet underneath to ensure it doesn’t slide away as you aggressively rock the treadle. The rocker is made of metal and also has a solid build quality. The footprint is rather large as this is a full-sized Wah pedal.
The top of the rocker is layered with thick rubber for firm contact with the underside of your shoe. The letters “VOX” carved in the rubber top make the pedal look incredibly cool. The treadle moves smoothly and doesn’t seem flimsy at all. The V847 can be a great addition to your bass guitar rig.
The treadle on the Vox unit acts as a sweeping filter. When the heel is pressed down, you’ll hear an emphasis on the lower frequencies. However, when the toe side is in the down position, the treble frequencies are enhanced. There’s a clickable switch under the toe end of the treadle, which needs to be pressed to activate the Wah effect.
- Connections & Usage
On the pedal’s right side is a quarter-inch input, whereas the opposite side hosts the quarter-inch output jack. The usage is simple. You can connect the cable from your bass guitar to the input jack and route the cable connected from the output jack to an amp or the next pedal in the effects chain. You can experiment with overdrives and distortion pedals as they sound especially amazing with the Vox Wah paced before them.
The Wah pedal has a power input on the left panel that takes 9V to run the unit. You can power the V847 with a power supply or run it on batteries. Flipping the unit over reveals a base plate with four screws. Removing the screws will give access to where the battery can be plugged in. In general, with most battery-operated devices, it’s best to remove the battery to avoid any leakage/damage if you think you won’t be using the V847 for a long time.
This contemporary-looking Wah pedal is great for a variety of music styles. You can use it as a standalone unit with your bass for funk or blues-style music. You can also pair it with distortions and add character to your tone. In Addition, you can be at ease that the pedal won’t add color to your bass’s tone.
Most users have noticed that the Wah tone this Vox unit delivers is on the thinner side and lacks the warmth associated with older units. Also, the tone at both extremes tends to get too bright or muddy. Being an affordable unit, you’ll see some corners being cut. For instance, there’s no compartment where the battery can be fixed, so it stays loose inside, attached to the battery cable.
2. Xotic XW-1 Wah
Unlike most Wah pedals, the gorgeous-looking XW-1 Wah adds versatility to your pedalboard.
Due to its high-quality boutique effects units, the Xotic company from South California has come a long way since working out of a small garage setup in the late 90s. The company has an impressive product folio which includes boost pedals, compressors, distortion/overdrive units, and Wah/Volume pedals.
The circuitry inside is remarkably close to what was found in the Clyde McCoy style pedal Wah units from the classic era of music. If you’re looking for a transparent expression pedal that doesn’t add tonal changes to your sound, you’ll be happy to know that the XW-1 has a true bypass.
- Bias & Wah Q Controls
This control allows you to boost your output and strengthen the frequencies in the lower register. Increasing this parameter delivers a more aggressive sweep as the treadle is moved up or down. If you’re fond of a more vocal Wah effect, you can experiment with the Wah Q control. Rotating the knob adjusts the width of the Wah’s peak or the Q value. Depending on where you set this parameter, you can achieve subtle to more vocal vowel sounds.
Thanks to the dual-band equalizer, there’s a lot of tone shaping on offer. You’ll find dedicated knobs for “Treble” and “Bass” on the right side of the unit. Both controls allow you to cut or boost the highs and lows by +/-15dB giving you plenty of control over your sound.
- Internal Dip Switches
Four internal dipswitches further fine-tune certain aspects of the XW-1 Wah pedal. The first one can increase the treble frequency when the toe end of the treadle is pushed down. When the dip switch is off, the toe-down position will lose its brightness. An input gain control on the unit adds up to 6dB of Wah when turned up. The second dip switch can enable or disable the input gain. The third switch gives way to smooth high-end frequency presentation. Finally, the fourth dip switch is all about more pronounced vowel sounds.
- I/Os & Adjustments
The XW-1 has a traditional setup when it comes to inputs and outputs. The left panel has a quarter-inch output jack with a nearby power input for the 9V power supply. Removing the plate on the bass of the pedal reveals a section where a 9V battery can be installed for wireless powering. The LED on the pedal not only lights up when the unit is activated but also flickers to indicate when the XW-1 is low on battery. The right side of the unit has a quarter-inch input to connect your bass/electric guitar. The treadle has dual adjustments for ease of use. You can increase the range of motion and also modify the sensitivity of the treadle’s movement.
