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Online Guide Wah Pedals
Switching

 

Traditionally, the wah-wah effect was activated by a mechanical latching switch of the type shown below, located under the pedal toe. Pushing the pedal all the way forward and applying a little additional pressure would engage the
FilterA circuit used to remove or accentuate frequencies in a sound source. Common types are found on mixing consoles equalisation, synthesizers and dedicated processors such as graphic equalisers.
filter
. The Vox, Crybaby, and many more use this
ArrangementSetting of a piece of music. An arrangement can add details omitted by the composer, or may replace those originally notated and be merely based on the original work.
arrangement
even to this day.


Latching footswitch

Latching footswitch

There are disadvantages to the design however. Firstly, the switch produces mechanical
DistortionIn most cases distortion is an undesirable alteration to a signal which occurs when a piece of equipment is driven with a input level that is too high for its operating level. Sometimes, as in the case of guitar distortion, this can be an intentional and desirable effect.
noise
in the form of an audible click when operated, although this is not really a problem when playing at
Volume1) In audio and music, the loudness or amplitude of a signal. 2) In computing, a fixed amount of storage space, addressed as a single entity ('C:', 'D:' etc). A physical drive may contain more than one volume, but a single volume may also span more than one drive!
volume
. More seriously though, when the pedal is activated, the
WahA general term for a device which modulates the sound of an instrument or voice to produce an effect that sounds like 'wah, wah' (sometimes described as a crying effect). The commonest devices are the wah mute, which is placed on the bell of a trumpet or other brass instrument and moved to produce the wah effect, and the wah-wah pedal, which applies the effect (via a rocking foot motion) to an instrument sound (typically electric guitar).
wah
FilterA circuit used to remove or accentuate frequencies in a sound source. Common types are found on mixing consoles equalisation, synthesizers and dedicated processors such as graphic equalisers.
filter
will be by definition in its fully open position. To
CounterCurrent time position display used in software recording programs.
counter
this, Morley decided to place the switch to one side of the pedal, allowing the effect to be engaged with the
WahA general term for a device which modulates the sound of an instrument or voice to produce an effect that sounds like 'wah, wah' (sometimes described as a crying effect). The commonest devices are the wah mute, which is placed on the bell of a trumpet or other brass instrument and moved to produce the wah effect, and the wah-wah pedal, which applies the effect (via a rocking foot motion) to an instrument sound (typically electric guitar).
wah
frequency in any desired
PresetA program or patch forming part of a synthesizer of other device's factory-shipped state. Presets usually can't be overwritten, but they may usually be edited and the result stored to a user program.
preset
position – particularly useful if you are using the effect as a kind of fixed tone control.


Morley Power Wah

Morley Power Wah


Note the switch on the right side of the unit.

Another issue with the conventional switching scheme was that even when the effect was bypassed, the guitar signal was still passing through the internal circuitry. This was a cause of worry for many players as they perceived that the guitar signal was being degraded in terms of level and high frequency content - a concern which was largely unfounded, as any losses there were could be compensated for easily by making minor adjustments to the amplifier’s pre-amp and tone controls.

Nevertheless, some purists simply had to have a ‘true bypass’. This involved configuring the switch such that when the effect was ‘off’, the internal circuitry was completely excluded from the signal path. Nothing is perfect though, and true
BypassAllowing an audio signal through a device without affecting it. Used for A/B comparisons.
bypass
arrangements bring another problem with them - when switching, an audible electrical click can be heard, which at high
TrimThe initial gain control on a mixer or other audio device such as a mic preamp, often labelled 'gain'. Trim/gain adjustment is crucial to maintaining a clean gain structure and good signal-to-noise ratio.
gain
levels can be intrusive – you pays your money and takes your choice! Guitar technicians often offer true
BypassAllowing an audio signal through a device without affecting it. Used for A/B comparisons.
bypass
functionality as a modification for many older pedals, and some modern off-the-shelf models also feature it, with their designers using some ingenious techniques to minimise the switching
DistortionIn most cases distortion is an undesirable alteration to a signal which occurs when a piece of equipment is driven with a input level that is too high for its operating level. Sometimes, as in the case of guitar distortion, this can be an intentional and desirable effect.
noise
.


True Bypass

True Bypass

Finally, a third option has become popular – namely FET (Field Effect Transistor) switching. This is a switching process in which two FETs act like solid-state relays, and are able to noiselessly switch signals both mechanically and electrically – the physical switch is a simple momentary
ActionThe feel of an instrument, usually relating to the physical effort required to create and/or strike a note. On keyboards, it refers to the pressure required to press the keys - pianos often have heavier actions than electronic keyboards - while on stringed instruments it refers to the distance between the strings and the fingerboard.
action
type, as the latching is done electronically. The signal does have to pass through the FETs, but degradation from this is negligible. Boss pedals have always used FET switching, and other companies have since followed suit. It’s worth noting that the switching scenarios discussed only relate to pedals using analogue technologies - things are rather different when you go
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
, as we shall see later on.

 

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Inholdsfortegnelse:

[Indhold] [What is a Wah-Wah?] [The Classics] [Filter Design] [Pedal Action] [Pedal Feel] [Switching] [Special types] [Where in the Signal Chain?] [Digital Products] [Multi-Fx] [Playing Techniques] [Auto-Wah] [Conclusion] [Feedback]
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