The topic of today’s post is our list of the finest 12 Wah Pedals for Metal in 2023 (Any Budget).
Since its introduction in the 1960s, the Wah pedal has become one of the most sought-after guitar effects. Originally intended for brass musicians, the wah-wah effect (or simply “wah”) is a frequency-filtering effect that became popular with electric guitar players.
This incredible pedal can be found on almost every legendary record that has ever been created. From Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” to Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade”, this pedal is a must on every guitarist’s pedalboard.
In this article, we’re going to compare the top twelve wah pedals as of 2023, and hopefully, we’ll help you find the perfect ‘wacka-wacka’ pedal for you.
But before we dive into it, Here are the most frequently asked Wah pedal questions.
The 12 Great Wah Pedals For Metal 2023
1. Vox V845 Wah-Wah
The Vox V series brings forth two amazing pedals, including the V847 and the V845.
When you see a product favored by the industry’s legends, you know the brand needs to be taken seriously. Used by the likes of the late great Jimi Hendrix and the guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton, the Vox Wah was credited for delivering the sound that had a great contribution to shaping the music of the 60s.
If you’re looking for an economical Wah pedal that emulates the classic Vox Wah of the 60s that doesn’t cost a whole lot, the V845 Wah-Wah could be right up your alley. So, feel free to get your rock on with this incredibly sturdy pedal built to stand the test of time.
All the necessary inputs are there, as the V845 has a quarter-inch input for your instrument or an effects unit and a quarter-inch output for your amp or the next pedal in the effects chain. You’ll also find a power jack next to the output port for the power adapter, which is sold separately. The good thing about the Vox pedal is that it can also be powered by a 9V battery.
Built like a tank, this rugged pedal measures 2.95 inches by 4.01 inches by 9.92 inches and weighs around 2 lbs. The rubberized surface provides a good grip, and the smooth hinge facilitates smooth movement when the pedal is rocked back and forth. The base has four rubber feet to avoid slipping over a slippery stage floor.
Under the main pedal is a foot switch that gets activated when the toe end is pressed down. Once you hear a click, the pedal is activated. Just as a standard wah pedal works, pushing down accentuates the higher frequencies while pressing down on the heel side boosts the lower end. Something to note here is a noticeable volume loss at the bottom end when the heel is pressed down.
The Vox V845 has a very strong construction, ensuring durability even in your most enthusiastic Wah Wah sessions. Getting that 60s Wah tone at such an affordable price is the stuff dreams are made of. The pedal goes toe to toe with some of the much more expensive units.
The footswitch below the pedal is a bit stubborn, to begin with, and takes some time to get more responsive. While the sweep between the frequencies is smooth, it may be too abrupt for the specialist Wah user. Also, the V845 doesn’t have true bypass, so trained ears can pick out a slight coloration in the sound.
2. Ibanez WH10 V3 Wah Pedal
The WH10 V3 has a wide array of features that separates it from the more basic Wah pedals in the market.
The WH series from Ibanez offers a series of Wah pedals, with the first version released back in the 80s. The V1 was encased in plastic, while the brand has employed metal in the V2 and V3 versions to add durability and longevity to the units.
Instruments and pedals from Ibanez have been the primary choice for many top musicians worldwide. If you’re a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, you’ll be happy to know that the WH10 has been the centerpiece of John Frusciante’s pedal for years, so if you want to emulate that sound, you need to get your hands on this beast.
- Appearance & I/O
Measuring 8 by 3.9 by 3.3 inches, the WH10 has a metallic base that houses all the internal circuitry. The treadle has a rubbery feel to ensure that your foot has firm contact while rocking back and forth. The back of the unit is where you find all the I/O jacks. The pedal has a quarter-inch input for your guitar and bass and a similar-sized output for connecting to an amp. Both I/O ports can accommodate a signal from an effects unit or going out to one.
- Electric or Bass?
No need to feel left out if you’re a bass player and need a decent Wah pedal at your disposal. The ever-versatile WH10 has a switch in its control layout that helps toggle between bass and electric guitar settings. The pedal provides a Wah range of 350Hz to 2.2kHz for electric guitars and 175Hz to 1.1kHz when the bass setting is selected. Of course, you can also try the bass range on the electric guitar and vice versa for some interesting tonal options.
