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Best Wah Pedals On The Market

Top 5 Best Wah Pedals On The Market (September 2021)

The Best Wah Pedals On The Market - 2021

Wah pedals were developed in the early 1960's. They became a popular effect pedal because they mimicked the sound of an organ when played with an electric guitar. Wah pedals have become extremely popular over the past few decades, and are now used by a wide variety of musicians. They're great for adding a layer of weirdness to your sound. Being able to greatly affect your tone, wah pedals are an important part of the guitar sound. They come with a range of different types of controls, from simple volume knobs to switches that change the tone of your wah.

Wah pedals have been used in every genre thinkable at some point or another. However it's famously used in the rock and funk genres. A wah pedal pairs well with all kinds of music styles. If you're considering getting one, great! If you're not, then why not!?!

Add a wah pedal to a high gain overdrive or distortion pedal to make your sound even bigger and deeper than ever.

History

If you've been playing for a while, a fan of 70's rock and roll or funk music chances are you've heard of a wah pedal before. Wah is one of the most iconic effects in the rock guitar world. The most famous wah pedal of all time would have to be the Crybaby. Vox marketed this bad boy after an employee of the Thomas Organ company created. The pedal became common on the rock scene in the late 60's in the UK and Los Angeles, California.

Features

Many wah pedals simply come with an adjustable expression pedal mounted on the top. Perfect for you to increase or decrease the amount of wah effect at any given time. However some pedals will come with configurable controls underneath or at the bottom of the peddle. Controlling the range of wah by increasing the stiffness of the treadle action. Some basic pedals appear as if they have a gradual expression pedal feature. However they have a simple on/off mechanism only triggered when the pedal is fully pressed.

Skill Level

Wah pedals add a level of difficulty to the mix. Not only are you managing your hands while playing guitar but now you're having to use your feet in a co-ordinated fashion. It's simple enough if you're stomping on pedals to activate and deactivate them. With a wah pedal there is usually more to it than on and off. Timing is key and therefore a little more focus is required to make this effect a successful one. Practise often and you'll get the hang of it.

Conclusion

A wah effect is a powerful inclusion to any pedalboard. It might not be the easiest pedal to master but it's very satisfying when you do. Theres no denying that the wah-wah effect is one of the coolest must iconic pedals ever made. Getting one and wielding it well is a great way to show off your guitar skills. Use it to emphasise key notes in your riff or give your sound a little swagger. The wah effect can help you give your tone a personal touch. We've covered several key price ranges as well as what we consider to be the best pedals available right now. These lists are reviewed weekly and updated if needed. Keeping our recommendations as up to date as possible.

Jim Dunlop JP95 John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal Image

Jim Dunlop JP95

  • ✔ Factory Set To John Petrucci's Cry Baby Wah Settings
  • ✔ Phenomenal Tonal Control
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching
  • ✔ Beautiful Chrome Chassis

The Jim Dunlop JP95 John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah guitar effects pedal is the result of the legendary prog metal shredder’s years-long quest to hone his perfect wah tone.

Jim Dunlop JP95 John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Two side-mounted status LEDs
  • Internal controls for volume, Q and 6-band EQ
  • Factory set to John Petrucci's settings
  • JP Shield logo
  • Input / output: 6.3 mm mono jack
  • Power supply via 9 Volt battery or 9 Volt power supply
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 250 x 100 x 94 mm

The JP95 John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby® Wah is the result of the legendary prog metal shredder’s years-long quest to hone his perfect wah tone. For years, John used the Cry Baby Rack Wah system to tweak and fine-tune its numerous parameters until he found the sound that perfectly represents all the expression and intensity he needs. Recently, he and Dream Theater engineer Richard Chycki worked with the Cry Baby design team to replicate and further fine-tune that sound with a single pedal. This is a wah that, as John puts it, “sounds huge and badass like an angry, screaming monster with the ultimate expressive range—it‘s perfect for shaping single notes or manipulating growling, heavy chords.”

Factory set to John’s personal settings, the JP95 features all the controls he used to find his Cry Baby voice: Volume to add gain, Q to shape the width of the effect, and a 6-band EQ to shape the tone of the wah sound, from 100Hz to 3.2KHz. Want to fine-tune the sound to your own preference? Just take off the bottom plate and tweak away.

