Best Wah Pedal – The Geek’s Guide

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Intro – Finding the Best Wah Pedal

A wah guitar pedal is a popular effects pedal used by guitarists to modify and shape the tone of their electric guitars. It’s known for its distinctive and expressive sound, often associated with iconic guitar solos and funky rhythm guitar playing. The wah pedal is an integral part of many genres, including rock, blues, funk, and even some jazz.

Here’s an introduction to the concept of a wah guitar pedal, how it works, and its common uses:

1. Basic Function:

   – A wah pedal alters the guitar’s tone by sweeping through a specific frequency range, emphasizing or attenuating certain frequencies, typically in the midrange.

   – The pedal gets its name from the “wah-wah” sound it produces as the guitarist rocks their foot back and forth on the pedal.

2. How it Works:

   – Inside a wah pedal, there’s a potentiometer (variable resistor) connected to a foot pedal. When you press down on the pedal, it changes the resistance of the potentiometer, which in turn adjusts the frequency response of the pedal.

   – As you rock the pedal forward, it accentuates higher frequencies, creating a bright and piercing sound.

   – When you rock it backward, it emphasizes lower frequencies, resulting in a deep, throaty, and bass-heavy tone.

   – The pedal’s movement allows for a dynamic and expressive way to shape the guitar’s tone in real-time.

3. Common Uses:

   – Expressive Solos: Wah pedals are frequently used to add expressiveness and drama to guitar solos. Guitarists can mimic vocal-like qualities, adding a human-like touch to their playing.

   – Funky Rhythms: In funk music, the wah pedal is often used to create a rhythmic and percussive effect, enhancing the groove of the music.

   – Blues and Rock: Wah is a staple in blues and classic rock, used to add emotion and intensity to guitar lines and power chords.

   – Experimental and Psychedelic: Some guitarists use wah pedals to explore experimental and psychedelic sounds, creating unusual and trippy tones.

   – Filtering Effects: In addition to standard wah sounds, some players use the pedal as a tone-shaping tool, similar to a filter, to sculpt their guitar’s sound in unique ways.

   – Talk Box Effect: In combination with a talk box device, wah pedals can produce the famous “talking guitar” effect, as heard in songs like Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do.”

Overall, the wah guitar pedal is a versatile tool that allows guitarists to add an array of expressive tones and textures to their playing. It remains a timeless and iconic effect, beloved by musicians for its ability to make the guitar sing, cry, and speak in ways that no other pedal can.

Jim Dunlop Cry Baby

Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah

The Jim Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal is one of the most iconic and widely used wah pedals in the world of electric guitar. It has a long history and a stellar reputation, making it a staple on many guitarists’ pedalboards. Here’s a review of the Jim Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal:

Build Quality and Durability:

– The Cry Baby is known for its sturdy construction and durability. It’s housed in a rugged metal casing that can withstand the rigors of touring and gigging.

– The pedal itself features a smooth and responsive foot rocker, allowing for precise control and easy manipulation of the wah effect.

Sound Quality:

– The most critical aspect of any wah pedal is its sound quality, and the Cry Baby excels in this department. It delivers a classic and expressive wah effect that’s been favored by countless guitar legends.

– The pedal has a vocal-like sweep through its frequency range, and it’s capable of producing both bright, biting tones when rocked forward and deep, resonant tones when rocked backward.

– It offers a rich and musical sound that’s ideal for a wide range of musical styles, from blues and rock to funk and beyond.


– While the Cry Baby is most famous for its classic wah sound, it’s versatile enough to adapt to various playing styles and musical genres.

– Guitarists can achieve different tonal nuances by adjusting the pedal’s position and the way they rock it, allowing for expressive and dynamic playing.

Ease of Use:

– The Cry Baby is straightforward to use, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced guitarists.

– Its simple design means you can plug it in and start using it without a steep learning curve.


– The Jim Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal is typically priced reasonably, considering its quality and legendary status. There are different models and variations available at various price points to suit different budgets.


– One of the significant selling points of the Cry Baby is its historical significance and the fact that it’s been used by legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and many others. This legacy adds to its appeal and allure.

In summary, the Jim Dunlop Cry Baby wah pedal is a classic and highly respected pedal known for its durability, rich sound, and versatility. Whether you’re looking to emulate the sounds of your guitar heroes or add expressive depth to your own playing, the Cry Baby is a top-notch choice. It’s no wonder that it has stood the test of time and remains a go-to wah pedal for guitarists of all levels.

Boss AW3

The Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah pedal is a unique and versatile addition to the world of guitar effects. Boss, a renowned manufacturer, has a reputation for producing high-quality pedals, and the AW-3 is no exception. Here’s a review of the Boss AW-3 Wah pedal:

Build Quality and Durability:

– Like most Boss pedals, the AW-3 is built like a tank. It features a sturdy and durable construction that can withstand the demands of both stage and studio use.

– The pedal’s compact design ensures it won’t take up too much space on your pedalboard, and it can easily fit into most setups.

