The effect known as the wah pedal has been used in songs like Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Cream’s White room, Rage Against the Machine’s Bulls on Parade, and many countless other iconic songs throughout rock history. Used as a way of putting more expression and “voice” into a guitar melody, this effect has been heard time and time again in many different forms. At Dunlop we’re proud to be the world’s leader in wah pedal technology with the Crybaby.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the Crybaby 535Q. This is basically a standard Crybaby with fully flexible options, and is the closest thing you’ll get to the ultra-customizable Crybaby Rack Unit.
With the 535Q you have the ability to take control over your wah tone. You can select your frequency range for the “sweep” of your pedal and then further adjust the intensity with the “Q” control. Once you’ve got your sound, make sure it gets heard with a variable boost of up to 16db that can create endless sustain on any note.
The 535Q works like a standard Crybaby, but adds a whole slew of customizable functions. But before we get into those lets take a look at how a standard Crybaby works.
How it works
A wah pedal works by rocking your foot back and forth on a foot pedal, this creates a peak in the frequency response that can be “swept” up and down the frequency spectrum. You should hear a dramatic “wah sounding” emphasis when your frequency range hits the notes you are playing.
What all this means is that when you hit a note on the guitar and you adjust the wah pedal, it produces a vocal like “wah” as you go from heel to toe when you “sweep” the effect. By rocking your foot back and forth on the pedal, you can change the effect that the crybaby has on the tone of your instrument. Toe down will give you more treble; heel down will give you more bass. The speed and amount of the effect you use will depend on your style of playing. When placing the pedal in one position, you will hear a boost in that particular frequency. This boost can be used to add sustain and create feedback of a desired overtone.
The 535Q adds the ability to adjust the sweep range, peak intensity, and boost control. We’ll go over those features here…
The wah range selector knob allows you to select a tonal range that is best suited for your expression needs. By turning the knob clockwise, you get lower register ranges and counter-clockwise for the higher ranges. High ranges tend to sound more punchy and sharp as in Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile, while lower ranges have a more deeper growling feel like Jerry Cantrell’s Chewy.
The Q adjustment controls the sharpness of the bandpass filter. High Q is a very selective and sharp, choose a high Q in combination with high gain for super shrill leads. The lower Q settings has a very broad bass and has more of a musical quality that doesn’t affect your tone as much as high Q settings.
By turning the volume control knob you can control the amount of gain in your signal. Turning the knob clockwise will increase your gain to up to 16db. Hit the red boost button to activate the boost. This is great for any lead work that you think might need a kick.
Most players put their wah pedal before any time based or ambient effects such as reverb, delay/echo, chorus, flange, and vibrato. This adds the effect to their selected wah sounds. Distortion followed by wah sounds very different from wah followed by distortion. The former, distortion then wah, causes the wah wah to make a very overstated, duck-like quacking. The opposite way is much more subtle.
How to use it
You can get a broad range of custom sounds with your 535Q. Here are a dozen examples of the most unique and distinctive wah wah tones for you to try, but as always experiment for yourself until you find your own voice.
Chad Kroeger – Nickelback
Jim Root – Stone Sour, Slipknot
John 5 – Rob Zombie
Troy Van Leeuwen – Queens Of The Stoneage
Warren di Martini – Ratt
Adrian Smith – Iron Maiden
Wes Scantlin – Puddle of Mud
Mike Shinoda – Linkin Park
Audley Freed – Nashville Session Ace
Vivian Campbell – Def Leppard
John Frusciante – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Mike Einziger – Incubus
Jennifer Batten – Jeff Beck, Michael Jackson
Lee Altus – Exodus
Warren Haynes – Allman Brothers
Kenny Wayne Shepard
Fredrick Akesson – Arch Enemy
Synyster Gates – Avengened Sevenfold
Billy Martin – Good Charlotte
Michael Amott – Arch Enemy
Robin Finck – Guns N Roses
Dave Kushner – Velvet Revolver
Josh Rand – Stone Sour
Stephen Carpenter – Deftones
Matthew Tuck – Bullet For My Valentine
Vivian Campbell – Def Leppard
Joe Hahn – Lincoln park
Steve Vai – Solo Artist
Adam Jones – Tool
Marco (Maus) Biazzi – Lacuna Coil