Whether you want the CryBaby sound, the harsh high gain wails, some cocked wah fuzz or something completely different, you’ll find everything you need in our best Wah pedals of all-time list
Whatever you want to call them; wah-wah pedals or wah effects, there’s no getting around the fact that the wah is one of the coolest effects pedals ever made, but which ones are the best wah pedals of all time?
Here’s our top 10 best wah pedals that we think you really need to add to your set up or try out at the very least!
1. Dunlop GCB-95 Crybaby Standard Wah Pedal
At the top of our list we have to have the industry standard Dunlop GCB-95 Crybaby Standard Wah Pedal. This is by far one of the best wah pedals ever created and can be found on the pedalboards of many professional level guitarists, spawning many signature models along the way.
This updated version of the CryBaby features a new, robust bypass switch under the footswitch to provide players with an improved response and dry signal tone. This means you don’t get that traditional loss of signal integrity which is sometimes found on earlier models.
With the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani, Buddy Guy, Slash, Kirk Hammett and Zakk Wylde calling upon it to create some of the greatest music ever, you know you’re in good hands with this wah pedal.
Want the ultimate collectors item? Check out the Dunlop 50th Anniversary Gold Plated Cry Baby Wah-Wah Pedal.
2. Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini Wah Pedal
As its bigger brother will tend to take up quite a bit of room on your pedal board, the team at Dunlop decided to create a smaller and more pedal board friendly model. The Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini Wah Pedal is not only one of the best wah pedals, but it’s also the smallest available that offers the same amount of control over your sound and the same uncompromising tone. In addition, you also have three internally adjustable voicings that you can use to create your own signature sound.
If you don't fancy lugging around a larger pedal, or just have too many pedals on your board and you can only fit a smaller option, then this is for you.
3. Electro-Harmonix Wailer Wah Pedal
The Electro-Harmonix Wailer Wah Pedal is one of the newer wah effects on the scene, but still one of the best wah pedals you could hope to play. This highly affordable wah pedal is also extremely light, weighing in at a mere 1.5 pounds, so it’ll fit easily into your backpack and won’t weigh your pedalboard down. If you want to experiment with a wah wah effect but don’t want to invest too much, this is a great option that is both professional and budget friendly. For added mobility the pedal can also be run via a 9V battery or optional 9 Volt adapter.
4. Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah Pedal for Guitar and Bass
If you want the sound of a cocked wah or even a sweeping wah without actually having to use your foot, the Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah Pedal for Guitar and Bass, or Boss Auto-Wah for short, is a fantastic choice.
The Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah creates a variety of classic wah effects – 5 in total including UP, DOWN and SHARP modes as well as the TEMPO mode which changes the effect of the wah over a time you can specify. In addition, you have a really cool Humanizer mode which gives your guitar or bass an awesome “vocal” effect similar to the likes of Daft Punk.
You can adjust all parameters easily and even though its an auto wah, if you have an expression pedal you can shift the wah manually.
5. VOX V845 Classic Wah-Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
Believe it or not but Vox were actually responsible for developing the very first Wah-Wah effect back in the 60s as they were trying to develop a pedal that would allow guitarists to emulate a trumpet being muted – an important sound back in the day.
The VOX V845 Classic Wah-Wah Guitar Effects Pedal makes our best wah pedals list for 2 reasons, the first being that it is a beautiful replication based on the specifications of the original pedal from the 60s providing a lush, vintage dynamic wah sound and the fact its very budget friendly, offering a great alternative to some of the more pricier options available.
It’s strong, sturdy and extremely durable – everything you need from a wah pedal you’re going to tour with and provides a very distinct wah wah effect that is noticeably different from the other options available.
6. Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight Cocked Talking Wah / Fuzz
The Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight Cocked Talking Wah / Fuzz is another wah pedal for the lazy guitarists out there (aren’t we all?) offering that “cocked wah” sound and allowing us to find that sweet spot instantly. But to help you create even more of a sonic ruckus, the Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight also has a built-in fuzz effect!
The Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight can be used as a cocked wah with or without the fuzz and there is a setting that allows you to put the fuzz before or after the wah, providing the tone purists and audiophiles out there with some serious options and greater control over their sound.
The adjustable bias control within the pedal also helps create the effect of a dying battery, which fuzz fans will really appreciate.
Electro Harmonix have also included an EXP input should you want to control the sweep of the wah with an expression pedal.
7. Dunlop John Petrucci Wah
As far as modern guitar legends are concerned, John Petrucci is way up there, known for his constant attention to detail and legendary tones. So, it stands to reason that these same sonic ethics would be applied to his signature Dunlop John Petrucci Wah pedal! This makes our best wah pedals blog as it is not only a great sounding wah pedal straight out of the box, but also allows you to sculpt your sound via the volume, Q and 6-band EQ controls inside the pedal.
The original, box fresh sound of the pedal is based on the settings of Petrucci’s Cry Baby Rack Wah system but you can actually change each aspect of your wah sound. As John describes it, the wah “sounds huge and badass like an angry, screaming monster with the ultimate expressive range—it‘s perfect for shaping single notes or manipulating growling, heavy chords.”
8. MXR MC404 Custom Audio Electronics Wah Guitar Pedal
The MXR MC404 Custom Audio Electronics Wah Guitar Pedal makes our best wah pedals list with ease thanks to the fact it includes dual Fasel inductors with two distinct voices and the fact that it was designed by legendary guitar rig creator Bob Bradshaw of CAE and MXR.
Straight out of the box you can choose from a Yellow or Red Fasel Inductor and enjoy either a high-end emphasis or low to mid resonance depending on your preference. In addition, you have a built-in MXR MC401 Boost/LineDriver activated via the side kick switch which provides a boost for your wah signal when you need it so you can really stand out in the mix. True hardwire bypass, internal pots for “Q” and gain adjustments and bright LEDs on each side of the wah provide that all important operation status when we’re on stage! Definitely one for the audiophiles out there!
9. Boss PW3 Wah Pedal
The Boss PW3 Wah Pedal hails from the extremely reliable line of Boss expression pedals providing a smooth as silk action that allows you to create your ideal wah sound whilst saving space on your pedal board due to the smaller design than that of regular Wah pedals.
It’s a Boss pedal after all, so it’s particularly low noise operation and the die-cast aluminium chassis is almost indestructible so you can rely on it even after years of hard touring. The LEDs on each side of the pedal show you when the pedal is engaged – a great idea!
There’s two modes to choose from too. The Rich mode keeps all that low-end fullness and eliminates the thin tone which sometimes creeps in on some wah pedals, whilst the Vintage mode goes for that classic Wah sound that we all know and love.
10. Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Cry Baby Mini Wah Pedal
Whilst we’re on the subject of smaller and pedal board friendly wah pedals, we have to talk about the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Cry Baby Mini Wah Pedal. Whether you’re a Jimi Hendrix fan or not, no one can deny the impact his sound has had upon the world of music, especially when it comes to his use of the wah.
Fortunately, the team at Dunlop have had access to the original plans of Jimi’s iconic wah sound and have been able to reproduce this sound and add modern reliability.
The iconic sound of Jimi's original, Italian-made Thomas Organ unit has been faithfully recreated and placed inside a pedal with half the footprint of your regular wah pedals, providing players with not only one of the best wah pedals in terms of sound, but in terms of usability. This provides players with a huge sound, true bypass switching for a purer tone and a built-like-a-tank pedal capable of saving space on your board and surviving many years of hard touring.