The Top6 Wah-Wah Pedals

Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kirk Hammett, and Steve Vai are just a few of the guitar players who have used wah pedals to bring their music to another level.

But how do you pick the wah pedal that’s right for your style of playing? One wah pedal will bring smoothness but might not have enough cut, while another has amazing range but isn’t quite as responsive as you’d like. So choosing the right wah pedal is as important as choosing the right key for your solos.

Let’s take a look at six different wah pedals to see which one is best for you.

Ibanez WD7 Weeping Demon – Best Wah Pedal for Fast Tempo Playing

Featuring a range of customizable options, the Weeping Demon gives you full control over your sound. Housed in a solid metal case for maximum durability, this wah pedal is built for players who want a quick-response that can keep up with fast playing.

Tone Customization

What really sets the Weeping Demon apart is its tone customization. The range switch on the top allows you to toggle between a low and high-frequency response, depending on whether you want the wah to have a smooth hum or a more biting squeal.

You can then fine-tune this frequency response with level, Q, and low-frequency knobs. The level knob is especially helpful if you want your solos to ‘jump out’ of the mix when you engage the pedal.

Auto-Switch Mode

Perhaps one of the biggest complaints about wah pedals is how to engage them.

The Weeping Demon fixes this with its auto switch mode. This allows you to turn the wah off either instantly when the pedal is returned to full upright position, or with a slight delay if you want a smoother transition out of your solo.

As a bonus, on-off switching is also enabled via the level on the right side of the pedal.

We recommend the Weeping Demon for anyone who wants a wah pedal to suit a more aggressive guitar style.

Pros:

  • Tone customization
  • Full metal construction
  • Auto-switch mode

Cons:

  • Wah tone can be a bit sharp and bright.

Morley VAI-2 Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Contour – Most Customizable Wah Pedal

You know that if Steve Vai stands behind it then you really can’t go wrong. The Morley VAI-2 Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Contour—users just call it the ‘Bad Horsie’ for short—bears the marks of one of the best guitar players of a generation.

Reputed for its clear tone and quick response, the Bad Horsie sounds just like what its name describes: a galloping equine that demands you strap in for the ride.

Two Wah Modes

The ‘2’ in Bad Horsie refers to the two selectable wah modes this pedal offers: the Bad Horsie and the Contour wah. The Bad Horsie is the default mode and has a traditional, deeper wah sound. The Contour mode allows for EQ and level customization, so you can really make the sound your own.

Crystal Clear Tone

Regardless of which mode you’re using, the Bad Horsie has a clear tone buffer circuit that brings top-notch clarity without compromising signal level when the pedal is engaged or bypassed.

Brought down to the level of the solo, this ensures smooth transitions between engaging the pedal on and off.

We recommend the Morley VAI-2 Steve Vai Bad Horsie for anyone who wants that classic wah sound with a host of tone customization options.

Pros:

  • Two foot-selectable wah modes: Bad Horsie and Contour
  • Clear Tone buffer circuit ensures high fidelity signal
  • Switchless design engages and disengages wah automatically when pedal is activated

Cons:

  • Switchless design can turn the wah off too easily when pedal is brought to an upright position during playing

Ibanez WH10V2 Reissue Wah – Best 80s Style Wah Pedal

If you’re looking for that classic 80s wah sound, then the Ibanez WH10V2 is definitely worth checking out. A reissue of the classic WH10 made famous by players like Eddie Van Halen and John Frusciante, the WH10V2 features the same feedback opamp circuit that made the original shine, but this time it’s enclosed in a die-cast case.

Classic Customization

The original WH10 was known for its incredibly smooth, bright sound, and the WH10V2 Reissue carries on the tradition. This is primarily because it has the multiple feedback opamp circuit that made the original shine, as well as a dry out output and depth controls from +6db to +20db.

The opamp circuit, rarely found in today’s wah pedals, gives the WH10V2 its distinctive 80s sound. The dry out allows you to blend the wah with a dry signal for perfect balance, and the EQ means you can tweak even further as desired.

Improved Durability

One of the most common complaints about the original WH10 was that it just didn’t last on the road. The WH10V2 promises to fix this problem by featuring a die-cast case. This means that players don’t need to worry about stomping the pedal off and on while playing, and that it can withstand some more bumps and bruises on the road.

We recommend the WH10V2 for anyone who wants to capture that distinctively smooth 80s wah sound, but this time encased in a more durable shell.