The John Petrucci Signature Cry Baby Wah comes in a sturdy, road-ready housing with custom smoked chrome finish and JP shield logo tread.

Overall a very vocal sounding wah pedal. With deep lows and smooth highs in the stock settings, with very nice midrange. Do not expect to get a classic wah wah "wacka-wacka" sound out of the box with this particular pedal. As it's setup to emulate Petrucci's unique sound. it's a fantastic sounding pedal and well worth adding to your pedalboard!


MXR MC404 CAE Wah Pedal Image

MXR MC404 CAE Wah Pedal

  • ✔ Custom Designed CTS Potentiometer
  • ✔ User Selectable Gain Output Stage With Kick Switch
  • ✔ Built In Boost/LineDriver
  • ✔ True Bypass Switching

The MXR MC404 CAE Wah guitar effects pedal features dual Fasel inductors with two distinct voices and a built-in MXR MC401 Boost/LineDriver adds even more flexibility.

MXR MC404 CAE Wah Pedal - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Custom-designed CTS Extended Life
  • True bypass
  • Battery or Dunlop adapter
  • Made in USA

The MC404 CAE Wah was developed by Bob Bradshaw of Custom Audio Electronics and the Cry Baby design team with the goal of creating a highly versatile wah-wah of top-grade components. It features dual Fasel inductors with two distinct voices (high-end emphasis or low to mid resonance), and a built-in MXR MC401 Boost/LineDriver adds even more flexibility.

Choose between inductors and turn the boost on or off with the side-mounted kickswitches; bright LEDs on each side of the wah indicate operation status. The MC404 boasts true hardwire bypass, a long-life CTS potentiometer, and internal pots for "Q" and gain adjustments.

This wah is manufactured by Dunlop but was designed by Bob Bradshaw, which makes it more of a CAE than a Dunlop. Having the red and yellow settings is like having two wahs in one, both of which are awesome in their own respects. The red has a deep voice that's somewhat muddy. The yellow could be described as a funky, well balanced tone.

The boost function is an excellent touch, adding a nice helping of overdrive which you can tailor to your sound without creating a bunch of nasty feedback.

Overall we love everything about this pedal, from the tone and the ease of operation, right down to the LEDs and durable chassis. Well worth considering!


Dunlop SW95 Slash Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal Image

Dunlop SW95 Slash Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal

  • ✔ Modelled After Slash's Legendary Wah-Wah Tone
  • ✔ Searing High Gain Distortion
  • ✔ Die Cast Chassis
  • ✔ 2 Million Cycle Potentiometer

The Dunlop SW95 Slash Signature Cry Baby guitar effects pedal is both revolutionary and classic, right down to its hot rod metallic red finish and cutting edge circuit design.

Dunlop SW95 Slash Signature Cry Baby Wah Pedal - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • High gain distortion/wah (separately/simultaneously activated)
  • Original fasel coil
  • 2 Status LEDs
  • Stable metal housing
  • 2x 9v batteries or optional power supply
  • The official Slash sound

Like the man himself, the Slash Cry Baby Wah is both revolutionary and classic, right down to its hot rod metallic red finish and cutting edge circuit design. The Slash Wah deploys a searing high gain distortion coupled with the Fasel-loaded Classic circuit for instant lead tone that not only cuts through, but sings with a sweet and lush top end.

Convenient LEDs indicate distortion on/off and wah on/off modes, so there's no more guessing game every time you put your foot down. And with the batteries readily accessible from the top of the rocker pedal, you don't have to fumble with a screwdriver when it's time to re-power. So get your boot on a Dunlop Slash Wah.

Overall we're in love with this pedal. We have a few Slash fans on the team so this pedal is of particular interest to some. The Dunlop SW95 Slash Signature Cry Baby guitar effects pedal has 4 big rubber grips attached to the base, its grip is so good that the pedal will always keep steady and won't slip away your foot even with intense use.
Volume and Gain knobs are very useful to control how much distortion to use and how loud you want it to be. The knobs are AMP looking knobs and are a really good quality chrome design.