You’ll come across several Wah pedals in your music journey, but few can compete with the build quality, exotic looks, and multitude of controls that the XW-1 offers. You can not only further customize the pedal’s behavior thanks to the internal dip switches but can also modify the treadle’s range and movement.
Granted that this particular unit is somewhat of a boutique pedal, the hefty price tag will raise some eyebrows. With all the controls on offer, some of you may be willing to cough up the dough just to have this Wah pedal under your foot on a live stage.
3. Dunlop Cry Baby Bass Wah 105Q
In the world of Wah pedals, the Dunlop Cry Baby has an instant recall and needs no introductions.
Having used the electric guitar variant of the Cry Baby, I am more than satisfied with how Dunlop has crafted and engineered this unit to stand the test of time. Thanks to the pedal’s responsive circuitry, you can conjure up whatever you prefer, from subtle to intense Wah representations.
Although some of the more basic models lack controls other than the rocking treadle and footswitch at the toe end, the Wah 105Q presents some adjustable parameters. Moreover, the solid white exterior and contrasting black rubber padding on the rocker give this pedal a premium feel.
- Boost & Volume
The “Boost” and “Volume” control work hand in hand. The Boost switch enhances the output by adding gain to the signal. The volume knob can then be moved to increase the gain amount. When the knob is moved to the extreme right position, the maximum gain of +20dB occurs.
- Variable Q
The “Q” value determines the sharpness of the Wah effect’s peak when the treadle is moved back and forth. Most pedals have a fixed Q. However, the Cry Baby Bass Wah lets you set the parameter per user preference. Pushing the knob to the left will enhance the bass frequencies, while more emphasis on the higher frequencies can be heard if the Q value is increased.
The treadle on this Wah pedal functions in a slightly different manner. Contrary to how you sometimes have to press the toe end of the rocker down to click the footswitch, enabling the Wah effect, the Cry Baby has a pressure-sensitive rocker which activates the Wah as soon as you put your foot on the rocker. When the foot is removed, the pedal automatically switches to bypass mode. The center frequency at the heel-down positions is set to 180Hz. When the toe is fully pressed down, the center frequency changes to 1800 Hz.
- Power and Connectivity
Flip the pedal over, and you’ll notice that the base plate comes off so a 9V battery can be inserted. A 9V power supply can also juice the pedal through the power input on the left panel. Also on the left is a quarter-inch output that carries the signal from your guitar to a bass amp. To the right of the pedal is the quarter-inch input jack.
The great thing about this Cry Baby Wah model is that it allows you to change the Q value, boost the output signal, and adjust the volume level. Furthermore, if you find yourself in a situation where a power outlet is not accessible, simply pop in a 9V battery, and you’re good to go.
The internal circuitry is engineered so that the pedal puts all its energy into manipulating the mids and treble frequencies while leaving the bass frequencies untouched. Although some bass players may prefer this as it leaves the thickness and girth of the bass intact, others may prefer control over the whole frequency range.
4. Mooer Envelope
After reading through the first three pedals, you must’ve gotten used to the treadle-based form factor.
Wondering what this little stompbox is doing on today’s list of Wah pedals? Well, allow me to explain. The Mooer Envelope is a Wah pedal of the dynamic variety. It smartly adjusts to the musician’s playing style and delivers a Wah effect based on the pick attack/playing intensity.
Being an all-analog auto-wah filter, Mooer has put a lot of exciting features in this micro pedal-sized unit. Measuring just 3.68″ by 1.7″ by 2″, this small unit can be easily adjusted anywhere on your board but packs a punch for the tonal range it provides.
- Q & Decay
There are three small knobs on the pedal’s interface, the first of which controls the “Q.” To better understand, it’s essential to know that the Q value is inversely proportional to the shape of the peak. So, the peak’s width increases when the Q is turned down. Similarly, a sharper, narrower peak will manifest if the knob is turned to the right. Since this is a dynamic pedal, factors like decay come into play depending on the intensity of the playing hand. The “Decay” value can be set using the aptly named control knob. When turned to the right, the decay value increases. Moving in a counterclockwise direction makes way for a shorter decay time.
