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Whipple Wah Review

I’ve had quite a few wah-wah pedals over the years. I’ve never really been content.

A Wah Wah is a specialty pedal. Not something you use all the time. It’s a potent flavor. When used properly, it’s really tasty.

I’m often not inspired by a lot of wah-wahs. I want to be, and I keep buying them in hopes that it’ll happen.

I’ve owned several Dunlop, Morley and Teese wahs. The Morley was furthest from what I was searching for. I think I owned it for two days before it went back.

They all worked and had no real issues. The Dunlop and Morley were not true bypass which bugged me. None had “that” sound.

Revelations

Recently I got my hands on the Whipple Wah. There are a few interesting notes about this pedal.

First off: it’s made in an aluminum case. This means the pedal is super light. It weighs about as much as a tuner. Yes, you heard me right! I’m riding the F train right now with a wah, OD pedal and cables in my gig bag. It’s not back-breaking. Totally manageable.

This would not be possible with any other wah. Weight alone is a deterrent in bringing a wah to a lot of gigs. They considered this. Very smart. Weight matters.

I have to calculate all weight when I do fly dates. It’s important to keep my pedalboard flight case under 50 pounds. Anything over that means added fees.

That usually means if I need a wah, I have to take something else out of the chain to keep the weight down.

With the Whipple Wah, I don’t have to worry about weight anymore.

Sound

Talking to Michael about his wahs gave me some perspective as to why they sound good. He’s very humble and doesn’t try to spin a lot as to why his Wah is so great.

He simply says that he just makes them sound good. Meaning he builds, tests and tweaks every pedal until it sounds good to his ears. He’s not just spitting out wah-wahs. He’s listening.

Field Test

You’ll make a quick discovery when you plug it into an amp. It’s a very sweet sounding wah. The highs aren’t shrill. Hooray! A lot of wahs are too bright for my taste.

Also, a lot of wahs have too wide of a sweep range. The vintage ones had a much more limited sweep range than modern wahs.

Whipple clearly longed for wahs of the past. The sweep range sits in the sweet spot for my taste.

Mid Boost

There are some cool tricks you can do with a wah too that aren’t the traditional wakka-wakka sound.

Sometimes I really like to use it as a midrange boost. It’s really easy to turn the wah on and find a frequency to park it.

Yes, you can do this trick with any pedal. But, I feel like the tone of the Whipple is more musical than others.

Test Pilot

Sometimes the real test is taking a pedal on a gig. It’s one thing to get comfortable with a wah on your rig. It’s another to have it play nicely with the backline amp you may end up with.

I’ve taken it on a few gigs where I ended up with a less than desirable amp. That’s good because I really got to put the Whipple to the test.

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The first gig was with a Fender Blues Junior. A popular amp. Like some other things that are popular, they’re not the best. They’re too bright and cold for my tastes (It’s all really just opinion, isn’t it?).

Because there are so many Blues Juniors around, I generally know what to expect. Wah-wahs tend to be harsh through them. Like little teeter totters of ice pick treble death. Too harsh a description?

Hugs

The Whipple was kind to my ears through the amp. What a breath of relief.  I didn’t have to worry when I clicked it on. Nobody in the audience spilled their drink when I engaged the pedal. Dogs didn’t start howling from the street.

I was able to get instant Curtis Mayfield without the usual tone band-aids I’d have to add. If it can handle that amp, I felt pretty content plugging it into a Twin Reverb or other bright amps. I’ve always wrestled with the Dunlop and Teese in these situations.

Here are a few examples of the Whipple Wah.

Example 1: Clean

American Stratocaster into the Whipple Wah into a Headstrong Lil King Reverb

Example 2: Little Grit

American Stratocaster into an into the Whipple Wah into an Effectrode Tube Drive into a Headstrong Lil King Reverb

Example 3: Gainiac

Les Paul with Voodoo Humbuckers into an into the Whipple Wah into an Effectrode Tube Drive into a Headstrong Lil King Reverb


You can find out more about Whipple Wahs here. They’re simply wahtastic!!

Best of luck on your future career in porn soundtracks.

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Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall is a producer, songwriter, session musician and instructor based in NYC. More at guitaristmarkmarshall.com

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