Today I want to tell you about a pedal that, although born to emulate the muted trumpet has changed the sound of the modern guitar: I’m talking about the legendary wah pedal, a tool used by every guitar player in the world!
At the moment I own 4, 2 of the Thomas International of Chicago, 1 Super Crybaby of the Italian JEN, historical factory, all of the 70’s and, as a modern reference a 1994 VOX reissue made in the USA modded with true bypass switch, very good sounding and built practically as historical ones, nothing to do with the recent ones.
Going in chronological order let’s start talking about the two 70’s Crybabys;
They are stock items without any modification and still fully functional, the thing that immediately impresses the player is the extreme musicality of the two pedals, there is no harshness in tone and do not change the tone of the instrument ,they have much more warmth and musicality than most of the recent models, and they have also an huge tonal extension.
But above all the two models, although identical and mounting the same components DO NOT sound in the same way: one is soft and silky, the other has a bigger sound, like Jimi Hendrix tone. You can hear these tonal differences from a item to another also in older vintage amps and it’s due to the fact that many of the electronic components such as capacitors, resistors etc. could have manufacturing tolerances up to 20%!
That’s why I love the old stuff, I have personally chosen these items because I love them both despite their diversity (it’s just a matter of taste)
Now let’s talk about the Super Crybaby by JEN Pescara (Italy), the company that produced the best wah in the world (the best sounding Vox were made by them!) It has a slightly different circuit than the normal Crybaby which gives a little wider tonal extension, a little more rock tone, but always soft and very usable on clean, crunch an distorted sounds, in other words it is amazing!
And what about my modded Vox? How does it sound compared to the others? I have to say very good, there’s a reason if I have it for many years……. Before the mod it tended to darken the high frequencies of the guitar, but then, with true bypass switch the problem is solved. It has a tone that reminds the historical models and is built as vintage ones, but in every case the other 3 sound indisputably BETTER.
It ‘s a bit like comparing a photo in low resolution and one in HD, details make the difference, and if you then consider that many of the current models are built with very cheap SMD components , which really kill the audio signal, you should certainly try some vintage items and evaluate the differences (except some super expensive models, wah pedals do not cost a fortune).
Always try the instruments before giving your opinion,
do not be fooled by the bar talk and above all ….
listen to the sounds with your ears, not with your eyes!
See you next time