The last of the small knobs is the “Tone” knob. As the name suggests, the tone knob is like a mini equalizer and helps determine how bright or dull the sound would be. The tone will be considerably brightened as the knob is moved to the right. When moved counterclockwise, more bass is added to the tone.
The bigger knob sitting smack dab in the middle of the unit is the “Sensitivity” control. This parameter helps determine how harsh or soft the pick attack or playing intensity should be to trigger the dynamic Wah. The slightest tap on the strings will produce a profound Wah response at higher sensitivity levels (when the knob is moved to the right). You can subdue the Wah effect by lowering the sensitivity, which will, in turn, require more effort to open the Wah filter.
- Footswitch and Connections
Having a true bypass, the pedal doesn’t add color to your ton. The single foot switch activates or bypasses the unit. When on, the LED lights up. The right side has a quarter-inch jack for instrument connectivity. Finally, the left side has a quarter-inch output for connecting to an amp or the following effects unit in the chain. The unit can be powered through the top-mounted 9V power input.
This little dynamic Wah unit has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s incredibly tiny and thus easy to adjust in your setup. It hardly costs anything and has several controls for setting the decay time and sensitivity of the Wah. In Addition, the Tone knob provides a decent level of tone shaping, and the Q control can create many vocal Wah variations.
Since the pedal is programmed to work according to the playing intensity, if you’re new to the concept, it might take some time for both hands to sync enough to produce fruitful results. Furthermore, you may have to throw a booster pedal in the mix to get the optimum results from the Mooer Envelop Auto-Wah.
5. Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah
While we’re on the subject of dynamic Wah pedals, the AW-3 from Boss is a great option.
The people at Boss always seem to have something creative up their sleeves, making their pedals so popular. The AW-3 is executed to perfection and focuses on bringing plenty of satisfying Wah tones wide array of inputs and outputs to your pedal board.
The Modes section is the best feature on the pedal as it gives you many options that can come in handy in a studio recording scenario or, better yet, a live stage. You can easily brighten or mellow down your sound depending on the situation and also change the unit’s sensitivity depending on your playing style.
To ensure that you don’t find yourself in a situation where there’s an inadequate supply of inputs and outputs, the AW-3 seems well-equipped. The great thing about this multitasking pedal is that it offers separate quarter-inch inputs for electric guitars and basses. This means that the frequency response of both types of instruments is well accounted for, and the internal circuitry adjusts to the signal accordingly. On the left are a couple of quarter-inch outputs. The “EXP/CTL” jack allows expression pedal or footswitch connectivity. The other output carries your signal to an amplifier. The power input is top-mounted, a common feature in most Boss units. The pedal switch can be detached by unscrewing the thumbscrew to insert a 9V battery.
- Decay, Manual & Sens
Four knobs on the user interface change various parameters of the dynamic Wah effect the pedal offers. The first knob from the right controls the “Decay.” The time for which the effect lingers is determined here. Moving the knob to the right increases the decay time. The “Manual” knob is next, which controls the starting frequency at which the Wah comes into effect. Finally, the “Sens” knob controls the sensitivity of the Wah effect. For instance, if you’re interested in playing some slap bass, the sensitivity can be increased by moving the knob to the right to create a more prominent Wah response.
- Modes: Up, Down, Sharp, Tempo
The fourth knob controls the modes. The “Up” and “Down” modes mimic the heel and tow-down position of an expression pedal’s treadle. The Up setting favors the treble frequencies, where the filter shifts. When in Down mode, the Wah filtering occurs in the bass frequencies. The “Sharp” mode strengthens the Wah effect with an abrupt change to the treble frequency range. The last mode sets the “Tempo” of the Wah effect. The Tempo can be set anywhere between a vast range of 200 milliseconds and 4 seconds.