Sound Quality:

– The AW-3 offers more than just a traditional wah effect; it’s a dynamic wah pedal that includes a variety of sound-shaping features.

– The wah effect itself is expressive and responsive, with a wide sweep that covers a broad range of frequencies. It can create both subtle and exaggerated wah tones, making it suitable for various musical genres.

– Beyond wah, the AW-3 includes a dynamic envelope filter, auto wah, and humanizer modes, allowing you to explore a range of unique and experimental tones.

– The humanizer mode is particularly interesting as it can produce vowel-like, vocal-like sounds, making it great for adding unique textures to your playing.


– The AW-3 is incredibly versatile due to its multiple modes and features. It’s not just a wah pedal but also a dynamic filter and envelope follower, making it suitable for a wide range of playing styles.

– The different modes and adjustable parameters give you the flexibility to create your own signature wah and filter tones.

Ease of Use:

– Boss pedals are known for their user-friendly interfaces, and the AW-3 is no exception. It’s relatively easy to dial in a wide range of tones with the straightforward control layout.

– The pedal also features an expression pedal input, allowing for real-time control of various parameters, enhancing its playability.


– The Boss AW-3 Wah pedal is reasonably priced, especially considering its versatility and the variety of effects it offers. It provides excellent value for guitarists looking to explore different tonal possibilities without breaking the bank.


– While not as historically iconic as some other wah pedals, the Boss AW-3 has gained popularity for its unique features and adaptability. It has found its place among players who seek a more versatile and experimental wah and filter pedal.

In summary, the Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah pedal is a versatile and durable effects pedal that goes beyond the traditional wah sound. Its dynamic filter, envelope follower, and unique humanizer mode make it an excellent choice for guitarists looking to add expressive and experimental textures to their playing. With Boss’s reputation for reliability and quality, the AW-3 is a solid addition to any guitarist’s pedalboard, especially for those who want to explore a wide range of creative possibilities.



The JOYO Wah-II Multifunctional Wah Pedal is a budget-friendly option that offers a range of wah and filter effects. JOYO is known for producing affordable pedals that deliver surprisingly good sound quality. Here’s a review of the JOYO Wah-II:

Build Quality and Durability:

– The build quality of the JOYO Wah-II is decent, considering its budget-friendly price. It features a metal enclosure that should withstand regular use and transportation reasonably well.

– The pedal’s compact size makes it easy to fit onto most pedalboards, and its straightforward design ensures ease of use.

Sound Quality:

– The Wah-II provides a versatile range of wah and filter effects, which can be useful for various musical styles.

– It offers a classic wah sound with a responsive sweep through the frequency range, allowing for expressive and dynamic tonal changes.

– The pedal also includes additional filter effects, such as auto-wah and a step filter, adding versatility to your sonic palette.

– While the sound quality is good for the price, it may not match the depth and nuance of higher-end wah pedals. However, it’s more than suitable for players on a budget or those looking to experiment with different filter effects.


– One of the standout features of the JOYO Wah-II is its multifunctionality. It goes beyond a traditional wah pedal by offering several filter modes, including wah, auto-wah, and step filter.

– These additional modes allow you to explore different textures and tones, making it a versatile pedal for various playing styles.

Ease of Use:

– The JOYO Wah-II is straightforward to use, with an easy-to-understand control layout. It includes a range knob for adjusting the effect’s intensity and a mode switch to select between different filter modes.

– It also has a built-in LED indicator to show the pedal’s status, making it user-friendly, even for beginners.


– One of the primary advantages of the JOYO Wah-II is its affordability. It provides a range of wah and filter effects at a budget-friendly price, making it accessible to a wide range of players.


– While JOYO may not have the same historical significance or reputation as some other pedal manufacturers, their products have gained popularity for offering decent quality at an affordable price. The Wah-II is a testament to their commitment to providing value to budget-conscious musicians.

In summary, the JOYO Wah-II Multifunctional Wah Pedal is a cost-effective option for guitarists looking to experiment with various wah and filter effects without breaking the bank. While it may not match the tonal depth of higher-end pedals, it offers a range of useful features and sounds for players on a budget or those seeking to add versatility to their pedalboard. It’s a great choice for beginners and musicians exploring different effects and textures in their playing.

Conclusion – Our Picks for the Best Wah Pedal

In conclusion, the Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah pedal is a timeless classic known for its exceptional build quality, expressive sound, versatility, and historical significance in the world of guitar effects. It remains a top choice for guitarists seeking iconic wah tones. The Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah pedal offers a durable and versatile option, featuring expressive wah and dynamic filter effects with user-friendly controls, making it suitable for a wide range of styles and players. The JOYO Wah-II Multifunctional Wah pedal is an affordable alternative, providing a decent array of wah and filter effects, making it accessible to budget-conscious musicians seeking versatility on a budget. While not as renowned as the Cry Baby or Boss options, it offers value and creative potential for players exploring different textures and tones.