WHACKA-CHACKA-WAH! Get the most from your pedal
Guitar Techniques|March 2021
In this exclusive feature Jamie Humphries looks at how to get the best from the not-so-humble wah-wah pedal, including a host of example licks plus three full study pieces covering funk, blues and rock styles.
Jamie Humphries

ABILITY RATING

Moderate/Advanced

Info

Key Various

Tempo Various

CD TRACKS 4-15

Will improve your…

Creative use of the wah-wah pedal

Stylistic versatility

General rhythm and lead skills

The wah-wah pedal is perhaps the most ubiquitous of all effects pedals, having been around since its invention in the mid 1960s. The original model emerged in 1966 under the Vox banner. Endorsed by jazz trumpeter Clyde McCoy (hence Fulltone’s ‘Clyde’ wah), it even included McCoy’s name and face on the baseplate, since it was originally developed to imitate the ‘crying’ tone produced by trumpeters’ mutes. It was never intended for guitar at all!

Due to The Beatles’ use of Vox amplifiers, Jennings Musical Instruments of Dartford in Kent was struggling to keep up with demand. The company therefore enlisted the Thomas Organ Company to manufacture Vox products in the USA, to both satisfy the US market and to tackle import costs. Thomas was allowed to independently design and manufacture Vox products and, while working on a new amp, made a revolutionary discovery: Midrange Resonance Boost. This was a switchable boost at three different mid frequencies. It became apparent, while dialling this control, that as it swept through these frequencies it produced a pronounced ‘wah-wah’ vocal effect.

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