• Wish list
  • Choose your store
    All countries
  • 0

7. 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 filter. The Vox, Crybaby, and many more use this arrangement even to this day.

Latching footswitch

There are disadvantages to the design however. Firstly, the switch produces mechanical noise in the form of an audible click when operated, although this is not really a problem when playing at volume. More seriously though, when the pedal is activated, the wah filter will be by definition in its fully open position. To counter this, Morley decided to place the switch to one side of the pedal, allowing the effect to be engaged with the wah frequency in any desired preset position – particularly useful if you are using the effect as a kind of fixed tone control.

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 bypass arrangements bring another problem with them - when switching, an audible electrical click can be heard, which at high gain levels can be intrusive – you pays your money and takes your choice! Guitar technicians often offer true 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 noise.

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 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 digital, as we shall see later on.

Your Contact People
Phone: +49-9546-9223-20
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Get Your Free Copy of our Hot Deals Catalogue!

More than 7.900.000 musicians are avid readers of Thomann's Hot Deals catalogue. Get your free copy now! More than 500 current offers!

Hot Deals
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x the t.bone SC 440 USB worth €58.
What country has had the most Eurovision Song contest wins?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
One of our Fans
I have to say, I am impressed with your website and service, so much so, that I have referred your site to other musicians.
carrxxxnna@gxxx.com, 22.02.2017

Wah Pedals overview


Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.