- Modes: Humanizer
The most versatile mode the AW-3 offers is the “Humanizer” mode. Boss focuses on delivering vowels like Wah manifestations in this section, hence the name “Humanizer.” The Sens and Manual knobs essentially become vowel controls. This is why they’re both labeled “a,” “e,” “i,” “o,” and “u.” Both these vowel settings are designed to give your instrument more human characteristics. When the Humanizer setting is activated, you’ll hear the vowels at which both the knobs are set, which can open doors to many unique applications.
No other dynamic Wah pedal gives such in-depth controls to shape the sound. The Modes on the AW-3 are all very usable, and you’ll find yourself employing them in you’re playing quite often. The Humanizer section is what sets the unit apart from its competition. In Addition, being battery-powered adds to the portability of the unit.
Having a lot of variation at your disposal is a good thing. However, if you have a kind of Wah effect in your mind, it’ll take some time and experimentation to dial it in just right. The AW-3 works best when paired with a boost or overdrive pedal, as it tends to get lost in the mix when used as a standalone pedal.
6. Ibanez WH-10V3
The infamous Ibanez name is synonymous with high quality and great value for money.
No wonder quality instruments from the Ibanez brand are played by leading guitar players of the industry, including Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Nita Strauss, and more. I, too, have been fortunate enough to add an Ibanez RG470AHMAZ to my guitar collection, and it’s one of my most preferred axes.
Ibanez’s pedals and effects units are as good as their musical instrument portfolio. You name it, and they have it. Some renowned pedals from Ibanez include the infamous TS808 Tube Screamer, Ibanez Pentatone Preamp/Equalizer, the insanely good Mini Pedal series, and the WH-10V3 Wah pedal.
- Appearance & Connections
The expression pedal looks excellent in its all-black exterior with a touch of aqua on the rocker that mentions the Ibanez branding and model number. All the inputs and outputs on the unit are top-mounted. The top panel includes quarter-inch jacks for the input and output and a 9V power input. The pedal is also battery-powered, so you can remove the base plate and add a 9V battery.
- To Bass or not to Bass?
Being an extremely versatile device, the WH-10V3 has a dedicated button to toggle between electric guitar and bass settings. Depending on the selected mode, the pedal’s innovative circuitry adjusts and can respond to the demands of the connected instrument. In the bass setting, the filtering occurs in the lower range.
Also in the controls section is a “Depth” knob that shapes the behavior of the Wah effect. When the knob is kept in the 7 to 10 o’clock position, there is a flatter response with the 6dB decrease from the standard Wah effect achieved when the knob is centered. As you increase the Depth and move to the far right, you’ll notice that the response is more profound with a higher peak thanks to a 12dB boost.
There’s a footswitch at the toe end of the pedal. When the treadle is pressed down, the Wah effect is activated, and a small LED on the left panel lights up. There’s also a toggle switch on the left panel that helps choose one of two bypass options. In “True” Bypass mode, the signal passes through the input and output jacks without passing through the circuitry. In the “Buffered” Bypass mode, on the other hand, the signal continues to go through a part of the circuit board regardless of the pedal being on or off.
The WH-10V3 has separate bass and electric guitar settings, meaning it’ll perform at an optimal level no matter which instrument is connected to it. The Depth control provides a lot of freedom in shaping your Wah’s response, and you get both True and Buffered Bypass options. And let’s face it; the unit looks great.
The footswitch on the unit is a bit stubborn. It may be a challenge to activate the pedal while sitting down. There may also be a need to adjust your rig and guitar pickups to accommodate some of the pedal’s features, like the 12dB boost.
7. Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron Plus
Offering an envelope control filter, the Q-Tron depends heavily on your playing style.
One of its many functions is to act as a dynamic Wah where your pick attack or slap style playing will determine how subtly or profoundly the Wah effect manifests itself. There are many other things under the hood of this “a lot more than meets the eye” pedal that needs to be explored.
While it takes much of its inspiration from its predecessor, the Q-Tron, the Q-Tron Plus takes things further by throwing some modern embellishments into the mix. Not only will you find additional controls, as we’ll discuss further, but the newer Plus unit also has a built-in effects loop that opens doors to even more tonal possibilities.