Unlike some Wah pedals that give you more control over the Wah’s depth, the control layout on the WH10 has a “Depth” knob labeled 0 to 10. The control lets you choose the intensity and gain of the Wah effect. Before the 12 o’clock position, the intensity decreases by 6dB. As the depth knob is rotated to the right, the signal will become more overdriven with a boost of up to +12dB when the knob goes past the noon position.
- Bypass Switch
Another unique feature of the pedal is that it offers a switch for toggling between “True” and “Buffered” bypass. With the true bypass feature, the signal entering the pedal will go straight through without entering the pedal’s circuitry, while in a buffered bypass setting, even when the pedal is off, the signal will pass through the circuitry on its way to the output jack.
If you’re looking for a Wah pedal that deviates from the simpler designs and gives you more controls to adjust your sound, the WH10 V3 is an excellent choice. You can choose between true and buffered bypass options, with a separate frequency range for bass and electric guitars. Furthermore, if you’re not happy with the intensity and gain of the effect, the depth knob will take care of it.
Although the pedal’s overall quality is good, a few contact points may come off and require gluing. Also, the footswitch under the treadle is a bit flimsy. Considering the features that this pedal is packed with, the hefty price tag is somewhat justifiable. However, there are other pedals out there that offer the same tones and can be bought for a lot less.
3. Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah
The “AW” stands for Auto Wah, which explains why the pedal differs from the standard expression pedal design.
The Boss AW-3 is a great example of how a Wah pedal doesn’t necessarily need a treadle to deliver a barrage of expressive Wah tones successfully. The great thing about Boss pedals is that they always bring something new to the table. It’s amazing how such a simple-looking device offers so much variation.
For those who are unfamiliar with what the Auto Wah pedal does, in a nutshell, the pick attack of the player determines the intensity and timing of the Wah. That way, you can give your foot a rest as all the magic is conjured up by your playing hand. Although it may take some getting used to, once you have the technique down, the Auto Wah is a lot of fun.
As with most Boss pedals, you get multiple modes on the Boss AW-3. In the “Up” setting, you get more filtering in the higher frequencies. Consequently, the “Down” setting shifts the filtering to the lower frequencies making your instrument sound considerably low. Finally, the “Sharp” mode produces a stronger, more intense Wah effect when the filter moves from lower to higher frequencies. Finally, the other two modes select the “Humanizer” and “Tempo” modes.
- Manual, Sense & Decay Controls
The multifunctional “Manual” and “Sense” knobs control different aspects in different modes. If you want to set the frequency for the Wah to come into effect, you can play around with the Manual knob. Through the Sense control, you can adjust the intensity of the Wah effect at the set frequency. Both these knobs control different aspects in the Humanizer mode.
As the name of the mode suggests, when the “Humanizer” setting is selected, it gives the instrument some vocal characteristics. The Manual and Sense knobs now act as “Vowel 1” and “Vowel 2” controls. You’ll be able to see how both are marked with “a,” “e,” “i,” “o,” and “u” letters. Combining the first and second vowel controls makes your guitar sound like a human voice according to the selected letters. This feature is quite amazing and surely sets the Boss AW-3 apart from conventional Wah pedals.
Last but not least, when the “Tempo” mode is selected, you can tap the footswitch on the AW-3 to set the tempo of the Wah effect. The same can be done by connecting the pedal with an external footswitch. In the Tempo setting, the footswitch must be pressed down for 2 seconds to let the pedal know that the tempo is about to be set. The last step is to tap the switch according to the desired speed. The “Check” light will blink in sync with the tempo that has been set.
- I/O Options
Like most Boss pedals, the input/output options on the AW-3 are plenty. On the input section on the pedal’s right, you’ll see dedicated quarter-inch jacks for bass and electric guitar. A quarter-inch output for connecting to an amp or the next effects unit is on the right side. Finally, you’ll also see a port labeled “EXP/CTL” to connect with a footswitch or expression pedal. The compatible expression pedals (sold separately) include the FV-500L, Roland EV-5, FV-500H, and the EV-30, while the FS-5U footswitch can be used to set the tempo of the unit. Connecting an expression opens doors to more possibilities as you can control the humanizer and Wah effects with enhanced control.
You get unlimited options with the Boss AW-3. The pedal not only offers several exciting modes to shape the tone of your sound, but you also get a uniquely engineered Humanizer mode which adds vocal expression to your instruments. In addition, the multifunctional effects unit accommodates basses and electric guitars while allowing the user to connect expression pedals and footswitches.
