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Gonna do a big Wah shootout this weekend - THE RESULTS ARE IN, WE HAVE A WINNER!!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JGR, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    Just ordered an Automagic Earthquake, Gig-fx MegaWah, George Dennis GD 40, and the Weeping Demon. :eek:

    Gonna try them out in my home with my rig and send the losers back. I'm looking for a very powerful, nasty sounding wah to use with fuzz.... no clean funky stuff for me.

    I left out the Dunlop and Morley's because I figure I can always try one later, but I'm guessing they may not be what I'm looking for. Had a Snarling Dogs way back when and they were made like crap, so I'm not even going there. The wah of choice needs to be solid. Also heard luke warm things about the EBS and BOSS PW10, and I'm not a Digitech fan, so these are what's left.

    I've heard great things about the Weeping Demon and hopefully it will be the "best" as it is also significantly cheaper than the others.

    George Dennis makes a lot of high quality pedals, and several wah's with a range switch for bass/keyboard - the GD40 was available from the same place as the others, so we'll give her a whirl. Haven't heard much about this brand so I'm looking forward to it.

    The Automagic is certainly the most pricey, and I've heard mixed reviews, but it better crush for almost three bills.

    The Gig-fx has some really unique features including stereo in/out and the ability to run one of the outputs back into the second input for some "crazy" sounds, so we'll see what thats all about.

    I'm going to test them with my PE Depth Charge and GK Diesel Dawg. I'll try them clean too, don't worry, ;)

    Sorry, can't post sound clips, but I'll do my best to describe things, keeping in mind what I am looking for...

    Stand by....


    Weeping Demon showed up today.. others should be here tomorrow.

    Weeping Demon: First off, the unit arrived with a defective manual switch, so I was only able to test the pedal in auto mode. Played my Hamer Jazz through the RBI/DB728 into an SWR 12-stack. I tried the wah both before and after the GK Diesel Dawg, and as I mentioned before, I get the best results going bass->wah->distortion->amp.

    Overall, a very nice pedal, especially for the $$. Having the unit show up bad out of the box doesn't inspire confidance, though it happens with just about everything from time to time, and the build quality is as solid if not more so than the standard fair Dunlop puts out. Mechanically, the pedal felt solid and the adjustments for pedal return and friction are very cool - well done Ibanez. The tonelok knobs (vol, Q, bass) are a nice feature, and they felt solid enough; there are also two minipots under the treadle on the front of the unit (upper freq range and auto on/off time) - they are typical of this type, which means a bit flimsy. However, they are hidden so I wouldn't anticipate a problem, and wasn't put off by them.

    I found the best tones with volume, Q, and the minipot for upper range cranked all the way up, the bass knob at a minimum, and the hi/lo range switch set to low. This gave me the most dramatic wah sound and sounded very good overall with the dist. pedal, similar to what we are used to hearing on guitar, only lower - which is what I am after.

    All of the controls are well-voiced, though I didn't care for the bass knob as it muffled the sound and took away from the vocal quality of the wah. The hi/lo range switch is very effective so I didn't have the need for any low end boost, and had the best results buy cutting it out all the way. The auto on/off worked pretty well though it takes some getting used to coming from conventional wahs. Sweep is nice and wide, and has a smooth transition through the range. I really wish the manual switch wasn't defective because I wanted to see how the pedal felt and behaved in this mode compared to my Fulltone.

    Overall, this is a very cool wah and I can see why folks really dig it. I don't think you can go wrong for $99, and I have a feeling that this one will be one of the final contenders. Tonally speaking, while the pedal worked great on the low and midrange, I ran it through the Anestesia test and would still like to hear more screaming in the upper registers. I am sending this one back since it is defective, and getting a refund for the time being. It wasn't quite what I was hearing in my head, but it was certainly a great start, and I wouldn't hesititate to recommend it to folks (though I can't vouch for reliability). Check it out.

    Tomorrow: George Dennis, Gig-fx, and the Earthqake. Stay tuned....

    **2nd Update**

    OK, here's the rest:

    George Dennis GD40: At $144, this was the cheapest of the remaining three. Very nice build quality, better than Gig-fx and Ibanez, probably on par with the MSD minus the cool stainless case. The only control is a range switch for guitar/bass. Manual on/off via treadle activated toe switch. The sound was just weak. The range was probably OK, but the wah effect just isn't pronounced enough to really tell. Sounded better through a clean amp though I don't have a use for this. It really needs a volume control to crank up the level. Based on the price and construction, I would be tempted to try their Para-wah which, has adjustable controls like the WD, but they don't put out much info or specs on their products .