- Gain & Boost
There’s a row of six control knobs the on this unit that change various parameters. The “Gain” and “Boost” knobs go hand in hand. The Boost control is a switch that toggles between Normal and Boost mood. When Boost is on, the current setting of the Gain knob is the amount of Gain that will be added to the input signal. While not altering the volume of the output, the Gain control also adjusts the sensitivity of the filter when operating in normal mode.
- Response & Range
The “Response” knob activates one of two settings. When set to “Fast,” the pedal takes a page from the classic Q-Tron’s book and delivers an abrupt/sharper Wah effect. However, if you want to dial in a vowel-like smooth Wah effect, the Response knob should be set to “Slow.” The neighboring “Range” knob works in tandem with the Response control. When the “Hi” setting is chosen, you’ll hear some fascinating overtones, while in the “Lo” setting, more vowel-like sounds can be conjured up.
The “Peak” knob acts like a Q control. The shaping of the sweep across the lower and higher registers can be set by adjusting the “Peak” knob. As you move clockwise, the Wah effect becomes more dramatic and intense. Turning the Q value down will deliver a much flatter response.
Sitting on the far left of the interface is the “Mode” control. There are four settings to choose from, including “LP” (low pass), “BP” (bandpass), “HP” (high pass), and “MP” (mix pass), each of which is dedicated to its own frequency register. Whichever mode is selected sets the frequency range between which the filter will move, reminiscent of a rocker on an expression pedal. The LP and BP modes are for bass and mids, while the HP sets the filtering in the treble range. In MP mode, you get a combination of the dry signal and BP settings.
- Effects Loop
The Effects Loop feature is exciting and equally handy. The Q-Tron Plus allows you to place external effects units between the filter and preamp circuits. Another great feature is that whichever external effects are added; there is no change in the envelope drive. This means that the signal is dynamically unhindered. You can unleash your creativity and experiment with effects like chorus, delay, distortion, octavers, and fuzz units.
The Q-Tron Plus improves on certain features of the older unit and allows more controllable parameters. The additional effects loop function grants access to the preamp and filter sections to external pedals connected to the Q-Tron Plus. Furthermore, there are plenty of dynamic Wah variations that can be made use of by the modern bass player.
With all that the pedal offers, the unit becomes very power intensive. For this purpose, you will need a 24V power supply to run this behemoth. In Addition, since there are tons of controls on this one, it’ll take some time to get that ideal bass Wah sound you purchased the Q-Tron Plus for.
8. Morley Classic Bad Horsie Wah
The Classic Bad Horsie Wah by Morley is modeled after the signature Wah tones of the great Steve Vai.
The pedal is engineered to deliver slightly different Wah characteristics than other, more traditional units. You might notice that some other pedals exhibit a tinny upper end to have a more pronounced Wah sweep, but in doing so, a lot of the lower end is lost.
However, this offering from Morley works within the mid to high-frequency range, so you hear more of the lower-end warmth making the overall sound much thicker. But still, the Wah sweep is good enough to deliver great Wah-ness, and you also get an extra set of controls on the bass for more tonal manipulations.
The pedal is extremely solid. The base is all black with all the controls and I/O jacks labeled in red. The rocker is adorned with a white Morley logo over a back background. Another great feature of the rocker is how it activates the pedal. There’s no footswitch at the toe end that needs to be pressed down for activation. The treadle itself is spring-loaded. As soon as you put your foot on it and move it, the nearby “Wah on” light illuminates to show that the effect is on.
While the pedal sounds great and is ready to go right out of the box, you’ll also get a few additional controls on the base for further alterations in the Wah sound. The “Contour Wah” footswitch on the left can be pressed to activate the control sections. There are two knobs here. The “Contour” knob is responsible for shelving and adjusting the Wah’s tone. The nearby “Level” knob is simply used to increase or reduce the volume level of the output.
- Inputs/Outputs & Internal Circuit
On the right of the unit is where you’ll find a quarter-inch input and the 9V power supply. The good news is that the pedal is battery-powered, so you can access the battery compartment by removing the battery cover. On the right is a quarter-inch output jack to connect directly to an amp or the next effect unit in the chain. The Bad Horsie employs noiseless circuitry, so there are no pops, cracks, or lags when the spring-loaded treadle activates or deactivates the Wah.
