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I'm Ditchin' The Wah!


kaleb

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I decided to quit using a wah. The last time I played out (the Friday right before Easter Sunday. Good Friday.), the only pedal I brought was my Cry Baby. Used it a couple times, but it sent a thought in my head: "Do I really need this as much as I think I do?". So I have been contemplating, and now I really feel that a wah is almost unnecessary in my rig (in favor of phasers, and chorus pedals). And I really think my version of Voodoo Chile would really sound more original either without a wah or with another effect like a phaser. I mean, SRV's cover was closely liked with Hendrix's, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd's cover is linked with both of em'. It's the wah tone. I need to make the song original. Baldwinize it, so to speak. Good day!

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Yes, KWS does Voodoo Chile (my last drummer mispronounced it Voodoo Chili when he first read our set list! Mmmm, chili..). Always at the end of his set. And guess what? Plays it like SRV. And Voodoo Chile doesn't sound stupid without the wah. It's a great song no matter what. It's more than just a wah lick with a spacey solo. There's more to that song than a lot of people think. I think to properly understand it you would have had to been there when it came out. I wasn't. I don't fully understand it, cause' I ain't experienced, so to speak. Hendrix wrote that song for the people that were on his side. The soldiers in Vietnam. That was their anthem over there. Once, I heard Lee Roy Parnell cover it, and he really made it original. He played it on a Tele, in Open E tuning, with a slide, and NO WAH! It was cool. The wah pedal ain't the essence of that song, it is the feeling. And I think I would rather prefer a phaser set on half speed (for a Uni Vibe type sound. Or like Alex Lifeson circa Caress Of Steel for those who love Rush!) for Voodoo Chile.

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It's like someone playing Freebird on piano, and sounding real cool, and therfore getting rid of his guitars. But to each his own, brutha. Hey, it might even sound delightful on kazoo! [flapper]

 

I don't even think that's a valid comparison. A better one would be someone playing Eruption with a Phase 90, but with no delay or reverb.

 

And there's more to my decision than the Hendrix thing. I'm starting to become more acrobatic onstage (but I ain't being flamboyant like Paul Stanley...), and I really like to dance around and I have my own little moves for each song my band does. When I'm not singing (abeit very poorly LOL), I like to be center stage, running around like a maniac (Bruce Dickinson!), and any type of expression based pedal (wah, Whammy, volume pedal, etc) holds me down. I'd rather use a Phase 90 for that kind of effect (the sweeping effect, not the make-my -guitar-sound-like-a duck effect....), cause' I just hit the switch and I can go pull an EVH! And I find the tone's better without my Cry Baby in the signal (I know there is true bypass wahs and wahs with better buffers in it but lets face it, Cry Baby's suck tone...). Another reason is other players overusing the wah (my father, Kirk Hammett, Sl00sh, Mark Tremonti, Zakk Wylde, etc). And everyone around Montana who plays rock or blues guitar (there's a lot of bluegrass and country pickers' round here) owns a wah, beit a Cry Baby and the many models Dunlop makes, Vox wah, or Morley (my dad has the Tremonti wah. I hate it.). And I wanna be that one guy that has a Phase 90 and an octaver instead.

 

And I wasn't even a bit concerned about playing Voodoo Chile without a wah. I was more concerned about the solo in Rush's Spirit Of Radio as well as Anthem and 2112. And No Quarter sounds cool with a phaser as well. The only thing I'll probably miss about it is the half cocked wah tone.

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The only thing I'll probably miss about it is the half cocked wah tone.
Which was the one reason I was about to suggest keeping it (one of my favorite ways to use a wah). But whatever floats yer boat. Betting you'll still keep it around in case you want to re-introduce it, and even if not, Cry Baby's an Vox's are anything but expensive if you decide you need one again (betting at some point you will).
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Which was the one reason I was about to suggest keeping it (one of my favorite ways to use a wah). But whatever floats yer boat. Betting you'll still keep it around in case you want to re-introduce it, and even if not, Cry Baby's an Vox's are anything but expensive if you decide you need one again (betting at some point you will).

 

Yeah, I don't plan on selling it. I'll always have a wah on hand. Even if one can't stand wahs, you just have to have one laying around. Look at Paul Gilbert. No wah on his board, yet he is known to love wahs and speaks fondly of them. I was just jammin' on some Rush tunes. First time I played the song Anthem (from the Fly By Night album) all the way through. The solo has a wah on it. Didn't use one. Turned out great. Added in some nuances from my picking to cover it up, like pinch harmonics and simply holding the pick in different positions.

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Yeah, I don't plan on selling it. I'll always have a wah on hand. Even if one can't stand wahs, you just have to have one laying around. Look at Paul Gilbert. No wah on his board, yet he is known to love wahs and speaks fondly of them. I was just jammin' on some Rush tunes. First time I played the song Anthem (from the Fly By Night album) all the way through. The solo has a wah on it. Didn't use one. Turned out great. Added in some nuances from my picking to cover it up, like pinch harmonics and simply holding the pick in different positions.

I loved Anthem (loved early Rush) back in the day. My band (1976) played about half the first album, and added Anthem and Fly By Night later. Had no money at the time (spent everything I could on the two Marshall heads and cabs), but managed to buy my one and only stomp box at that time, a Phase 45, which I put to great use on that tune. I didn't miss the wah in that case (did borrow one for a while so got the feel for it), Guitar I used was a the '67 Firebird III (non-reverse) with 3 P 90's. Gotta say, we had an awesome sound, and even though my playing was technically weak, we had the passion and the feel, and really did do that song justice! And oh my Gawd were we LOUD!