This Auto Wah unit does a lot for the money but may seem a bit complicated for a beginner or intermediate-level players. The sounds are all there but are somewhat difficult to find as there are several knob controls to work with. The Humanizer mode adds a new dimension to your sound but is somewhat of an acquired taste. Some conventional players may think of it as an unnecessary feature.
4. Dunlop Crybaby GCB95
Here’s the modern reincarnation of the original Crybaby Wah pedal released in 1966.
The Jim Dunlop Crybaby has an instant recall as this immensely popular pedal got everyone hyped up about the exciting world of Wah effects. The GCB95 is a “modern” adaptation of the original Dunlop Cry Baby design that keeps the soft, dynamic nature of the original while enhancing the Wah sound for the musicians of today.
In addition, it has enhanced parts for quieter operation and a longer lifespan. So if you are looking for a Wah that is easy to use and likes to keep things straightforward, this might be the perfect Wah pedal for you. And when you’re getting all the Wah goodness at such an affordable price, what more can you ask for?
When it comes to the appearance, there isn’t a whole lot going on. The pedal will surely please those musicians who go by the credo, “The simpler the better.” On the Cry Baby you get a quarter inch instrument input and an output that can go straight to an amp or to the next effects unit on the pedal board.
- Sound Characteristics
The renowned Fasel Inductor is used by the Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby Standard Wah Pedal to provide a high-end, aggressive wah-wah sound reminiscent of Hendrix’s guitars.The Hot Potz 100 kOhm potentiometer enables the pedal to produce wah effects that are abrupt and quick, making them ideal for solo performances.
- No Coloration
The GCB95’s high impedance guarantees that the original guitar tone won’t sound distorted. When playing somewhere without access to electric outlets, the GCB95 can be powered by a 9V battery. The pedal can also be powered by a 9V AC adaptor.
With a contemporary twist, it still makes the distinctive Cry Baby sound and is made with an extremely durable rack and gear system. With its customized HotPotz potentiometer, the response is buttery smooth. Additionally, it is inexpensive.
If you’re looking for something to get your hands on and have some tone adjustment controls, this is not the pedal for you. It is also similar to but not exactly the 60’s wah original sound. The treadle doesn’t have a lot of travel so you get a lesser range of motion.
5. Behringer HB01 Hellbabe Optical Wah Pedal
The Wah pedal was bound to appear on the list because of its features.
Behringer has always brought forth good options for musicians who want decent control over their guitar tones in an affordable package. As a proud owner of the HB01 myself, I can say that this pedal has been a real workhorse for me in my early days as a guitar player, and never was I let down by its performance.
Hard as a rock with its metallic base and hard plastic construction, the pedal measures 4.7″ by 3.8″ by 10″ and weighs about 2.6 lbs. The controls, too, seem solid, and the rocker is layered with a rubber pattern to ensure firm contact. The base is equipped with 4 rubber feet which keep the pedal in place on the floor.
- Inputs & Outputs
The pedal has a quarter-inch input and a power jack on the right side. The HB01 also works with a 9V battery that can be inserted into the unit by opening the battery compartment under the unit. Plugging in a guitar cable will automatically power the unit when the batteries are inserted. An LED will light up to confirm that the unit is on. The LED will also dim over time to indicate when the battery is running out.
- Basic Usage
You won’t find a footswitch under the treadle that can be pressed to activate the pedal. Instead, the pedal will be activated when your foot is put on the rocker and moved. The duration of the pedal being active can be set through a time adjustment control below the unit. For example, turning the control to the right shortens the time it takes for the pedal to remain active once the foot is removed.
- Range Control
The pedal has a large silver knob that controls the “Range” of the lower frequency when the heel is down. Marked “High” and “Low,” the range control can also come in handy when a bass guitar is plugged into the pedal. Adjusting the range allows the user to set the frequency range between 440Hz and 250Hz.
- Boost Control
The HB01 has a “Boost” switch which helps toggle the boost feature, increasing the output level if the pedal is active. A corresponding boost knob on the pedal’s other side can set the boost’s level. The knob isn’t labeled but can boost the output signal by a maximum value of 15dB.
