Guitar Store Extravaganza

Well, perhaps “extravaganza” is a bit too much.  Let’s just call it three hours of hanging out at two local guitar shops.

At the first shop I played a used 50th Anniversary Fender Strat in Olympic White and a Gibson ES-335 Studio in Red (no f holes).  I played both through a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp.  I enjoyed the traditional strat sounds and then plugged in the ES-335.  It really brought out the growl when I dug in with my playing, but still cleaned up nicely when I didn’t dig in as much.  It also responded well to volume adjustments on the guitar.

I also did a little wah wah pedal shoot-out.  They had a ModTone Vintage Wah, a Dunlop Classic Cry Baby Wah, and a Behringer Hellbabe Wah.  I have a Morley Wah that I haven’t been entirely happy with.  I got it used years ago for a ridiculously low price.  It was probably the second guitar effect I ever bought.  I really like the on/off switch and volume control on the outside of the pedal because I can turn it on without impacting the sound (if I have the pedal all the way up) until I choose to.  All of these pedals have the switch on the inside so you have to press down on the pedal to turn on and off the internal switch.

I’ve been a bit unhappy with my Morley Wah because it seems to have a really small range of motion to get the “wah” sound.  What I’m trying to say is that the pedal moves up and down maybe 45 degrees, but the effect only seems to really impact the guitar signal in about 10 or 15 degrees of the motion.

I tried the ModTone Vintage Wah first since it was on sale for 50% off.  I really wanted to like it.  The first thing I noticed was the main body appears to be plastic.  It just did not feel solid.  It seemed to stand up just fine to my playing with it, but picking it up in my hands and it felt like a knock off.  When I played it the engage point where the “wah” really starts was very low.  It started almost immediately, but then it seem to finish way before the range of motion did.  So again, the range of motion that seems to impact the guitar signal seems to be a small portion of the overall range of motion.

I next tried the Classic Cry Baby.  It was a much more solid built pedal except for the bottom plate.  It was still metal, but it felt so thin that I think I could have bent or warped it with my fingers.  I will say that this is a minor complaint.  As for the pedal, it also had a small engage motion that felt too high for me.

Finally, I tried the Behringer Hellbabe Wah.  If I remember correctly, it was all plastic.  It had a number of extra features that I’m sure you can look up elsewhere.  The unusual thing was that it does not have a switch.  The pedal is motion activated.  This was interesting, but was an immediate turn off for me.  I like having a switch on the outside, but could handle a switch on the inside.  There was probably some setting you could do with this pedal, but I couldn’t figure out how to keep the wah on in a certain position like a tone control.  There were two reasons for this. First, the pedal has a spring on it so it is always up unless you push down.  Second, if you don’t move the pedal then it turns off on its own.  The final complaint I had was that there was an audible sound when the wah pedal turned on.  And it wasn’t in an inconspicuous spot because the pedal engaged a little into the note I was trying to wah.

So I came away unhappy with all the Wah pedals.

I did see a Laney LC15R guitar amp that looked interesting, but did not play through it.  Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow?!?


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