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I loved Anthem (loved early Rush) back in the day. My band (1976) played about half the first album, and added Anthem and Fly By Night later. Had no money at the time (spent everything I could on the two Marshall heads and cabs), but managed to buy my one and only stomp box at that time, a Phase 45, which I put to great use on that tune. I didn't miss the wah in that case (did borrow one for a while so got the feel for it), Guitar I used was a the '67 Firebird III (non-reverse) with 3 P 90's. Gotta say, we had an awesome sound, and even though my playing was technically weak, we had the passion and the feel, and really did do that song justice! And oh my Gawd were we LOUD!

 

Loud is good!

 

2 Marshall stacks? Phase 45? NR Firebird III? COOL!

 

Ya, all my pedals are at the practice space, but my main guitar and one of my amps is here so I ran my Digitech RP1000 thru my acoustic amp (also known as Plexi Jr.) and am having pretty good results. Was using their JCM 900 model, with some tape delay set at 320 ms and a few repeats, as well as their Small Stone model phaser at around half speed. And the 808 model for the lead. Sounded pretty good? Nowhere near as good as a real Marshall with real pedals, but it is fun to practice with!

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Loud is good!

 

2 Marshall stacks? Phase 45? NR Firebird III? COOL!

 

Ya, all my pedals are at the practice space, but my main guitar and one of my amps is here so I ran my Digitech RP1000 thru my acoustic amp (also known as Plexi Jr.) and am having pretty good results. Was using their JCM 900 model, with some tape delay set at 320 ms and a few repeats, as well as their Small Stone model phaser at around half speed. And the 808 model for the lead. Sounded pretty good? Nowhere near as good as a real Marshall with real pedals, but it is fun to practice with!

Only two half stacks. One slant, so two heads atop two cabs. Saw Rush a couple years earlier in a small club, got in with a fake ID [laugh] and Alex had 4 heads and 4 cabs, that's what inspired me and I ditched the West Avalon for the Marshall 100W at my first chance.

 

Story has it that they wrote the song "Fly By Night" the night after the show, prepping for a late night flight out of town (Lansing Michigan, a small club called the Silver Dollar Saloon, no longer there unfortunately). They came into the Mall I worked at that day, I sold Neil some jeans (Geddy and Alex were out in the Mall but never came into my store). I was hungover and recognized him but didn't know from where lol... right after he left I figured it out (duh!). That's when I spotted Geddy and Alex.

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I was at a late-night jam with a crowd of other musicians one night after all the clubs closed and was doing all Hendrix covers,several people called out for Voodoo Child(slight return).I played the song without the wah and it sounded naked and lifeless.I find that no matter how well one plays it,the wah has become such an integral part of the song that it is pretty well a neccessity when playing that particular song,the same holds true for White Room by Cream and Brother Louie by Ian Llyod and Stories.

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Several years ago I picked up a new 90s Dungplop Cry Baby wah to save wear and tear on my old '67 Vox Clyde McCoy and '68 Jen Cry Baby wahs.When I got the thing home and plugged the guitar into it I was appalled at how terrible it sounded compared to the vintage wahs-there was absolutely no comparison so I took my old Morley Power Wah out of mothballs and used that instead even though I wasn't overly fond of it,it didn't sound near as bad as the new Cry Baby.So surfpup you're certainly right about their wahs.

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Well wahkeen, i will try and find your guitars [flapper] and Bonzoboy, i was right, voodoo chile sounded lifeless and naked, so thats why I have a wah in my rig, and second of all, I NEED A VINTAGE WAH

 

You don't need a vintage wah. Just make the most of what you have. The thing you need is a good tube amp. If you really want that wah sound, get an RMC Wheels Of Fire wah. They're pricey. But vintage wahs are more expensive.

 

Voodoo Chile sounds great with or without a wah. If you want to play it exactly like Hendrix or SRV, then a wah is probably necessary. I want to originalize it. To me, wahs and phaser type stuff can easily be covered over, but chorusing and especially delays are necessary to play songs that originally had them. Try playing a post 2112 Rush tune without chorus. Try playing Van Halen without delay. My ideal pedal setup at the moment (it's always changing. I'm worse than a woman LOL) is a tuner (my Polytune), an octaver (don't have one yet but I like the MXR Bass Octave Deluxe. Designed for bass, but like many things that were made for bass, it sounds epic on guitar), compressor (one of the best tools a guitar player can have. I have a Rocktek compressor and it sucks! So I don't use THAT compressor. I'm saving for a Keeley), phaser (script logo Phase 90), some overdrive of sorts (I love the Xotic pedals and the BB Plus is one of my next purchases), a chorus (I'm probably gonna replace my DOD with a Retro Sonic, which is a CE-1 clone. Yes, that's the Lifeson fan in me. and it has that nice vibrato in it so I can play Cold Shot the right way!), and a couple of delays in the fx loop (I'm hunting down a couple of Chandler Digital Echo rackmount delays). And I want one of those Line 6 wireless units!

 

And the tone of my Cry Baby might be my reason for kicking it off the board. Well, as said before, I can do without it. Wah will always be cool, and I'll never downtalk it like some players do.... But it's just not...me!

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