A Guide to the Best Fuzz Friendly Wah Pedal
Wah and fuzz are two of the most popular effects for electric guitar, and also happen to sound great when played together.
But there’s a but: these two devices, in their original versions, have an impedance incompatibility that causes issues ranging from deafening squeal sounds to “sonic sadness” when fed into each other (and since it’s universally accepted that the wah should be the first pedal in the effect chain, we are referring here to what happens when you feed a wah into a fuzz).
For a technical explanation of this incompatibility, you can read this article. And if you are planning on using your fuzz before your wah, you don’t need to worry: they will get along in that order!
If you already own a beloved but non-fuzz-friendly wah pedal and aren’t afraid of doing some circuit bending, don’t despair! The author of that very article sells, for just $45, a Wah Retrofit Kit (basically, a specific buffer) that will fix this problem.
But if you are looking for a new wah, and plan on playing it together with your fuzz, you may want to choose from this list of “fuzz friendly” wah pedals, which feature a modified circuit that solves the impedance problem:
- Fulltone Clyde
A wah inspired by the original Vox devices of the ’60s, with an added “Resonance Control” for bass and gain adjustment. Improved Halo inductor and potentiometer make this pedal quieter and overall better sounding than the original. The popular Clyde Deluxe version adds, for $40 more, a ten-step variable input level control, true bypass, and three selectable modes: Wacked, Jimi, and Shaft (while the Fulltone Supa-Wah has two more). All three versions versions sport a fuzz-friendly circuit that doesn’t alter the wah’s original sound.
- Xotic XW-1 Wah
A quality wah based on the original 1967-68 Clyde McCoy Wahs, it features four knobs on the side panel to control Treble, Bass (both with +/-15db potentiometers), the Q (range) of the filter and the Bias. The rocker pedal tension is also fully adjustable. Its fuzz friendly buffering circuit assures a great sounding wah tone when used with your fuzz arsenal.
- Real McCoy RMC1
Hand-built, this well regarded fuzz-friendly wah delivers more sweep range than mass-produced wahs, a more musical sweep with a repositioned sweet spot, richer mids, and a stronger low end.
- Wilson Effects Freaker Wah V2
Based on the rare and unique sounding Tycobrahe Parapedal made famous by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, the Freaker is a dual filter wah. A six-position Q switch adjusts the filter’s settings delivering anything from a high filter sweep to a deep filter sweep. The filter sweep can also be set from wide to narrow, and a volume control lets you compensate for loss in volume when activated.
- Real McCoy RMC4 Picture Wah
An authentic recreation of a vintage Italian Picture Wah, with its classic greasy, smoky, gritty sound. The builder offers several more or less fuzz-friendly build options, including different kinds of vintage Carbon comp resistors and Metal film resistors. Check out the RMC10 for a much cleaner take on the same vintage circuit.
- Wilson Mini Q-Wah
A boutique, fully adjustable, fuzz friendly, vintage spec mini wah pedal – the only compact one on this list. It includes volume control, internal Sweep range trimmer, internal 6 Position DIP switch for adjusting “Q” range, external mid-range control and external resonance or growl control.
- RMC2FL Wah
Same primary tuning as the RMC1, but three controls for volume, Q (shifts the position of the filter in the frequency spectrum) and Sweep (which changes the range of the sweep). Features a fuzz friendly circuit as all RMC wash.
A Wah Pedal with a Fuzz in it
Those who’d rather entirely bypass this problem and also save some space on your board may want to check out the Morley 20/20 Power Fuzz Wah, which embeds a two-mode fuzz inside the company switchless, compact wah pedal.
Here are some videos focused on this topic, here are all our articles about wah pedals.