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Dunlop honors The Meters’ funk guitar legend Leo Nocentelli with signature Mardi Gras Cry Baby wah pedal

Dunlop Leo Nocentelli Mardi Gras Cry Baby
(Image credit: Jim Dunlop)

The Meters are one of the funkiest bands to have ever existed, setting the template for countless acts who followed with iconic syncopated workouts like Cissy Strut and Fire on the Bayou. Now, Dunlop has paid homage to the band’s heavily sampled guitarist Leo Nocentelli with the launch of the signature Mardi Gras Cry Baby wah pedal.

Nocentelli’s take on the Cry Baby is certainly among the most colorful Dunlop has produced, encompassing a purple sparkle base, gold treadle and custom fleur-de-lis green tread, all inspired by the guitarist’s New Orleans roots.

Based on the thick, vocal wacka-wackas heard on the likes of Just Kissed My Baby, the Mardi Gras features a deeper frequency sweep than regular Cry Babys, more akin to Nocentelli’s previous fave, the Jimi Hendrix JH-1.

Sweep frequencies range from 290 Hz to 310 Hz at the heel through to 1.4 kHz to 1.5 kHz at the toe.

“I didn’t want to change the mechanics,” Nocentelli says of his signature wah (opens in new tab).

“I approached Jimmy Dunlop about doing the Mardi Gras Wah, and the significance was using Mardi Gras colors. The original colors were more pastel on the green and gold, and a more regular shade of purple. It took Jimmy a long time and a lot of passion to develop those colors to appear as special as they do now.

“I applaud him for that, and I’m very grateful and proud of the way they turned out. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever been involved in.”

Rather than the artist’s signature, the pedal’s baseplate bears a description of Nocentelli’s achievements, heralding him as “the innovator of syncopated funk”.

There’s no word on a price for the Mardi Gras yet, but you can head to Jim Dunlop (opens in new tab) for more info.

Back in November, Nocentelli released his long-lost ’70s solo album, Another Side, which shines a light on his acoustic playing.

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Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar (opens in new tab), Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe (opens in new tab).