The wah wah pedal is a foot sized pedal that is used to change the sound affect of the notes played on a guitar. It changes the tone of the signal, and creates a “wah-wah" sound as the player rocks their foot back and forth. The speed at which the pedal is rocked changes the sound dramatically, and the player has full control of the movement and sound.
In 1966, the first wah wah pedal was created by a man named Brad Plunkell who worked for the Thomas Organ Company. It was a re-design of the Vox Super Beatle guitar amplifier. The Vox amplifier was being re-designed due to manufacturing costs and Brad Plunkell was an Engineer working on the re-design. The sound that was created by the pedal was accidental, and on discovering the sound the pedal made, it was decided by the company to actually use it as an effect for wind instruments.
The original invention was then modified by Brad Plunkell and Del Casher (a musician and also a consultant for Thomas Organ Company) who thought that it could be used to better accompany the harmonic tones of the electric guitar. It was then released for sale to the public in February of 1967.
Since then, this type of pedal has been used by many musicians. It is believed by many to add emotion and expression to note guitar lines. There are many musicians that have used and continue to use this effect pedal.
That list includes great musicians & bands from the past and present such as:
* Jimi Hendrix in Voodoo Child
* Pearl Jam in Alive
* Guns N Roses in Sweet Child o mine
* Metallica's Enter Sandman
* The Doors in Peace Frog
Along with being used by many guitarists, the wah wah pedal has been used by other musicians such as bass players, keyboardists, saxophone players and many more. For example Cliff Burton the Bass Player from Metallica was known to use the wah wah pedal, along with Rick Wright’s performance from Pink Floyd in the song ‘Money'
There are now many manufacturers that design their wahs. Among the top manufacturers is Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc. Dunlop was founded in 1965 and has since become the leading electronics effects manufacturer. Also they make the popular Cry baby wah pedal. VOX founded in 1957, is another leading manufacturer of the wah wah pedal as is the worldwide name brand Fender which was started in the early 1940's.
There is no doubt the Wah Wah Pedal is one of the most popular effects in music history. If you have never tried one, I suggest you go to your local music shop and ask to plug in. You may just discover that missing piece to your musical puzzle.