    Gig-fx: HUGE dissappointment. First off, it has auto on/off activation only, and the execution was so crappy as to render it worthless as far as I'm concerned. It's awkward in the way the effect engages/disengages, and there is a huge delay where the sound totally cuts out during the on/off transition.. ***? As for the wah, it had way to much treble region and produced a lot of noise and ear-screeching feedback. Overall construction was not as solid as I had hoped - seemed fine, but nothing great, and certainly not worth $224. Don't bother with this one either.

    MSD Earthquake: Construction is very solid with the stainless steel case, and the pedal is beautiful. All switches feel very solid and the auto switch in the heel of the treadle worked very well. Internally, construction was fine but not what I would expect out of a pedal that costs $284. Looks like all the money went into the case. For this price, I would expect chassis mounted jacks/pots, and a lot of hand-wiring - ala the construction on my Fulltone Clyde Deluxe. Soundwise, this pedal is cool though not perfect. The wah has great sweep and I found the transition to be very smooth from low to high. I got the best results with the Earth switch in the two higher positions - the lowest one produces just too much bass and not enough highs. If huge low end wah is your game, look no further. My gripe is that position 2 is still a bit too bassy and position 3 is too trebly. They need to either revoice the pedal or add a couple of settings in between. The wah effect is very pronounced and dramatic, and overall very cool sounding. It's more gritty and classic sounding than the WD, but it better be for the $$. The low end is huge on the pedal, and very clear sounding - it really does make things "quake" at the lower end of the spectrum. The WD is not in the same league in this regard. The other thing I change would be to add a volume control to take things a step further. There is also a 4 position quake control for the overall Q, and again I preferred the highest setting for a dramatic effect. Again, lets shave off the lower ones and add a couple more at the upper end. The classic/modern switch is a cool feature, and both work well though I preferred the classic setting. Regarding the nylon string that is used to actuate the internal pot, it is screwed into the bottom of the pedal and tied to the other end of the slider pot inside the chassis. While something more robust would be nice at this price range, it did not give me cause for great concern and it gives a nice smooth feel to the pedal actuation. So, I am tempted to keep this pedal, but at almost $300, it needs to be perfect, and it's not (for me). Add a couple more Earth settings and a volume control, and I'm there. However, if you have the $$, I recommend checking it out. BTW, this pedal is NOT true bypass, but I didn't detect any signal degredation.

    In summary, everything is going back. The best two pedals by far were the most expensive (MSD) and the cheapest (WD). I preferred the tone of the MSD overall, but I don't feel the cost of this pedal is justified. Fulltone needs to do a bass version of the Clyde Deluxe. Can't complain about the WD (other than reliability concerns) considering the huge price/performance ratio.

    I'm wah'd out for now.

    **Final Update (I promise)**

    Fulltone Clyde Deluxe!!! I believe I mentioned in another post that I was playing around with this pedal (I have it for my guitar rig) while I was waiting for the others to arrive with not so great results. Well, after packing up all of the others, I plugged this one back in, and low and behold, THERE IT IS - the perfect bass wah!! I found tonal nirvana on the "wacked" setting which has the most low end, with the internal trimmer cranked all the way to the bassiest setting. The pedal has a volume boost as well, and I cranked it.

    I don't know what changed, but this think rips on bass! I tune down a half step, and there is plenty of low end without being overpowering like the MSD, and the top end can scream like an old Morley. The midrange is so chewy and complex throughout the whole range. Incredible. I was posting this earlier and lost the whole thing, so I'm cutting this short - I'll post more tomorrow if anyone is interested. This is an expensive pedal in the $280 range, but the others don't come anywhere near this in terms of build quality, so if any pedal is worth it, this one is. Here's a shot of the innards:


    Stellar. The other thing that is so perfect is that I can keep the pedal in the heel position and get a sweet, grindy midrange filter thing happening like at the end of Anestesia where he starts jamming with the drums - it doesn't get woofy or muffled sounding. $750 of wahs later and the perfect one has been here all along!

