The Wah-Wah Pedal

By Richard Globisch
In Oct 28, 2010

The Wah-Wah Pedal is a guitar effects pedal that alters the tone of the guitar by sweeping the peak response of a filter between bass and treble.

A Brief History of The Wah-Wah Pedal

The first pedal ever created was by Warwick Electronics Inc in November 1966 and has since then become very popular. Today there are many companies producing various types of Wah-Wah pedals. The most popular companies seem to be Dunlop with their “Cry Baby” series, Vox, Morley and Ibanez. Instead of only the volume type pedal, many Wahs now also have various switches to increase the types of sounds one can get from single pedal, notably Ibanez’s Weeping Demon.

The Wah is often used in solos as many people find it adds more expression to single note lines. It can also be used in rhythms, especially the more percussive style rhythms as found in Funk music. Along with Funky stuff, it is also used to bring certain frequencies to the front to make the guitar stand out more in a mix.

In terms of the effects chain, the Wah-Wah Pedal can be placed almost anywhere. However, vastly different results will be achieved depending on where it is placed. Hence, experimentation will be required until you achieve your desired tone. The Wah-Wah Pedal has also been used on other instruments such as Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Trumpets and Saxophones and the Violin. So many styles utilize this effect from funk to heavy metal. It is also a great effect to create a “sexy-time” syncopated rhythm when the leading man leaps for the leading lady.

Wah You Say?

Jimi Hendrix – “Voodo Child (Slight Return)”

Eric Clapton- “I shot the sheriff”

Slash– In many of his solos with Guns’n’Roses and Velvet Revolver

Kirk Hammett– Extensively on the “Black” album.

Zakk Wylde– In nearly every song.

Tom Morello- “Bomb Track”

Profile photo of Richard Globisch

* Has played in the prog rock band Frequency * Has been with Guitar Excellence since 2006 * Has been teaching all ages from beginner to advanced for 4 years * He can headbang and play at the same time * Is a Rock and Shred specialist * Fluent in all styles including Spanish and Flamenco * He can play “Guitar Hero” on expert


  1. What are the top wah pedals you recommend to your students? There must be at least 20 Cry Baby’s by now.

    1. Profile photo of Tyrone Mayer

      Check out the Custom Audio Electronics Wah (designed by Bob Bradshaw), and the RMC Teese Wah, they are fantastic.

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