- Q & Fine Controls
The Q value is related to the thickness of the frequency curve. The HB01 has a dedicated control knob that allows the user to change the shape of the peak filter. When the knob is moved clockwise, it produces a larger peak with a higher output. When moved in the opposite direction, the internal circuitry decreases the output level and reduces the vocal nature of the Wah effect.
Being such an economical pedal, the HB01 is a great first Wah pedal, for starters. You get plenty of controls to experiment with and learn how to shape your Wah sound. The pedal doesn’t have a separate input for basses, but the Range knob comes in handy if a bass is connected. The Boost feature brings more character and enhancement to the output signal.
The treadle on this pedal doesn’t have much distance to travel compared to other Wah pedals, so you may not get the wider range of motion you’re looking for. You’ll have to make very subtle movements to get more Wah to work with. The large Range knob on the right side feels a bit cheap, although the rest of the pedal seems quite solid.
6. MXR CAE Dual Inductor Wah Wah
The MXR CAE is the product of the creative collaboration between Custom Audio Electronics and Dunlop.
Designed by the very creative Mr. Bob Bradshaw, the guitar system designer at Custom Audio Electronics, alongside the think tanks at Dunlop, this Dual Inductor Wah Wah has many hidden attributes that come to the fore when you start manipulating the controls on board. The design is rather simple, so you won’t have to dig too deep to get the sound you need.
Having this dual technology gives this pedal a split personality, so to speak. You pay for a single unit but get two Wah pedals instead, thanks to the two inductors hidden inside the rugged exterior. Another great thing about the pedal is that it uses true bypass circuitry, so the audio signal passes through uncolored when the device is off.
The pedal measures 6 by 3 by 2 inches and weighs 3.5lbs. There’s a single quarter-inch guitar input on the right side and an output for the amp on the left. You’ll also find the power jack here, through with the pedal, can be powered using the prescribed power supply sold separately. The MXR CAE also runs on batteries, and a 9V battery can be inserted in the compartment below the unit to power it.
Looks can be deceiving. The pedal may seem simple initially, with limited controls around it, but you’d be pleasantly surprised by what it can do. Inside the unit’s hard exterior are two inductors dubbed “Yellow” and “Red.” The pedal has a stud-like switch on the right side, which can be toggled to select the inductors. When unpressed, the yellow inductor is selected by default. If you’re looking for the classic Crybaby sound, this setting will easily get you there. When the inductor switch is pressed in, the red inductor gets activated.
- Sound Comparison
Thanks to the dual inductors, the MXR CAE offers two different Wah effects. The first inductor sounds deep and warm and has a rich Wah tone. The lower end is favored, while it has a more subdued presentation in the upper register. The second inductor dishes out a classic Wah tone with more vocal qualities that sound much brighter and more profound.
The MXR CAE also has a boost feature. Another stud-shaped button can toggle the mode on the side of the unit. Once activated, the boost level can be controlled via the boost knob. Regardless of the position of the rocker, you can boost the output signal up to 16dB.
The dual inductor technology is what makes this pedal stand out. It gives the user two Wah voicings to benefit from depending on the mood and the nature of the playing. Now you can add a subtle Wah Wah to those clean chord progressions and boost the pedal when switching to the other inductor to dish out some face-melting distorted guitar solos.
The stud buttons on either side are a bit flimsy. If you’re not careful, you might end up knocking one off with your foot in an attempt to activate the required mode. Also, some users have complained that the rocker makes a squeaking noise when moved. Finally, cheaper Wah pedals in the market outperform the MXR CAE in some aspects.
7. Hotone Soul Press II
Perhaps the most visually appealing pedal on our list today, the Hotone Soul Press II, is impressive.
Over the years, Hotone has made a name for itself by offering a wide range of products in different categories, including multi-effects processors, expression pedals, audio interfaces, midi controllers, and much more. The Soul Press II is one such expression pedal that got nominated for the 37th Tec Awards due to its design and multipurpose functionality.
The pedal has a solid construction and differs in size compared to the older version. Measuring 3.1 x 6.3 x 2 inches, the Soul Press II falls between a micro pedal and a full unit. Not only does this pedal look unique, but it has some amazing features regarding its sounds and multiple capabilities.
- Inputs and Outputs
The pedal has a single quarter-inch input jack for your guitar and a power port on the unit’s right. You can also power the unit using a 9 Volt better by unscrewing the battery compartment on the underside of the device. On the left side, you get three different output jacks. The “EXP OUT” jack can connect the Soul Press II to any compatible device that allows expression pedal connectivity.