As a base player, you’re looking for a pedal that keeps the lower end intact so you don’t lose any girth in the tone. The Bad Horsie ensures this by sweeping between the mid and treble frequencies. The Contour section then offers a shelving control to further vary your sound according to taste. The pedal is quite versatile so that you can plug a bass, electric guitar, or even keyboards into it.
While the treadle is nicely shaped and feels good under your foot, the base is quite broad. Chances are that you won’t be able to adjust this one on a pedal board and may have it lying separately on the floor. The other obvious con is the steep price tag. Perhaps some other more economical option can be considered.
9. Snow White Auto Wah (GB)
Another excellent option for those who prefer dynamic Wah pedals over the expression pedal variation.
Like other dynamic/auto Wah units, the playing hand is empowered to control the intensity of the Wah effect. Employing an envelope-control-based circuit, this pedal, too, relies on the pick attack and playing style to create fascinating sonic changes in your tone.
The clever folks at Mad Professor Amplification have combined the most appealing features of two of their best-selling pedals into one unit. The Snow White AutoWah carries forward the legacy of the Snow White electric guitar Wah pedal and the Snow White Bass AutoWah.
- The Switch
Sitting in the middle of the interface is the most crucial control of the pedal. The “GTR/Bass” switch alters the functionality of the pedal’s delivery of the Wah effect based on which instrument is connected. However, there’s no restriction here. Feel free to experiment by trying the guitar setting on bass or vice versa. Depending on the situation, you might come across something that sounds even more suitable.
As the name suggests, much of what is great about the pedal has to do with the “Sensitivity” knob. Setting this parameter determines how sensitive the pedal is towards varying degrees of playing intensity. You can also pair the controller with the volume knob of the instrument being played to produce the best results.
- Bias & Resonance
The “Bias” knob sets the frequency range that gets swept by the Wah. The “Resonance” refers to the Q value of the filter. As the Q or Resonance increases, the peaks narrow, resulting in a more pronounced Wah effect. Lowering the Q value gives way to a more subtle response. A good point to start is the 12 o’clock position.
Finally, the fourth and final knob controls the “Decay” of the Wah effect. The Decay determines how long a triggered Wah sound lingers until it returns to its original untriggered state. You can also think of this as the length of the sweep. Moving the knob clockwise will set a faster decay time as opposed to the slower, more traditional decay, which is formed when moving counterclockwise.
The auto-Wah unit has a quarter-inch input jack with an impedance of 550kΩ. The output jack on the left is sized according to a quarter-inch cable and has an impedance setting of 1kΩ. The pedal operates on 9V of power and can be connected to the unincluded power supply through the power input on the right panel.
One thing that stands out about the Snow White AudioWah is its multitasking capabilities. Not only does it work well with guitars, but bass guitars as well, thanks to the instrument selecting toggle switch. In Addition, there are plenty of knobs on board to control Sensitivity, Q value, and Decay of the Wah effect.
Although a decent unit, you need to decide what kind of Wah does the job for you at the end of the day. If you’re not a fan of Auto Wah pedals and prefer that your foot takes over the brunt of the tone shaping of your Wah effect, you’re indeed better off using the traditional expression pedal variant.
10. EBS Stanley Clarke Signature Wah/Tone Filter
Here’s a Wah pedal that’s the perfect blend between ingenuity and technical prowess.
EBS collaborated with Stanely Clarke, the bass wizard himself, to create this offering from scratch. The pedal includes Stanley’s signature tone and meticulously builds on his specifications to give aspiring bass players a taste of several Wah modes and enough controls to achieve the best results.
Gone are the days when bass/guitar players were satisfied with a simple expression pedal that lacked variety in terms of controllable parameters. EBS knows this and has equipped the unit with front and side panels that house several knobs and buttons to ensure that the EBS Stanley Clarke Signature pedal is all you’ll need in the Wah department.
The front panel of the pedal hosts three knobs. The “Mode” knob helps switch between four different modes. The options include Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass, and Boosted BP. You can set the frequency range for the filtering by selecting Low Pass mode for bass frequencies, Band Pass mode for the mids, and High Pass for treble. The Boosted BP mode simply boosts the Band Pass filter.
