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.
05. "A New Level" — Pantera (Vulgar Display of Power, 1992)
Soloist: Dimebag Darrell
Dimebag Darrell is among those guitarists that utilized the wah pedal more subtly, using it as a tone control in most cases. This isn't one of those cases. Darrell's use of the wah on his "A New Level" solo is as surgically precise as one comes to expect from the master craftsman, lending an all new connotation to the phrase, "on a Dime."
04. "Enter Sandman" — Metallica (Metallica, 1991)
Soloist: Kirk Hammett
We're going to let Kirk take this one: "There's something about a wah pedal that really gets my gut going! People will probably say, 'He's just hiding behind the wah.' But that isn't the case. It's just that those frequencies really bring out a lot of aggression in my approach." (Read the full 1991 interview with James and Kirk here)
03. "Sweet Child O' Mine" — Guns N' Roses (Appetite for Destruction, 1987)
Known to break out the wah and fiddle around with "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" as a live lead-in for "Civil War," Slash forged his own piece of rock and roll history with his unforgettable ascending run into one of the shining moments in '80s guitar rock. Bookended by the feral yowl of frontman Axl Rose, Slash makes this would-be ballad anything but with a fierce lead made possible by a stock Cry Baby wah.
02. "White Room" — Cream (Wheels of Fire, 1968)
Soloist: Eric Clapton
A masterful performance on "Tales of Brave Ulysses aside," with "White Room," Eric Clapton virtually wrote the book on how the wah pedal would be used in the context of rock guitar for decades to come.
01. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" — The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Electric Ladyland, 1968)
Soloist: Jimi Hendrix
The go-to song of any guitarist trying out a new wah pedal at Guitar Center, "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" stands as a mammoth moment in rock history, setting a mark that has yet to be breached by any ambitious guitarist with a Cry Baby and a dream. Of the song's recording, engineer Eddie Kramer recalls that the track "was recorded the day after Jimi tracked 'Voodoo Chile,' the extended jam on Electric Ladyland featuring Traffic’s Stevie Winwood on organ and Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady. Basically, Jimi used the same setup — his Strat through a nice, warm Fender Bassman amp. Jimi’s sound on both tracks is remarkably consistent, leading some to think they were recorded at the same session.” Stevie Ray Vaughan's version is no slouch either, by the way. Here's a live version from Rainbow Bridge.
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