This is where things get interesting, as the Soul Press II isn’t as simple as you may think. This little pedal has three different modes. First, you can use the unit as a volume expression pedal in the volume setting. You can play gentle volume swells or slightly cut back on the volume to convert that overdriven tone to a crunch tone. So, in the volume setting, you go from 0% to 100% volume and get everything in between.
- Flashy LEDs
The LEDs around the exterior of the Hotone Soul Press II add to its beauty. Depending on which mode you’re in, the LEDs will change accordingly. Green and blue lights depict the volume and Wah settings. You’ll also find a series of “Status” LEDs on the edge of the pedal, which just looks downright cool. There are four square lights in all, which correspond to the rocker’s angle, indicating the effect’s intensity.
- Tone & Q
You’ll find two different voicings when the pedal is in Wah mode. The “Warm” setting rolls off the high end and delivers a more mellow Wah effect. The “Classic” mode sounds brighter with an enhanced higher end and a more vocalized Wah. The neighboring Q control lets you set the point that sweeps across the selected frequency depending on the Warm or Classic setting.
The Hotone is a beast of a pedal and can be used in four different ways. You can use it solely as a Wah or Volume pedal while you can also activate and toggle between both modes simultaneously. Not only that, but you can use the Soul Press as an expression pedal for any compatible effects unit. The tone and Q controls give you a lot of variation, and the overall presentation looks fantastic.
You may encounter some noise when in Wah mode and feel that there isn’t enough sustain on the Wah tones. The pedal has a solid metal exterior, but some components crucial to its functionality are made of plastic, thus very delicate and prone to damage after extended use.
8. Donner Mini Dynamic Wah
The lesser-known Donner is a brand that offers micro pedals for every single effect out there.
You’ve probably seen these tiny neon-colored pedals on Amazon. The Donner range includes pedals like the Yellow Delay, White Tuner, White Looper, Red Octaver, Green Reverb & Noise Gate, Blue Overdrive & Compressor, and of course, the Purple Auto Wah, which we’re talking about today. Donner’s products are surprisingly good, which is why they regularly feature on some of our posts.
When you picture a Wah pedal, your mind immediately goes to the typical expression pedal-style Crybaby design. However, Auto Wah pedals rely purely on your pick attack or fingerpicking intensity to deliver Wah-like tones, so the absence of a rocker doesn’t hinder their functionality, as was seen in the rundown of the Boss AW-3 earlier.
The tiny pedal measures just 3.6 by 1.5 by 1.25 inches and weighs a minuscule 0.4 lbs. You can adjust the bite-sized device anywhere on your pedal board with ease. The outside casing is made of solid Aluminum, and the pedal features a quarter-inch input and an output for your amp or external effects unit. The device is too small to accommodate a battery and is solely run by a 9V power supply which can be plugged into the back of the unit.
- Sens & Res
The “Sens” (short for sensitivity) knob controls the sensitivity of the Wah effect. This control essentially sets the intensity with which the strings must be plucked to let the Wah come into effect. Increasing the sensitivity will bring the Wah to life with just a gentle pick of the strings, while you’ll need more force when the sensitivity is dialed down. The “Res” control is like an equalizer. This means that as the knob is turned up, you’ll hear more top-end frequencies and a much brighter tone. Dialed back, the Wah is darker and a lot mellow.
- Range & Decay
The largest knob on the pedal’s interface is the “Range” knob. The knob shapes the Wah sound as the rocker on an expression pedal would. Turning it to the far right mimics the “toe-down” position and lets more of the top end shine through. Finally, being a time-bound feature, the “Decay” parameter helps set the time it takes for the filter frequency to come to rest. In other words, this mimics how fast or slow your foot moves the treadle back and forth on an expression pedal.
This diminutive pedal is built like a tank and hardly takes up any space on your board. You’ll get decent control over your Wah sounds based on the controls on board. The device has analog circuitry and offers true bypass. There aren’t a lot of alternatives in the market that offer so much control over your sound at such a low price.
The tiny size of the Donner Mini Dynamic Wah does have its downsides. The smaller knobs are too close to each other, and the larger Range knob is. Surely, you’ll end up changing parameters inadvertently, which can be frustrating during a live performance. For those who prefer the subtleties and nuances of an expression pedal, the Auto Wah can be a hard pill to swallow.