  2. jsbass


    Sep 3, 2006
    If you want something great with fuzz, try to find a vintage Morley Power Wah Boost. Mine just arrived today, played it with my Big Muff, man it's amazing.
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Sounds like a fun time!
  4. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    thats on the list for sure - i just want to try and find something in production first. give us a report when you get a chance!

  5. Me sense dissapointment... standing by! :ninja:
  6. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    perhaps...and if so, it'll be on the big brown truck back to the warehouse!:p

  7. olaff421


    Sep 29, 2006
    Murfreesboro TN
    I'm curious about the earthquake myself. I will definatly watch this thread to see what you come up with. The gig-fx sounds kind of cool...
  8. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Must have sound samples! :p
  9. excane

    excane Banned

    Aug 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    I'm looking forward to this.... I'm really interested in what you think of the Gig-FX
  10. Andy V.

    Andy V.

    Nov 5, 2006
    Dumbo, NY
    Good luck, dude!
  11. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    You're welcome to come on over and check em out!

  12. Nils


    Oct 9, 2006
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Oh, subscribed! Ever since I heard Mastodon's cover of Orion and reading he uses an Earth Quake wah on the track, I've wanted one! But hopefully it sounds like crap to you, so I can go and buy a cheap Dunlop, EBS or Morley instead. You will post sound sample I hope?
  13. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    While I haven't tried most of the pedals in your shootout, I have tried out the more common wahs out there. I was impressed with the Weeping Demon for sure, but the best wah for heavy music I have ever found is the Rocktron Black Cat Moan. It seriously floored me and beat the crap out of the standard Morley/Dunlop fare. This is only my opinion, though. Good luck with the shootout.
  14. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    thanks for the input. i saw that one but haven't heard anything about it. i'll keep it in mind.

  15. ETEcarmine


    Jun 29, 2005
  16. I'd really like to hear what you think about the george dennis and the weeping demon wahs. I too am on a wah hunt but dont have the money to order more than one at a time. At the moment I am looking at the two I mentioned, the crybaby and the morley power wah re-issue.
  17. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    I haven't had the opportunity unfortunately, but I was watching some cool videos of Cliff Burton on Youtube last night, and his wah was pretty cool! I gotta think that some of the ones I have on the way will give me what I'm looking for.... I'm not really trying to copy Cliff, I just think he is a good point of reference for a cool distorted bass wah sound. I think a big part of it is what distortion/fuzz you are using with it, and how the signal chain is setup.

    Lemme add a pre-review of another wah to the upcoming shootout - I already have a very nice Fulltone Clyde Deluxe for my guitars. It has a three position setting that varies the frequency response and an internal trimmer that allows additional variation, in addition to a clean boost. I put it on the lowest setting last night which doesn't work great normally, but then I cranked the internal trimmer all the way to the bassiest setting and started getting better results. It still did not go low enough, and had too much high end that causes a lot of squeal and feedback. Sounded good in the midrange though.

    BUT, here's the kicker - a lot of folks say to put the distortion before the wah, and this was total crap for me. I want my bass wah to sound the same way it does on my distorted electrical guitar, and I run it into the front of a distorted amp - i.e. wah before the distortion. I have had no luck using wahs after distortion as they totally cut out the signal on the lowest notes and just make a sort of quack with no sweep through the range.

    I got the best results last night running my wah in front of the dirt pedals (PE Depth Charge and GK Deisel Dawg). I had the best results with the GK and it is a fairly bright, aggressive pedal with no blend control - the wah didn't sound good with the PE unless the blend was all the way to wet signal, which doesn't sound good by itself.

    So, what I have learned so far (for me anyway) is that the dist/fuzz works better fully wet or with pedals that don't have a blend, and the wah needs to go BEFORE the dirt pedal. If folks out there can get it to work in the other order, cool - I will try it both ways when the rest arrive, but I don't see this changing.

  18. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    I don't really either :eek: just put it on the plastic and am going to send the losers home for a full refund!

  19. I've A-B'd the PWO and the Earthquake and it's a total non-event. I hated the Earthquake with a passion on several levels and I beleive the PWO is the best wah for bass that there ever was. Can't get much more of a dichotomy than that!

    If anyones interested, search for my user name and the word "earthquake" and you should turn up a full reveiw.
  20. ETEcarmine


    Jun 29, 2005
    That gives me a sort of sigh of relief. Although I've never heard the Earthquake myself, I'm confident in the PWB. Also, $280 for a wah is pretty damn steep.

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