Nothing sounds cooler than someone that plugs in a wah and knows how to use it.
We went ahead and put together this list of wah effects that we believe to be the best of their class. Take a look below and choose the right one for you.
What Is The Wah Effect?
As far as guitar effects go, wah is probably one of the most fun pieces of gear to use and learn to master – to be quite honest, it took me quite a while to get good at rocking the wah while playing. The trouble is that there are a lot of different models out there and it can make it kind of intimidating to find the right one for your playing style. We have taken some time to put together a bunch of our favorites base no a specific category – feel free to take a look below and make your own comparison and choice!
What I Look For In A Wah
The things that I typically look for is that since there are some moving parts involved, I like to see something made with a very high quality and durability. I also like a good design making it easy to use because you don’t want to be fumbling with it while you are playing. Before you buy, consider this as well.
- Commonly Asked Questions
|Name||Description||Check It Out|
|1. Dunlop The Original Crybaby Pedal||Our favorite!||Read Review|
|2. Boss AW-3 Dynamic||Looking for the best auto wah? This is a great choice.||Read Review|
|3. Area 51 Wah||A good higher end boutique choice to check out.||Read Review|
|4. Morley VAI-2 Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah||It's switchless! Just push down the pedal and it automatically engages. Love it!||Read Review|
|5. Behringer Hellbabe HB01||If you are looking for something affordable, look at this one.||Read Review|
|6. Morley PDW-II Distortion/Wah/Volume Combo Pedal||Great mid priced with lots of options.||Read Review|
|7. Fulltone Clyde||A little more to spend but worth it for sure!||Read Review|
Top Pick – Dunlop The Original Crybaby Pedal
- A classic used by countless other guitarists over the years. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton just to name a couple.
- Best for people that are looking for the most traditional guitar wah sound.
- Built with high quality materials to be as durable as possible.
- Easily change the wah effect by rocking back and forth on the pedal. Leave the pedal in one position for other effects on your tone.
- Many other signature options available as well (see father down in this post for examples).
- Powered by either a 9 volt battery or power adapter.
Best Auto Wah – Boss AW-3 Dynamic
These types of pedals are great for when you don’t have the option of rocking a manual wah back and forth and still want the effect on some level but automatic. These basically work on the attack of your pick and usually, the harder you pick, the more effect you get. Takes some practice but can easily be mastered quickly.
- Works great for both guitar and bass.
- Settings for both auto and fixed wah sounds.
- Compatible with an expression pedal so you can also use it like a regular wah.
- Create almost vocal like effects with the “Humanizer” settings.
- You can set it up for a specific tempo as well and control the wah effect using various tempos.
Best Boutique – Area 51 Wah
There aren’t a huge number of boutiques for this effect but there are a few that are worth looking at for a slightly different sound. If you have the budget for one of these, they can be some of the best sounding. Take a look at my recommendation:
- Based off popular vintage wah models.
- Hand built with only the highest quality components.
- True bypass so it will not impact your tone when it is switched off.
- Built solid and to last – very durable.
Best Switchless – Morley VAI-2 Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah
In case you are not familiar with the term “switchless” for these types of pedals – it basically means exactly what it says. Most pedals require you to engage them by pushing forward all the way until the switch is toggled on. Switchless ones work automatically when you move the pedal. A lot faster and easier to use.
- Easily engaged by just stepping on the pedal – let off and it turns itself off.
- Spring loaded – press down on it and it will automatically come back up with you let off. This, to me, makes it very easy to use – especially during live gigs.
- Two different wah modes – Bad Horsie and Contour.
- Easy to access battery (it can hard to get at the battery in Dunlop models).
Signature Wah Pedals
There are quite a few pedals built specifically for a certain guitarist. Maybe one of these is your favorite and you can get their signature wah tone:
Best Cheap $ – Behringer Hellbabe HB01
Yes, you can get a really good pedal on a budget! Take a look at these cheaper and less expensive options as the best for your money:
- Great for people that are on a budget but still want a great affordable wah.
- Adjustment for resistance on the pedal to give you a bit more control.
- Adjustable frequency range control making it great for bass as well.
- Uses an optical mechanism in place of a traditional pot making it more durable.
When you have a bit more to spend, you can get a slightly higher quality effect for the cash:
- Brings together wah, volume and even distortion all in one pedal making for some cool options.
- No pots that can wear out – optical.
- Distortion works separately from the volume/wah.
- Built like a tank and very durable.
$$$ – Fulltone Clyde
Got even more money burning a hole in your pocket and want to give your pedal board a bit more bling? Take a look at our recommendations for this price range:
- Made famous by popular guitarists like Joe Satriani.
- Based off the Clyde McCoy “signature” wah – another famous pedal.
- Includes an internal “Resonance Control” which gives a bass and gain adjust ability.
- Solidly built.
Commonly Asked Questions
What Music Genres Does This Work For?
Wah has been used in a ton of different musical styles but some of the most popular are:
- Classic Rock
- Blues Rock
- All types of metal
Do I Need One?
I think that any guitarist can benefit from having one of these in their set up. There are so many different songs that include this so if you are planning on playing a lot of cover songs, it is a must have. If you are writing your own tunes, than it might not be as necessary but a good thing to have to give you a lot more tone options. A great way to put some cool accents on your rhythms and make your guitar really talk during a solo.
Morley Wah Vs The Original Crybaby?
Ok, I had to pick these two because, to me, these are two of the best but in very different ways. Actually, I would probably give a bit of an edge to the Morley just because it has that cool feature where the pedal has a spring so it is easier to rock it back and forth – you just need to press down on it and the spring will pull it back up on it’s own.
What Kind Of Wah Pedal Did Jimmy Page Use?
Jimmy uses the Dunlop 535Q Cry Baby® wah.
Where To Place Wah Pedal In Effects Chain?
It kind of depends on the type of sound that you are looking for. If you put it before the distortion, you get a more subtle wah effect – after distortion it is a bit more pronounced. Like many other effects, the key is to experiment and find what you like.