9. Xotic XW-1 Wah
Xotic is a small company from South Carolina which is big on all things guitars.
If you’re looking for boutique pedals and high-end custom shop instruments, the people at Xotic have you covered. Starting with manufacturing bass guitars and pedals in 1996, the company has branched out in several different areas and now offers custom bass and electric guitars, mini pedals, expression pedals, and much more.
The X series features some unique expression pedals. The XVP series is all about volume pedals where the XVP-25K offers low impedance, and the XVP-250K is the high impedance variant. The XW subseries focuses purely on Wah pedals and offers the XW-1 Xotic Wah and a limited edition XW-1 Xotic Wah Lake Placid Blue model.
The boutique Wah pedal measures 8.27 by 3.94 by 2.64 inches and weighs 2.1 lbs. You’ll find a quarter-inch input and output on the pedal’s sides and a port for the 9V DC power supply, which needs to be purchased separately. The rocker is fitted with 4 rubber pads for smooth operation, and a premium feel. The pedal also has rubber feet underneath, which prevent it from slipping when in use.
- Bias Control
The “Bias” knob gives the pedal a slight boost in the output signal. The bass frequencies are enhanced, and the Wah effect becomes more prominent during the sweeping motion of the pedal when the knob is turned up. At the lower setting, the sound becomes a bit cleaner, and you’ll hear a Wah effect that is much cleaner.
- Q Control
The next knob on the pedal labeled “Wah-Q” controls the Q parameter. In simpler terms, you get control over the width of the peak by adjusting this control. As the Q value increases, the Wah will sound more pronounced and emulate a more vocal effect. However, when the Q is turned down, the Wah effect will become more glassy and subtle at the top of the sweep.
- EQ Controls & Sample Settings
The XW-1 Wah pedal comes with a two-band EQ. You’ll find separate knobs on the control strip that change the “Treble” and “Bass” of the Wah effect. Both controls offer a range of -15dB to +15dB, so you can easily shape your tone the way you like depending on the mood, playing style, and music genre. The good people at Xotic have also included some sample settings in the pedal’s documentation to help you get started if you’re directionless in the beginning.
This pedal gets you extremely close to some classic 60s Vox Wah voicings, thanks to the limited but effective controls on board. The Q control can take you from a gentle Wah Wah to an aggressively vocal Wah sound for different applications. The XW-1 also has a 2-band EQ, so you get total control over how bright or dark your sound can be. Also, the smaller size is just right for a cluttered pedal board.
Some users have noticed a slight gap or delay when the pedal is activated, which may not be that noticeable when playing clean tones but can be hard to ignore with high gain. Furthermore, many of you may be deterred by the huge price tag of this boutique pedal and may opt for something a little cheaper that does the same job.
10. Harley Benton Custom Line WP-60 Wah
The house brand of Thomann music is at it again, this time with its Wah expression pedal.
You’ve seen products from the Harley Benton range on several of our top guitars and basses list. However, there’s more to this brand than meets the eye. No slouch in the manufacturing of musical instruments, the brand offers not only harmonicas, violas, violins, steel guitars, ukuleles, and amps but has also ventured into the world of guitar effects.
The WP-60 Wah pedal is a great example of the typical approach from Harley Benton. Things don’t get any simpler. You get a decent emulation of the 60s Wah sound in a nicely built unit that hardly costs anything. So, what have you got to lose? This Harley Benton Wah pedal is worth checking out.
The pedal has a single instrument input and an output that connects to an effects unit or a guitar amplifier. The unit can be powered by a 9V DC adapter or a 9V battery inserted in the battery compartment below the unit. The unit comes with a battery, although you’ll need to purchase a power supply separately. The WP-60 measures 9.9 x 2.6 x 3.9 inches and weighs 3.6 lbs. The unit has 4 rubber feet which keep it nicely in place when in use, and the treadle has a rubber pad for a firm grip.
There is a footswitch under the toe end of the rocker. When the Wah is activated, the rocker must be pressed down on the footswitch until the button is clicked. In addition, the rocker has an adjustment crew near the heel end which can be adjusted per user preference to control the resistance by using the L-key in the box.
