The Cry Baby Wah is one of the most iconic effects in music history, and its creation was an accident.
In 1966, Thomas Organ Company engineer Brad Plunkett was testing a new amplifier tone circuit when he and his colleagues heard the strange but alluring effect created when he moved the tone control from left to right. Plunkett’s colleagues suggested putting the circuit into a volume pedal, and the Cry Baby Wah was born.
Thomas Organ Company produced the pedal until 1981, when the company shut its doors.
In 1982, Dunlop acquired the Cry Baby name and everything that remained at the original factory, from schematics to parts and tooling. Since then, the Cry Baby line has grown to include wah pedals for virtually any tonal and functional need. They can be classed into three general categories: Vintage, Multi-Functional and Signature. Wahs in the Vintage category are designed to recreate classic sounds from the early days.
Multi-functional wahs are all about tonal and functional options. Signature wahs are designed to accommodate the unique and specific needs of some of the world’s top touring and recording guitar players. In the photo gallery below, we take a look at the most popular pedals in each category.
GW's Paul Riario recently visited Dunlop HQ in California, where he tried out three signature Cry Baby pedals—the Slash, Dimebag Darrell and Jerry Cantrell models. You can see the results in the bonus video below. Note that all three of these pedals are included in our nine-pedal roundup below.
For more about Dunlop's Cry Baby pedals, visit jimdunlop.com/products/electronics/cry-baby.