Fuzz and Wah: Using a Wah to Create Your Fuzz Tone!!

Shorty after I had finished the article of the last blog I felt there must be more to the Fuzztone. Of course there it was, why had I not thought about that one before??: Using a wah to get a dirty Fuzztone. It is one of those tricks used by a lot of guitarists of the 1960s such as Hendrix, and I have known this trick for a long time, but I simply overlooked it. Heh, there are too many options available to get particular tones.
Okay, so I checked it out how to use your wah and to get happening Fuzz tones, and boy did I get great dirty tones over the last few days?!  Even if you do not have any great amps, the wah trick should send your overdrive into a frenzy to create some great 60s sounds. Not into the Fuzzsounds of the 60s? Hey, bands such as Muse use this sound as well. Try out this trick as it will give you such sick overdrive and Fuzz sounds.

Before I will take you through some sounddetails check out the soundpatch I mainly used:

         Gtr.—>Compressor—>Peavy Dirty Dog—>Boss BD2—>Wah—>Graphic EQ—>Reverb—>Amp Nr.1
                                                                                                                                          —>Amp Nr.2

   Not familiar with Peavy Dirty Dog pedal? Don’t worry, it is just another dist. pedal, I will explain it in futureblogs, as it is really special, and there is not much information about them on the net.
Most of you will know the BD2, no need to talk about that one now, I will talk about which wah I used, but again it does not matter for now. The Grahpic EQ and Reverb are there just to finish off the sound, they add more detail to the overal sound. Not using two amps? Again do not worry as it is just an extra nicety you may want to try out for future.

The placement of your pedals does make somewhat of a difference, try most combinations to find out what you like best of all. Here are some of my basic principles I used:

                    Treble Booster BEFORE Wah:

In my given soundpatch I use both the Peavy pedal and the BD2 as a treblebooster. When I want to drive the amps I boost the gain on the BD2 and the Peavy will add extra treble [read extra grid] to the overdrive from the BD2.
Placing the Wah after the treblebooster creates a bright, somewhat slightly distorted Wah sound. Pushing the gain on the BD2 will create more distortion while still keeping the Wah smooth and fairly clear.
I did experiment with the placement of the compressor: I placed it after the Wah, tried it in between the BD2 and the Wah and all of these variations give you a slightly different sound.
Overal the compressor adds more body and brightness to the sound, I like it most of all when it is first in the patch as it adds extra body and brightness to the overal sound. Again, just try and see how you like it best of all. The kind of compressor you use also makes a difference. I use an Aphex Punch Factory, they are very smooth and subtle. It just happens to be the one I could find here which works quite well for what I want.

                   Treble Booster AFTER Wah:

Using the Treble booster after your Wah will create a more dramatic, agressive, in your face, kind of sound. A lot of you may like this kind of sound. Reminded me very much about Muse, also heard recently a song by Pulp, it was  during a radiobroadcast from BBC Radio 2 about Glastonbury 1995, and there was one song in particular where the guitarist of Pulp used his Wah in a similar way.


In all the applications I described before I used the Wah  as an envelopefilter: Ride the pedal slowly and smoothly up and down to accentuate particular parts of the frequncyspectrum. I did not use the Wah in the conventional way to emphasise accents in the rhythm of your chords. Usually this is done with a clean sound like what you hear in so many great funk songs.
                   Which Wah?  
 I used mainly a Dunlop GCB 95 Crybaby. Again, because of what I have and because it used to be the main Wah you could find in musicshops in the late 80s and early 90s [before Wah became popular again in Rockmusic, mainly promoted by Guns ‘n’ Roses] Yes there was a time when you were thinking about Wah, you were mainly thinking about the 70s and 60s, as Wah sounds left the sound of populair music for some time.
Now the Dunlop may be great for those 60s sounds, they can also be a pain, they sound very honky, take away most of your bass and the pot can be scratchy from time to time. I had mine replaced twice. The last pot was fitted in 1998 and it still sounds fine. Again it is one of the issues most players experience with older Dunlop Wah’s.

Overal I believe the kind of equipment you use does not matter, as long as you know how to use it to get happening sounds.
I will leave you with this great Funk Classic, have fun and see you soon for more guitar-and sound talk.