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Wah before or after distortion?

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Wah before or after distortion?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:51 pm

Curious where you place your wah pedal - before or after distortion? I think either could sound really great depending on what tickles your fancy. I can’t see any downside to either, but perhaps I’m missing something?
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:21 pm

If this was "the other place" by now you’d have been excommunicated for even suggesting such a ludicrous heresy as putting wah before distortion,.
Next thing you’ll be suggesting we put reverb at the beginning of our effects chains, god knows what you’ve been taking, but I’d see a doctor straight away.

:D :D :D
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby Moroccomoose » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:21 pm

Sonic merits in both, but I think its a bit like asking which colour do paint first, green or blue? You paint what the picture requires.

As it happens, my wah is part of an amp sim floor board and it defaults to 'pre amp', but can be set as 'post amp' which is not quite what you are asking, but suffice to say, I don't think I've ever changed the default.

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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:48 pm

Wah before distortion for me, much more interesting sounds. I always thought it should be before and used it that way for years. One day I was tempted to experiment and decided it sounded much better before the distortion, I've used it that way round for years.
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:25 pm

Arpangel wrote: reverb at the beginning of our effects chains,

:D :D :D
Nice idea to try! Thanks!
:bouncy:
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby BJG145 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:25 pm

Arpangel wrote:If this was "the other place" by now you’d have been excommunicated for even suggesting such a ludicrous heresy as putting wah before distortion

I'd actually have thought that was the usual way. Sounds like there's arguments both ways and it comes down to preference.

With this in mind, what about the placement of the wah-wah pedal in the signal chain? Should it go before the overdrive or after it? Of course there are no rules, but each arrangement sounds quite different. For classic Hendrix, Vai and Satriani tones, the wah must be placed before the overdrive.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/onlineexpert_ ... chain.html

...though I realise overdrive and distortion ain't the same...
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby MOF » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:41 pm

I would think distortion first to guarantee the richness of harmonic content that can then be eq swept by the wah pedal.
The other way around means that when the wah pedal is attenuating most of the mid and high frequencies the distortion will be less then.
Just a theory, never tried it.
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:57 pm

Having the wah first seems to give a sort of 'filter resonant sweep' sound, more 'organic' than it just filtering the output of the distortion. Maybe I'll have a play with my Headrush and make a couple of patches with it each way round and have a listen.
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby BJG145 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:16 pm

...would be interested to hear the results... :thumbup:
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:38 pm

I've got a mix to finish by Wednesday ;) but will try to do something when that is done. :thumbup:
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:30 pm

I'm fascinated by these answers - at first I thought the answer was obvious (distortion then wah, for the greatest sweep changes) but now like others here I want to try it the other way round as well, to see how an initial wah changes the distortion tone.

I suspect the end result of wah then distortion will depend very much on both the wah chosen and the distortion tone/sustain, but would ultimately have more expressive possibilities, especially when the distortion is just 'on the edge'. You could also achieve quite a few different 'honk/grunge' tones with static wah positions that responded very well to playing style.

Thanks for making me rethink!


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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby al_diablo » Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:07 pm

I prefer wah first, not so much for movement but to sculpt the frequency content of the signal before it gets to the distortion.

That was the only use I found for my crybaby before I sold it! Mind you, its probably just that I don't have the coordination to play while rocking the pedal in any kind of musical way.
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:36 pm

Geez - I might need a Before and After wah!
:D
That could be a load of filter fun.
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby Watchmaker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:28 am

hmm. Time to fix the power lead on my Crybaby and see if its more interesting in front of the chain. :D
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Re: Wah before or after distortion?

Postby ore_terra » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:43 am

After!
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