Review: Electro-Harmonix Wailer Wah Pedal

(Image credit: Electro-Harmonix)

There are so many wonderful wah pedals on the market these days that one is probably prone to ask, “Does the world need yet another wah?”

And the answer to that question, proudly presented by the wacky wizards of Electro-Harmonix, would be, “Yes. The world absolutely needs another wah, and that specifically would be the Wailer Wah.”

In and of itself, there is nothing particular earth-shattering about the Electro-Harmonix Wailer Wah. It doesn’t boast any revolutionary new features or provide a radical new voice that will forever change the way mere musical mortals view the effect. You plug your guitar into it, engage the switch, wiggle your foot, and it goes “wacka-wacka-wacka” all day long until the cows come home and you discover a new source of wealth writing scores for Blaxploitation films and musical interludes for budget porno soundtracks.

In essence, the Wailer Wah provides circuitry based on that of Electro-Harmonix’s beloved Crying Tone Wah pedal in a cost-effective yet surprisingly sturdy plastic enclosure that’s also very lightweight. It has the usual inputs and outputs to plug into (mmm hmmm), an easy-access battery compartment (oh baby), and a jack for non-stop power from a 9VDC adapter (yes, yes, YES!). Its traditional rack and pinion mechanism allows you to rock the treadle or leave the pedal half-cocked for thick, juicy midrange lead tones. While the main enclosure and treadle are made of lightweight, high-impact plastic, the removable bottom panel is made out of metal to fully shield the internal electronics.

The Wailer Wah delivers the sounds that most wah enthusiasts demand, from murky, almost indecipherable midrange to a crisp, biting treble. I particularly loved keeping the foot pedal locked just before the furthest toe down position, which produced an expressive midrange with just the right amount of bite.

The Wailer Wah performs every bit as well as wah pedals costing five times as much. The true-bypass footswitch provides an unmistakable solid click, and the treadle delivers smooth action with enough resistance to stay firmly in place. Even after hours of non-stop use the sound remains crackle- and noise-free.

The enclosure may be plastic, but you’d probably break your foot before you’d crack the case. And the pedal is dirt cheap, so if you wanna wah you can wail away for less wampum.

LIST PRICE: $83.63
MANUFACTURER: Electro-Harmonix,

• The high-impact plastic case is sturdy and lightweight, and it significantly reduces the pedal’s cost.

• With a circuit based on the popular Crying Tone wah, the Wailer Wah provides crisp but not piercing treble and fat, vocal-like midrange.

Many wah pedals have become outrageously expensive these days, but Electro-Harmonix has bucked the trend with an affordable wah that wails on the competition.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.