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EHX Wailer Wah

Lightweight Wah Pedal By Paul White
Published March 2017

EHX Wailer Wah

Electro-Harmonix (EHX) pioneered the no-moving-parts rocker pedal format, as used in their popular Crying Tone wah pedal. Rather than link the pedal mechanically to a pot, it simply rocks on the floor and internal tilt sensors dictate what the circuitry does. There’s a lot to be said for a design that has no pots to wear out or to go noisy, but although the rocking pedal format works well on the floor, it’s rather trickier to integrate into a pedal board. Even if you use a concave base to stop the pedal creeping away from you, there’s still no simple way to secure the pedal when in transit.

And so, with pedal-board users in mind, EHX have put the Crying Tone wah circuitry into a much more conventional pot-driven pedal format, with rack and pinion gearing to ensure that the full range of the control pot is used. This is the same control system as used ‘back in the day’ for the very first Cry Baby wah pedals, but EHX have developed a light but very tough plastic moulding, so this version of the pedal weighs only a hint over 1.5 pounds. A little pedal friction has been built in, so it’s possible to park the pedal in any position and it will stay put, making it ideal for those ‘cocked wah’ sounds.

Power can come from a 9V battery fitted via a hatch in the pedal’s base or from a standard 9V, centre-negative power supply. An EHX-badged battery is included and comes adorned with a photo of Mike Matthews, EHX’s founder (though in the interests of health education, he’s pictured without his trademark cigar!). Plugging into the input switches on the battery as with most pedals.

The pedal is full size but, at 252 x 87 x 74mm, it’s not excessively wide, and four rubber feet keep it from slipping on smooth floors. The input and output jacks are on the sides and, as with most conventional wah pedals, there’s a bypass footswitch under the ’toe’ of the pedal. Internally, the circuitry comprises mainly surface-mount components, and I couldn’t see any inductors as were used in the original Vox wah pedal. The overall construction seems solidly engineered, with nothing to shake loose, and the pot is easily accessible should it ever need replacing. In fact, the only modern nicety that’s missing is an LED to show when the effect is active.

Operationally the pedal’s action is smooth, and there’s no discernible pot noise. The tonal sweep is suitably wide and the degree of resonance is very finely judged to produce a classic wah effect that’s somewhat reminiscent of the old Cry Baby but without that annoying ‘almost oscillating’ sound that some pedals produce. In its parked positions, it also serves well as a pre-overdrive filter. Given its affordable price, classy tone and low weight, this pedal-format version of the Crying Tone wah is an attractive proposition, especially if your pedalboard is already getting to be on the heavy side.

£52 including VAT.