Ernie Ball Wah Pedal – review

Fantastic sounding wah in a rock solid package.

The Wah effect is fairly ubiquitous in the rock guitar world. Many people have literally rocked this effect over the years. I’ve never been a huge fan of playing with wah pedals myself, although I have liked many players work with one.

I was however extremely lucky to win myself an Ernie Ball Wah Pedal over at Jemsite.com for my review work. Playing Ernie Ball’s interpretation of the wah effect has really impressed me, and now I quite like rocking the wah from time to time.

The Ernie Ball Wah Pedal is like any other regular wah pedal. It is very simple to use; step on the rocking pedal, push down with your toe to activate the wah, and rock your foot back and forth to sweep through the wah’s range.

The pedal sweeps back and forth with just the right amount of resistance. It is very easy to keep your sweeps nice and controlled, and I felt like I didn’t even have to try to avoid switching the wah bypass.

If you find the bypass switch a little to hard or soft for your liking it can be adjusted simply with a 5/8″ spanner. Turn the switch’s nut clockwise raises the switch, thereby making it easier to switch, whilst counter-clockwise lowers it, making it harder to switch off. I found the switch to be my liking at the stock height, so I haven’t felt the need to adjust it at all.

You can also run the Ernie Ball Wah from a standard nine volt battery, or Boss style negative tip AC adapter. A green LED on the left hand side of the pedal lets you know if the effect is engaged, although the sound change will be a pretty big indicator that the pedal is working!

I have found the sound of the Ernie Ball Wah to be perfect. It isn’t too muddy, nor is it too shrill and piercing. It seems that Ernie Ball have found the perfect filter range for their wah pedal for most styles of music. I predominately play rock, punk and metal, and I have found it to be the pedal wah companion for these styles.

With a clean setting on my Blackstar HT-5 the Ernie Ball Wah sounds great both through single coil and humbucker pickups, It gets great funk sounds, without getting overly shrill, and clean blues sounds sweet as well. It sounds particularly sweet when playing slow single note blues phrasing.

I did find that with higher output pickups that the wah did distort a little at the high end of the wah sweep, but it’s not really an issue. I found that it added some character to my playing.

Give it some dirt and the Ernie Ball Wah shines. It sounds ballsy and tough, and really suits high gain lead tones. You don’t have to worry about any really shrill tones, and the lower ranges sound really fat without getting too flabby.

Slower passages, and fast shreddy licks both sounded fantastic. I think you would be hard pressed to look past the Ernie Ball Wah if you play lead guitar in a rock or metal setting.

Ernie Ball saw fit to install true-bypass switching, so the Wah will not affect your bypassed signal in any way. The switch does not introduce any clicking sounds in to the signal either.

The Ernie Ball Wah is built like a tank! It has a solid aluminium enclosure, with a nice grippy surface on the rocker pedal itself. The switches and jacks all feel extremely solid, and are built to endure many, many stage performances by even the roughest of players.

Overall I believe the Ernie Ball Wah is the perfect wah pedal if you play blues, rock and metal guitar. It’s rock solid construction, combined with it’s fantastic tone and true-bypass switching make it perfect for the stage or studio. It may be a little more expensive than some of the established wah pedals, but I believe it is worth a look at if you are in the market for a wah.

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