Pros:

  • Multiple feedback opamp circuit
  • Dry out output for signal blending
  • Depth controls from +6db to +20db for tone customization

Cons:

  • The pot on the wah has a reputation for not lasting long enough, resulting in a scratchy high-range tone when the pedal is fully depressed

Rocktron Classic – Most Affordable Wah Pedal

If you’re looking for a wah pedal that gets the job done without breaking the bank, you need to check out the Rocktron Classic. This wah has the vintage tone that made the Dunlop Crybaby famous, but clocks in at a friendlier price.

Just the Basic Goods

The first thing to note about the Rocktron Classic is its vintage, musical tone. If you like a wah sound that is silky instead of sharp, then this has what you’re looking for. This pedal works especially well with single coil pickups, giving you that beautiful combination of warmth and cut.

This pedal is packaged in a highly durable all-metal chassis that is sure to weather any gig circuit you put it on. As a bonus the Rocktron comes equipped with a tension adjustment underneath the pedal. So whether you prefer a bit of resistance under your foot or want a pedal with a bit more slink, the Rocktron Classic has you covered.

We recommend the Rocktron to anyone who wants a vintage tone at a great price.

Pros:

  • Warm, vintage tone
  • Great price
  • Super durable

Cons:

  • No tone shaping options

Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini – Most Compact Wah Pedal

Ask any guitar player about wah pedals and the Dunlop Cry Baby will probably come to mind first. It is perhaps the most well-known wah pedal on the market, and for good reason. Its warm, supple tone is legendary and it sounds fantastic in virtually every style of music.

The Cry Baby Mini Wah shows that good things can come in even smaller packages. Running at half the size of the standard Cry Baby, the Cry Baby Mini packs all the tone-shaping features into a pedal that weighs only 1.1 pounds and that measures 5.2 inches long and 3 inches wide. If pedalboard real estate is a constant issue for you, the Cry Baby Mini is the solution.

All the Goods, Half the Size

The Cry Baby Mini doesn’t skimp on the tone-shaping goods, however. It has the legendary Fasel inductor, a sweep range that will compete with any wah pedal on the market, and three internally adjustable tone-settings: low, vintage and GCB95, which is the Cry Baby’s take on a fatter, more modern sweep.

It probably goes without saying that it also has true bypass switching. This means that when the wah is disengaged it won’t suck any of the higher or lower frequencies out of your tone, and will leave the dynamics of your guitar playing intact.

For anyone who wants a classic Cry Baby in half the size, you can’t go wrong with the Dunlop Cry Baby Mini.

Pros:

  • Half the size of the original Dunlop Cry Baby
  • Three internally adjustable voicings: low, vintage and the more modern GCB95
  • True bypass switching

Cons:

  • Small pedal can make it difficult to comfortably control the sweep

Donner 2 in 1 Vowel Mini – Most Versatile Wah Pedal

Some players just want a wah pedal. Other players just want a volume pedal. But many more players want both. The Donner 2 in 1 Vowel Mini makes that possible.

Combining a wah pedal and a volume (or expression) pedal in one compact device, the Donner 2 in 1 Vowel Mini gives you the flexibility to easily switch between modulating your playing with a wah and manipulating your dynamics with a volume effect.

Two is Better than One

The Donner 2 in 1 has an analog circuit design that gives its wah an extremely warm and smooth vintage tone. As a wah pedal alone, this makes it great for players looking for that older school tone.

What’s even better is that by depressing the pedal you can then switch to volume mode, allowing you to manipulate dynamics with ease. As a bonus, different colored LED lights on the pedal will always tell you exactly what mode you’re in.

Solid Design, Vintage Look

The Donner 2 in 1 Vowel Mini leaves a small footprint but still makes a statement. Clocking in at just 6 inches long and 2.7 inches wide, it won’t hog real estate on your pedal board. But it’ll stand out nonetheless, since it has a distinctive orange-red finish giving it a retro vibe that looks like it sounds.

We recommend the Donner 2 in 1 Vowel Mini to anyone who wants a well-made retro wah pedal that’s based on the original Cry Baby but expands its potential with a volume option.

Pros:

  • Wah pedal and volume pedal all in one
  • Analog circuit design with a wah response that’s based on the original Cry Baby
  • Different color LED lights indicate whether the pedal is in wah or volume mode

Cons:

  • Not an optical wah
  • No true bypass

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