The pedal is quite responsive, with a profound sweep over the range of motion. The Wah effect seems brighter and trebly when the toe end is pressed down. Pushing the heal down makes the sound warmer with more bass. If you want to check how the Wah pedal sounds while playing different genres, you can simply head over to the pedal’s webpage on the Thomann website and select different styles from the sound applet to decide if the unit is the right choice for you.
This particular pedal from Harley Benton covers all the basics well. You get a decent sweep through the frequency spectrum as you move the treadle back and forth, and the build quality is good for the price. Speaking of the price, few products in the market can compete with Thomann’s house brand.
You won’t find any controls on the pedal whatsoever, so if you’re looking to tweak the stock sound, you’re out of luck. No bass, treble, Q, or boost options here, so you may want to pay a little extra to be able to adjust different aspects of your Wah effect. Furthermore, the pedal gets considerably noisy when used with distortion.
11. JOYO WAH-II
After the successful release of the more standard-looking Wah-I comes the new and improved Wah-II.
Over the years, the company called “Joyo” has considerably upped its game by delivering a diverse range of products, including traditional Chinese instruments, preamps, guitar amplifiers, audio interfaces, metronomes, tuners, and guitar pedals that not only sound great but are easy on the wallet too.
The Wah-I is designed for users who want the basics done right with a few controls to fine-tune the sound of the effect. However, unlike its predecessor, the Joyo Wah-II takes things to the next step and comes with switches, multiple knob controls, and a range selector, which makes things quite interesting.
- The Switch
You get two effects in this Wah-II pedal. A switch on its right side can toggle between “Wah/Vol” and “Wah/Bypass.” The pedal operates in Wah mode in the first setting and offers a frequency sweep. Pressing down on the footswitch at the toe end activates the volume mode. The volume is completely choked when the heel is down. However, in the toe-down setting, more of the volume is delivered.
- Minimum Volume Control
By default, when the pedal is in Volume mode, the rocker moves between 0% and 50% volume. However, with the volume control, you can adjust this range to your liking. You can bring subtle nuances, and profound volume swells into your playing thanks to the volume mode and control knob.
- Q Control
The “Quality” knob is, in fact, a Q control for the Wah mode. Perhaps one of the most sought-after features on a Wah pedal is the Q, as it determines which part of the frequency spectrum peaks when the pedal rocker is moved back and forth. You can crank up the Q to have a brighter, more open-sounding Wah or mellow it down to make it sound warmer and more subtle when the Quality knob is turned down.
The “Range” knob has 6 different frequency settings. A quick rundown is as follows: 1st Position: 500Hz – 2.3kHz, 2nd Position: 450Hz – 2.0kHz, 3rd Position: 430Hz – 1.8kHz, 4th Position: 400Hz – 1.6kHz, 5th Position: 360Hz – 1.5kHz, 6th Position: 350Hz – 1.3kHz. The advantage of this feature is that you can assign which frequency range the treadle will sweep through, which lets the user fine-tune the sound of the effect in detail.
The construction of the pedal is solid, and the controls respond nicely. The Wah Range selection feature is good to have as you can customize the behavior of the Wah sweep. The Q control helps position the sweep, letting you choose between warm and bright tones. In addition, the pedal can be bypassed or switched to a simultaneous Wah/volume mode with the flick of a switch.
The footswitch on the Joyo Wah II is a bit stubborn and takes some force to activate, which can be annoying when playing while sitting down. You may also miss activating it on cue when playing live stage. There are other imperfections, too, like switching the range knob generates a popping noise when used with distortion.
12. Mooer Envelope Analog Auto Wah
Being a relatively new brand, Mooer has been around for a little over a decade.
Started by four friends who shared a passion for music, the company entered the music scene in 2010. Their product range includes multi-effects units, audio interfaces, preamps, amplifiers, guitar accessories, and miniature guitar pedals, which have helped the company carve a name for itself.
The Mooer Envelop pedal is another unit that works on the principle of Auto Wah, putting your playing hand in the driver’s seat to produce some creative Wah incarnations. It’s true when they say, “Good things come in small packages,” as you’ll see how true this statement holds when we discuss this tiny magic box in more detail.
If you look at the Mooer Auto Wah and compare it to the Donner Auto Wah unit, you’ll see that the layout is the same. Both have a single footswitch design with a larger control knob in the center and a row of three smaller control knobs to adjust different aspects of the Auto Wah effect. The single input takes in the signal from a guitar or an effects pedal, and the single output can connect to the next effects unit or a guitar amplifier.
