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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Wah Pedals

2. What is a Wah-Wah?

Origins

Born in 1903, Clyde McCoy was not a guitarist, but a trumpet player. He stumbled upon the ‘wah-wah’ trumpet sound that would bring him to prominence in the 30s, and in an odd twist of fate, ultimately lead to the creation of 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
pedal. Clyde figured out that by manually manipulating a traditional trumpet
DampTo reduce vibrations - in music this usually refers to the technique of reducing an instrument's vibrations and overtones by touching it in some way, to shorten the length of the note and deaden the timbre of the sound. For example, a percussionist may place the palm of his hand on the skin of a kettle drum, or a guitarist might use the wrist of his plectrum hand to rest against the strings. Also used to describe the effects of acoustic treatment.
mute
, he could achieve a more expressive vocal-like sound. Essentially, the
DampTo reduce vibrations - in music this usually refers to the technique of reducing an instrument's vibrations and overtones by touching it in some way, to shorten the length of the note and deaden the timbre of the sound. For example, a percussionist may place the palm of his hand on the skin of a kettle drum, or a guitarist might use the wrist of his plectrum hand to rest against the strings. Also used to describe the effects of acoustic treatment.
mute
acted as a kind of acoustic band-pass
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
, and as Clyde played his solos, he'd move the
DampTo reduce vibrations - in music this usually refers to the technique of reducing an instrument's vibrations and overtones by touching it in some way, to shorten the length of the note and deaden the timbre of the sound. For example, a percussionist may place the palm of his hand on the skin of a kettle drum, or a guitarist might use the wrist of his plectrum hand to rest against the strings. Also used to describe the effects of acoustic treatment.
mute
in and out of the bell of the trumpet, dynamically emphasising different midrange frequencies.

The Mute

What is a Wah-Wah Pedal?

By mechanical means, a
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
pedal transfers its position to an electro-mechanical sensor, which in turn controls the centre-frequency of an electronic
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
. Thus 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
‘sweep’ is directly controlled by the guitarist’s foot movements - of course there’s no reason that other instrumentalists can’t use
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
, but we’ll stick with guitarists as they are by far the most common users of the effect. You simply push the pedal forwards to sweep upwards, and pull it back to sweep downwards. This variation in the
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peak
frequency response of 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
resembles the change in ‘formant’ in the human vocal tract when saying the word ‘wah’, giving 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
pedal the ability to crudely emulate speech (and hence the name of course). The use of
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
does not affect the guitar's
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
, although some pedals incorporate a switch which allows them to be used alternately as
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
pedals.

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