Pedal to the Metal: The 25 Greatest Wah Solos of All Time
We pick the 25 greatest rock and roll wah solos of all time.
15. "I Ain't Superstitious" — Jeff Beck Group (Truth, 1968)
Soloist: Jeff Beck
On the debut album from the Jeff Beck Group, Beck uses this wah-laden take on a Howlin' Wolf tune to show off his mastery of the multitude of sounds one can coax out of a guitar. Somehow, he still continues to baffle us with this skill.
14. "Blue on Black" — Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Trouble Is ..., 1997)
Soloist: Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Kenny Wayne Shepherd burst into the mainstream consciousness with this cut off his 1997 album, Trouble Is ... Any questions over who he was hoping to channel are laid to rest with the inclusion of a cover of "Voodoo Child" as the single's B-side.
13. "Pain and Sorrow" — Joe Bonamassa (So, It's Like That, 2002
Soloist: Joe Bonamassa
Another blues-rock revivalist, Joe Bonamassa lays out some fiery wah work on this deep cut from his sophomore album, So, It's Like That.
12. "Blinded by the Light" — Manfred Mann's Earth Band (The Roaring Silence, 1976)
Soloist: Dave Flett
This tune may have originally been written by Bruce Springsteen, but it didn't become a hit—and eventually a classic—until guitarist Dave Flett and the rest of Manfred Mann's Earth Band got a hold of it for 1976's The Roaring Silence.
11. "Gets Me Through" — Ozzy Osbourne (Down to Earth, 2001)
Soloist: Zakk Wylde
Split between powerful melodies and a heaping helping of shred, the solo from "Gets Me Through" sees Zakk Wylde take his Hendrix Cry Baby to the edge and back on this standout track from Ozzy's 2001 comeback record.
Zakk would eventually merit his very own wah pedal, complete with the Fasel inductor that was responsible for some of the classic wah sounds of the Sixties.
10. "Surfing with the Alien" — Joe Satriani (Surfing with the Alien, 1987)
Soloist: Joe Satriani
"Surfing with the Alien" sees Joe Satriani put the pedal to the metal in every conceivable sense, not the least of which is his stunning work with the wah pedal.
Paired with a Tubedriver and a classic Eventide 949, the wah provides just enough control over his alien tone for Satch to weave his way in and out of an asteroid belt of notes.
09. "Turn Up the Night" — Black Sabbath (Mob Rules, 1981)
Soloist: Tony Iommi
It's a rare occasion when Tony Iommi brings out the wah, but on this Mob Rules cut, the Godfather of Heavy Metal uses it too great effect, upping the aggression level one step further on what may be his most furious studio solo.
08. "Telephone Song" — Vaughan Brothers (Family Style, 1990)
Soloist: Stevie Ray Vaughan
Were you expecting to see the long-winded instrumental "Say What!" from Vaughan's Soul to Soul album? Not a chance, not when this mini-masterpiece of a wah solo exists.
Even without the wah, it's one of his best-constructed, catchiest solos. This track comes from SRV's first full album with his brother, Jimmie Vaughan—which, sadly, turned out to be his last record.
07. "Bad Horsie" — Steve Vai (Alien Love Secrets, 1995)
Soloist: Steve Vai
Like Hendrix before him, Steve Vai wanted to take the wah pedal to its limits, and he accomplished just that on his 1995 EP, Alien Love Secrets.
And in all due fairness to the remaining songs on the list, "Bad Horsie" remains the only track in this whole feature to have its own wah named after it.
06. "Even Flow" — Pearl Jam (Ten, 1991)
Soloist: Mike McCready
"That's me pretending to be Stevie Ray Vaughan," Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready told Guitar World of his classic solo from "Even Flow" back in 1995.
A fitting tribute to the late SRV, the solo saw McCready break out the wah and churn out perhaps the most iconic solo of the grunge era.
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