The self-explanatory “Sensitivity” knob acts like the rocker on an expression pedal. You can decrease the level of sensitivity or increase it depending on how much of the Wah effect should be manifested. However, being an Auto Wah pedal, the Mooer expects the player to generate the Wah by alternating the intensity of the pick attack/fingerpicking.
- Q Control
The “Q” value can be manipulated by adjusting the first smaller-sized knob. Moving the knob in a clockwise direction makes for a higher, narrower peak delivering an exaggerated Wah sound. Turning the Q value down widens the bandwidth and lowers the peak of the Wah effect, making it mellow and subtle.
Next to the Q control is the “Decay” control. Being a time-bound feature, the Decay parameter helps recreate the movement of your foot on the expression pedal. As you move the knob to the right, the decay increases, which means that the filter takes longer to come to rest.
The last knob is the control strip is the “Tone” knob. As the name suggests, this parameter works like an equalizer. You can brighten your tone by rotating the knob clockwise or darken it by moving it the other way. You can add static frequency filtering to the mix by turning the sensitivity control down and adjusting the tone.
Nice and compact, the pedal is easily added to an overcrowded pedal board. The Sensitivity knob gives you substantial control over the Wah’s response and comes in handy when adjusting to instruments with different output levels. Finally, you get enough controls on the pedal to accommodate bass and electric guitar sounds.
The pedal could benefit from a volume control for the output signal. Secondly, it’s all about preference when it comes to Auto Wah pedals. You may train your hands to generate that funky Wah sound, while others may prefer the control an expression pedal provides. The Mooer Auto Wah can be a good place to start, but as you reach an advanced level, you may switch to something that offers more control.
1. Dunlop Kirk Hammett Signature Wah
With all the talk focused around Wah pedals, it would be absurd if a certain someone’s name didn’t come up.
If you guessed “Kirk Hammett,” you’re probably one of those metal heads who grew up listening to some of the most iconic riffs and gut-wrenching solos by the legendary lead guitarist of arguably the greatest metal bands of all time…Metallica. As a guitar player myself, Kirk’s profound and hugely popular guitar solos had a major influence on me and are what got me hooked on the craft.
And the thing that stood out the most was his extensive usage of the Wah pedal. It was as if the pedal was fused to the underside of his foot, as whatever he played had an aspect of the Wah effect. The folks at Dunlop quickly picked up on this and delivered a Wah pedal that exhibits the same settings used by the maestro himself.
Everything about the look of this pedal pays homage to Kirk Hammett’s love for classic horror movies. You get a metallic exterior painted green with a treadle that is also crafted in metal. On the top of the treadle is a rubber grip with a skeleton foot and the initials “KH.” This pedal is a real head-turner. You get one input, one output, and a power jack. The pedal is also battery-operated and uses a 9V battery which goes into the compartment under the unit.
- What does the Jim Dunlop KH Signature Pedal Offer?
If you’re a Metallica fan, you’ll know that the “Black” album put the band on the map. The concerts slowly increased in scale from a smaller setting to stadiums jampacked with diehard, headbanging Metallica fans. Kirk would roam around on stage interacting with fans and doing what he did best, but rather than having 10 Wah pedals dispersed on stage; he would do it smartly.
- The Sound
So, you won’t find any controls on the pedal because if you didn’t want to sound like KH, you’d probably just go for a different unit altogether. This offering from Dunlop doesn’t get you close to the Metallica sound, but it IS the Metallica lead guitar sound. The treadle has a very smooth sweep across the frequency range. The highs are nice and bright but not shrill, and the mids can be growly and aggressive. Finally, the lows are smooth, so you get the perfect blend of sounds preferred by the man himself in a true bypass unit.
The Dunlop Kirk Hammett Signature Wah pedal nails that infamous Hammett Wah sound. The circuitry under the hood is flawless. As a result, the pedal is noise-free even in high-gain situations and very articulate in its sound delivery. The exterior looks wicked cool, and the rock-solid metal casing ensures that you’ll use this monster for years to come.
There is a small percentage of Wah fanatics who like getting into the details of tinkering with every parameter to make the sound their own. Well, there’s not much of that going on with the KH signature pedal. Besides that, the pedal is spot-on and gets you that exact Metallica sound you’ve been after all these years.
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..