- Range & Width
“Range” refers to the range of operation. The available range to adjust the Wah filter falls between 50Hz and 12.5 kHz. The third knob controls the “Width” or Q value. Having these controls is very useful as you can shape the graph of the effect to mimic classic Wah sounds or more modern filtering tones.
- Active/Passive Pickup Switch
You’ll also find a couple of switches on the pedal’s right side. What’s great is that the pedal accounts for the active and passive pickups of the different bass guitars in your arsenal. For this purpose, there’s a dedicated button on the side to toggle both settings to get an adequate response from this Stanley Clarke unit.
- Volume/Bypass & Footswitch
This EBS pedal is multifunctional. You can have it operating as a Wah or volume pedal. Thanks to the 2 in 1 functionality, you can easily do without the two separate pedals on your pedal board and use the Stanley Clarke Wah/Volume unit instead. Finally, at the toe end of the pedal is a standard footswitch to activate the Wah.
There are few pedals in the list that are as gifted in terms of capabilities as the EBS Stanley Clarke Wah/Tone filter. There are four selectable modes to set the frequency ranges and separate controls for shaping the Q value. No need to worry if you have a bass guitar with active pickups. The pedal will adjust accordingly. What’s more is that in this EBS unit, you get two pedals in one.
First and foremost, the pedal is quite expensive, so you’ll need to assess if you need all the features on offer or maybe settle for a more modest unit that costs less but still covers all the basics. Also, the pedal’s build quality is not the best, which is a crime at this price point.
11. Zoom B1X Four
The Zoom B1X Four takes us into the realm of thousands of effects packed inside a single unit.
There are two variants in this series of multi-effects units offered by Zoom. The Zoom B1 Four is smaller as it lacks the expression pedal. However, the B1X Four version comes with all the bells and whistles and is pretty much all you need if you’re a bass player and don’t want to spend a ton of money.
As you dive into all the features, you’ll notice how handy this all-in-one effects unit can be. In the B1X Four, you’ll find over 70 effects, looping capability, 68 rhythm patterns, a chromatic tuner, and much more. You’ll all note that the processor offers effects like Fuzz, Octaver, Bass Synth, and Wah, which is why it features on today’s list.
- Sequence Filter – Z.Vex Seek-Wah
This effect is modeled after the infamous Z. Vex Effects, Super Seek Wah unit. When selected, the display shows a digital representation of the pedal where you can adjust several parameters from the corresponding controls below. You can change the number of steps in the sequence, select effect patterns, modulation speed, and finally, the resonance of the effect.
The “BassA-Wah” offers a lot of adjustments as well. Being an Auto-Wah, the controls include “Sens,” “Reso,” “Dry,” and “Vol.” Sens controls the sensitivity of the effect. Apart from adjusting the Wah’s resonance and volume, you can also change the blend between the Wah and the dry signal of your bass guitar.
This effect makes use of the built-in expression pedals. Some of the parameters are similar to those found in the Auto-Wah preset. You can change the volume of the effect as well as its resonance. Similarly, the “Dry” control will let you set the ratio between the original signal and the Wah effect. Finally, the frequency shelf can also be adjusted between 1 – 50.
- PDL Reso
Another Wah-based effect is the “PDL Reso,” which has parameters including Frequency, Resolution, Dry, and Volume. Although the controls are similar to the BassWah preset discussed before, this version of the pedal Wah has much stronger characteristics and is more intense and pronounced.
The back panel is where all the inputs/outputs are grouped. The quarter-inch input and output can be found alongside the 9V power input. The pedal can also be powered by 4 double A batteries. When the batteries are inserted, the B1X Four will power on automatically when an input cable is connected. Also, on the back is an aux input if you want to jam with a track on your mobile device. Finally, the Micro-B USB port can be used to connect to a computer to update the firmware and for accessing the proprietary Zoom Guitar Lab software.
While we’ve discussed 2 in 1 pedals earlier in the list, this multiple effects processor designed specifically for the bass player is good enough to eliminate your pedalboard completely, as all the effects you could fathom are in this one unit. Granted, you get 4 variations of Wah, but there are tons of other goodies under the hood of the Zoom B1X Four, and the low price tag borders on ridiculous.