Please note - Top hat not included.

 


BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah Pedal Image

BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah Pedal

  • ✔ Features Decay, Manual, Sensitivity & Mode Control Knobs
  • ✔ Humanizer Effect - Creates Human Voice Type Vowel Sounds
  • ✔ Manual Mode - Set Tempo To Fixed Rate
  • ✔ Separate Guitar & Bass Inputs

The BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah guitar effects pedal gives guitarists a wide range of classic auto-wah and dynamic wah effects, plus a new "Humanizer" effect which can simulate human vowel sounds.

BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah Pedal - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Compact pedal creates a variety of classic "wah" effects
  • Dynamic wah sounds provide variable effect based on picking strength
  • "Humanizer" effect creates human voice-type vowel sounds
  • Dedicated Bass input for processing bass guitar
  • EXP Pedal mode allows wah control via optional expression pedal
  • Tempo can be set for pedal control or at fixed rate via Manual mode
  • BOSS five-year warranty

The BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah pedal gives guitarists a wide range of classic auto-wah and dynamic wah effects, plus a new "Humanizer" effect which can simulate human vowel sounds. A Bass input provides a variety of funky wah sounds for bass guitar.

The AW-3 Dynamic Wah is the first compact wah pedal to incorporate human voice-type sounds through a new “Humanizer” Mode. Of course, you can also choose from standard up-and-down wah effects, plus a Tempo Mode and resonant synth-like Sharp Mode.

Choose from both fixed and auto wah settings using the Manual control or pedal for tempo input. By connecting an optional expression pedal, the AW-3 can also be used for Pedal Wah effects. A dedicated Bass input permits direct processing of bass guitars.

Something a little different from the other wah pedals we've reviewed so far. This recommendation is an 'auto' wah pedal rather than the manual ones resembling the Cry baby design. This gives you the ability to mix things in your performances without even flexing your ankle. The AW-3 will do all the heavy lifting for you. You just need to decide which of the many different configurations is right for you.


BOSS PW-3 Wah Pedal Image

BOSS PW-3 Wah Pedal

  • ✔ Vintage Mode - Familiar Classic Wah Sound
  • ✔ Rich Mode - Retains Low-End Fullness
  • ✔ Space Saving Small Sized Design
  • ✔ Die-Cast Aluminum Chassis

Unlike other pedals that sacrifice feel and functionality when trimmed down in size, the BOSS PW-3 Wah Pedal strikes the perfect balance between practicality and playability.

BOSS PW-3 Wah Pedal - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now
  • Unique Rich mode retains low-end fullness, eliminating the thin tone of typical wah designs
  • Vintage mode for the familiar classic wah sound
  • Low-noise operation and pro playing feel with smooth pivot action and adjustable tension
  • Space-saving design fits easily on crowded pedalboards
  • Rugged, die-cast aluminum chassis provides a rock-solid feel and gig-ready durability
  • On/off LEDS on each side of the pedal make it easy to see status at a glance

The all-analog PW-3 delivers pro wah tones in a rugged, space-saving design that conserves precious real estate on your pedalboard. Newly developed by BOSS, the PW-3’s Rich mode has a uniquely full wah voice that retains the low-end definition and fullness lost with typical wah circuits. Want a more traditional tone? Just flip the rear-panel switch to Vintage mode for that classic wah vibe.

Unlike other pedals that sacrifice feel and functionality when trimmed down in size, the PW-3 strikes the perfect balance between practicality and playability. Its die-cast aluminum chassis is solid and substantial underfoot, and the long, smooth pedal action is highly responsive and feels great. Another issue with downsized pedals is that it’s hard to see when the effect is on or off, because your foot blocks the view. The PW-3 solves this with status LEDs on each side of the pedal, making it much easier to see when the wah is activated.

Overall we think that BOSS have done well with the PW-3. It's rich mode is interesting but we think the vintage mode has the nicest sound. We'd be doing you an injustice if we didn't quote this review, it really does sum up BOSS pedals in general.

"It's also built like a tank. It's literally armoured. It's probably bullet proof."


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