Wah Wah Pedals: 10 of the Best
The Wah-Wah pedal has a very specific and technical circuitry and housing structure. Therefore, all other previous effects circuits and devices, prior to 1966, that share similarities with the wah-wah pedal are not actually affecting the signal in the same manner and cannot be considered early versions of the wah-wah pedal. However, custom experiments from time to time made sounds that approached the formal product, including Chet Atkins’ 1961 recording of “Boo Boo Stick Beat”.
The first pedal ever created was by Warwick Electronics Inc. / Thomas Organ Company in November 1966; this pedal is the original prototype wah-wah pedal made from a transistorized MRB potentiometer bread-boarded circuit and the housing of a Vox Continental Organ volume pedal.
The creation of the Wah-Wah pedal was actually an accident which stemmed from the re-design of the Vox Super Beatle guitar amplifier in 1966. Warwick Electronics Inc. / Thomas Organ Company had bought the Vox name due to the brand name’s popularity and association with the Beatles. Warwick Electronics Inc. also owned Thomas Organ Company and had assigned Thomas Organ Company to create a new product line called the all-electric Vox Amplifonic Orchestra, the project was headed by musician and band-leader Bill Page. While creating the Vox Amplifonic Orchestra, the Thomas Organ Company needed to re-design the Vox amplifier into a transistorized solid state amplifier, rather than tube, which would be less expensive to manufacture. During the re-design of the USA Vox amplifier, Stan Cuttler, head engineer of Thomas Organ Company, assigned Brad J. Plunkett, a junior electronics engineer, to replace the expensive Jennings 3-position MRB (mid-range boost) circuit switch with a transistorized solid state MRB circuit.
Brad Plunkett had lifted and bread-boarded a transistorized tone-circuit from the Thomas Organ (an electric solid state transistorized organ) to duplicate the Jenning 3-position circuit. After adjusting and testing the amplifier with an electronic oscillator and oscilloscope, Plunkett connected the output to the speaker and tested the circuit audibly. At that point, several engineers and technical consultants, including Bill Page and Del Casher, noticed the sound effect caused by the circuit. Bill Page insisted on testing this bread-boarded circuit while he played his saxophone through an amplifier. John Glennon, an assistant junior electronics engineer with the Thomas Organ Company, was summoned to bring a volume control pedal which was used in the Vox Continental Organ so that the ‘transistorized MRB potentiometer bread-boarded circuit’ could be installed in the pedal’s housing. After the installation, Bill Page began playing his saxophone through the pedal and had asked Joe Banaron, CEO of Warwick Electronics Inc. / Thomas Organ Company to listen to the effect. At this point the first electric guitar was plugged into the prototype wah-wah pedal by guitarist Del Casher who suggested to Joe Banaron that this was a guitar effects pedal rather than a wind instrument effects pedal. Joe Banaron, being a fan of the big band style of music, was interested in marketing the wah-wah pedal for wind-instruments as suggested by Bill Page rather than the electric guitar suggested by Del Casher. After a remark by Del Casher to Joe Banaron regarding the Harmon mute style of trumpet playing in the famous recording of “Sugar Blues” from the 1930s, Joe Banaron decided to market the wah-wah pedal using Clyde McCoy’s name for endorsement.
Early versions of the Clyde McCoy featured an image of McCoy on the bottom panel, which soon gave way to only his signature before the name of the pedal was changed to Cry Baby. Thomas Organ’s failure to trademark the Cry Baby name soon led to the market being flooded with Cry Baby imitations from various parts of the world, including Italy, where the McCoys were originally made.
This is the original wah-wah pedal used to create many classic rock sounds. Relied on by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani, Buddy Guy, Slash, Kirk Hammett, Zakk Wylde and many other greats. A fast-reacting effect for unmistakable tone bending. Who's Using It: Eric Clapton Joe Perry - Aerosmith Lenny Kravitz Billy…
Convenient side-mounted LEDs indicate which mode you are in, while a separate LED indicates effect on/off. Let your guitar sing the blues in style with the Buddy-approved polka dot graphics and custom signature tread. The Crybaby Buddy Guy Signature Wah—available only from Dunlop Manufacturing, the world’s leader in wah pedal technology.
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