I guess this bass processor is not for someone who likes to have everything easily accessible without going through menus and submenus to find what they need. Also, if you’re not ready to part ways with your existing setup and just use a few effects the processor offers, opting for single pedals could be a better solution.
Cry Baby Mini Bass Wah CBM105Q
As Wah pedals go, the Cry Baby Mini is the smallest expression pedal-based Wah unit on the list.
Compared to a full-sized bass Cry Baby pedal, you’ll notice how the CBM 105Q is half its size. However, don’t judge the book by its cover, as the pedal is fully functional and built like a tank, thanks to its all-metal construction. In Addition, the rubber padding on the top of the treadle provides firm contact.
The great thing with this version of the Cry Baby is that there’s no footswitch that needs to be pressed to activate the unit. The treadle has highly sensitive pressure points and recognizes the need to be activated when a foot is placed over it and rocked back and forth.
This mini pedal is not to be taken lightly as it is equipped with several controls, making it even more versatile than some larger units. The right panel has two knobs. The first knob allows you to control the “Volume” of the Wah effect. While you can also crank up your guitar or control the volume directly from an amp, there’s no replacement for a built-in volume knob.
- Q Control
Very important for adjusting Wah’s abruptness and behavior, the knob controls the “Q” value. Rotating the knob to the right makes for a high and narrow peak, making the Wah effect more noticeable as the treadle moves up and down. Turning the knob in the other direction delivers a more subtle Wah effect.
Next to the two knobs on the right panel is the quarter-inch jack which takes the input from your bass guitar’s output signal. The left panel has another quarter-inch jack for connecting to the next pedal in the effects chain or an amp. When all the connections are established, the recommended way to start using the pedal is to have both controls pointing in the 12 o’clock position and adjusting them slowly to achieve the desired tone.
- Power & Ring Out Feature
The mini Wah takes 9V of power and can be juiced by a 9V battery by removing the unit’s base plate. While you have access to the base cavity, you can also experiment with the “Auto-Return Delay” pot to set the time it takes for the Wah effect to ring out. In other words, the decay time can be increased by rotating this knob to the right.
This tiny unit is excellent for small or overcrowded pedalboards as it can be easily adjusted anywhere without much fuss. Being battery-powered adds to its portability. Furthermore, the Q and Volume controls do a great job of creating subtle to highly vocal Wah representations. The pedal also has an internal control to change the decay time.
The pedal being a member of the Dunlop Cry Baby family does deliver the goods, but there are a few hitches. The mini pedal may feel awkward for someone used to a more significant footprint or generally has larger feet. Also, the treadle isn’t the smoothest, so you may need to oil the hinges to eliminate squeaking noises.
Whether you’re a bass or electric guitar player, a Wah pedal is a must-have. It completes your pedal by adding more variation and creativity to your playing style. Surely, it’ll make your chords sound funky and your solos rocking harder.
The Vox V847 unit is an excellent place to start, as there aren’t any complicated controls you need to come to grips with before you start rocking. Just take it out of the box, plug it in, and start playing. Both variations of the Dunlop Crybaby take things to the next step by offering Q shaping and volume controls. The CBM105Q is a heck of a space saver, though.
If you’re not a fan of your foot doing all the hard work, you can go for any Dynamic Wah pedals that make use of your playing hand to generate the Wah effect. These include the Boss AW-3, Mad Professor Snow White Auto Wah, Mooer Envelop Auto Wah, and the Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron +. Something to note here is that the Mooer unit is the most affordable and compact option, while the Q-tron+ is the only unit in this category that offers an effects loop.
The EBS-SC, Morley Bad Horsie, Ibanez WH10, and Xotic XW-1 are all in a league of their own as they offer the most number of adjustable parameters to shape your Wah effect the way you like it. Finally, if you want a detailed multi-effects processor that covers your Wah needs and offers a truckload of bass effects, you can’t go wrong with the Zoom B1X Four.
Sultan Zafar is a guitar player from Islamabad, Pakistan. He has been playing music with various mainstream musicians for over 20 years. He is a song writer and music producer. These days he spends his time exploring different music genres and collaborating with fellow musicians on various projects. Read more..