Posts Tagged ‘Big Bad Wah’

In my First Impressions article on the VOX Big Bad Wah, a reader commented that “I think this looks like the one Vox Satch pedal that they got right.” After playing with it for the last couple of days, I heartily agree. With both the voice, UK/US inductor and wah mode switches, the Big Bad Wah opens up a ton of possibilities with respect wah tone. So far, I’ve been happy as a clam with the Wah I mode and the US-style inductor (Voice and Drive don’t become active until you activate Wah II). I’ve been playing with Wah II a bit, and it really kicks butt. I dig the Drive knob that adds up to a 10dB clean boost, so you can get a nice gain boost for solos. I still have more experimentation to do, but so far so GREAT!

Having a really great wah pedal makes all the difference in the world to me. I used my Original Cry Baby only sparingly because it was so quirky, and because it was a bit noisy – even when disengaged – I sort of refused to use it on recordings. Well, with the Big Bad Wah, that’s going to change. The sweep on this pedal is perfect. It’s nice and even, which makes it incredibly controllable. It is really a joy to play.

In any case, here’s a clip that I made this morning. It’s a little minor jazz-blues tune. With this clip I wanted to feature Wah II with the darker, more “vowelly” voicing. No boost in this because I didn’t want the amp to break more. Signal chain is: Squier CV Tele –> Big Bad Wah –> Boss CE-2 Chorus –> VOX Time Machine Delay (for a little slap-back). BTW, the Big Bad Wah really plays nice with other pedals. I’ll have some other clips when I do my full review of it. But for now, here’s the current clip:

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Ran across these demos on YouTube, and thought I’d share them here. This first one is from VOX at the NAMM show, and sound quality stinks, but the dude’s explanation of the differences between the two different voices (British or American):

This next clip comes from someone apparently in Japan, where the pedal was recently released. The sound quality is much better, and he inserted little conversation bubbles to show his settings. Picture quality isn’t that great but the quality of the sound makes up for it. Plus, it’s kind of amazing that this dude has such clever and articulate feet that he can make all the adjustments with his toes! HA! He’s not bad at guitar either! Check it out!

Especially after viewing the second clip (despite Mr. Clever Toes), this is definitely my next pedal – at least until after I try it out for myself. 🙂

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Big Bad Wah by VOX and Joe Satriani

Big Bad Wah by VOX and Joe Satriani

Ever since I tried out the VOX Satchurator a few months ago, I’ve been waiting for the this wah pedal to arrive. If it is anything close to the quality of sound that the Satchurator produces, I know that this is going to be a great pedal. The pedal features two modes: Mode 1 is classic VOX wah; while Mode 2 features the ability to variably adjust the gain and voicing profiles of the wah to dial in a variety of tonal possibilities.

One thing I take note of when evaluating pedals is if I can reproduce the manufacturer’s or endorser’s claims about a particular feature. For instance, when Satch touted the “More” switch on the Satchurator, during my tests, I was expecting more volume when my amp was clean, and more balls when my tubes were saturated. The pedal definitely lived up to that claim.

With the Big Bad Wah, VOX states, “Designed to Joe Satriani’s custom specs is the design of the pedal pot itself, delivering a smooth, musical tone throughout the entire sweep of the pedal.” This is huge, because I’ve found in my evaluations of different kinds of wah pedals that when you back off the pedal, your output becomes a bit muddy, so you end up never fully backing off because the wah will just suck your tone. Or seemingly to protect against this, manufacturers will narrow the sweep range, so the wah becomes much less dramatic. I found this to be the case with Morley Steve Vai Bad Horsie, which was very musical throughout its sweep range, but overall, didn’t have that dramatic of a sweep as compared to others I tried. So I ended up just getting a Dunlop Cry Baby, and despite its shortcomings, I’ve come to love it.

But I’ve always loved Satch’s wah tone, not because I want to necessarily sound like him, but because it’s just a killer tone, and highly expressive. And as with the Satchurator, Joe was involved in every aspect of the design process, so the Big Bad Wah promises to be of the exacting standards for which Professor Satchifunkilus is known. Once the Big Bad Wah is available in stores, which should be soon, considering the announcement of its release was made at NAMM, you can be assured I’ll be running down to the local shop to try one out!

Some online retailers like Sweetwater, are doing pre-orders for $219. That’s not a bad price to pay, especially for a signature pedal. And I dig the fact that Joe really wanted all his signature pedals to be affordable and within the reach of a wide range of people. In any case, all this combined makes for me taking a serious look at the Big Bad Wah

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