Posts Tagged ‘Wah’

Danelectro DW-1 Dan-o-Wah

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

DW1-DanoWah

What is it?
Danelectro DW-1 Dan O Wah. Made in china in around 1997.

I sourced this one a long time ago. If i recall correctly, i got it in a trade and there was (and still is) very little traces of use. Gee. I wonder why. That being my first thought about all Dano rocker pedals, i didn’t have too high hopes. I do recall this not working at all when it first arrived. After checking it, the only issue was just loose solder joint at the DC jack. Unit worked fine with a battery and that’s how the seller deemed it as “working”. Quick and simple fix later i was ready to do some more studying.

DW1-DanoWah-1

The outside of the unit is per the rest of the rocker pedals. Looking like a car and having it’s rubber feet looking like wheels. As the controls are not conventional pots, the idea of having the user manual printed in the bottom is not a bad one.

DW1-DanoWah-2

The number of features pictured in the manual shows that there must be more to the circuit than just a standard wah. After all, we are talking about six different wah voicings, all with and without added distortion and up octaves.

DW1-DanoWah-3

Opening the bottom plate confirms my suspicions. Yeah. This hasn’t been drawn over a coffee break. This amount of components and features is something that comes by once in a while, but it’s not your average “let’s just copy the cry baby and leave it at that”. I’m not going to dig too deep into how it is made. I do have my suspicions about the electronic design(s), but i’ll talk about those a bit later.

DW1-DanoWah-4

To begin with, the electronic design has number of switch circuits to select between the modes and banks. The idea of using “banks” in simple analog effect isn’t that common. The “exhaust pipes” act as push buttons that choose the wah mode and if the octave is added or not. Bank, wah and distortion can be turned on with the stomp switches on the front end. This means that the octave can be used in the other section of 60’s/70’s style modes and the second can be without it. Distortion can be engaged from the top buttons separately.

DW1-DanoWah-5

Through hole components on the wah/octave board seem nice. Mostly metalized polyester caps. If the enclosure was metal or just sturdier, this might have been a big hit. Other than  the enclosure, there is very little wrong with this effect.

How does it sound?
At first, pretty standard wah with couple of different voicings on the switches. Add the octave up and the good vibes are coming closer. Add the distortion, and we’re at tonal beach sipping ice cold pina coladas with no hurry to go anywhere. Wah tones are, well. Standard. Not too far off from your basic Cry Baby and/or Vox wahs. The distortion feels generic, but it works great with the wah. Now, when the distortion and octave are both added it’s almost like we have fOXX Tone machine paired with vintage wah. Not bad. But the platicky feel and utter unroadworthiness give their weight for the unit. Due to these shortcomings, DW-1 won’t ever reach the status the design would deserve. Close, but no cigar.

Danelectro DW-2 Trip L Wah

Monday, March 16th, 2015

DW2-TripLWah

What is it?
Danelectro DW-2 Trip L Wah. Made in china between 1996 and 1999. This is one of three rocker pedals i’ve categorized as belonging to “Vintage Series”.

Enclosure design. The biggest thing that separates Danelectro from the rest. Same thing goes to their guitars and amps too. I’m under the impression that the old ones are good. The relaunch of the brand in 1996 made things fun, but with everything being cool, the quality control was trumped by low prices and volume of manufacturing. The Trip L Wah sure does look interesting. The unit looks like a car with zebra paint. This is the greatest and the most unique feature here.

DW2-TripLWah-1

The enclosure is made of cheap plastic and the designers have inarguably been after a special look instead of a usable, roadworthy pedal. Thickness of the plastic for the enclosure and as well as for the rocker board feel nowhere near sturdy. This feature drops the interest and user value to the mud for most. Me included. In other words, these pedals are entry-level toys, not real tools. The image below shows the real deal. The enclosure, including the metal bottom plate, is too lightweight to use. So Danelectro solved this by adding weight in form of metal bars.

DW2-TripLWah-2

Usually, if the Danelectro visual design is completely different, the insides offer weird features too. For this one, not so much. The name Trip L Wah made me think of something strange in vein of the “60’s series” hippie boxes. You know, like what the talk box, reverse delay and “sitar emulation” offer. But no. We have three different wah voicing modes in a single pedal. Disappointing? Yes.

DW2-TripLWah-3

Pretty standard and rather boring bass wah, treble wah and middle wah modes. So sadly, it isn’t TRIP l-wah, but just triple wah.Due to following, i had little interest in figuring out how it works or how it’s electronically made.

How does it sound?
Rather dull. Three voicing modes, but this still offers nothing that you can’t get out of any other cheap wah. And those usually come in big metal boxes that can take years of use on the road. This wouldn’t last a weekend minitour. But it does make a real cool looking practice pedal for those who want to, well. Practice with their socks on. Decent tones for bedroom wahhin’. But if we’re honest, this serves the best as a decorative item. Sort of like a prelude for the Fab series in terms of enclosure plastic thickness. Cool looking thing to have, but next to useless.

Carlsbro AC1160 Wah Wah

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Carlsbro-Wahwah-2

What is it?
Carlsbro AC1160 Wah Wah. Made in china around mid 00’s.

A wah in a standard Cry Baby sized enclosure, but instead of the basic black, the surface is cool looking chrome. By starters, i must confess that i’m not a big user of wahs. Since i taught myself to user choruses, i still noticed that those can’t be used in as many applications as one might have thought. Same goes with wahs. Some folks will love them and use them a lot. For myself, i just don’t see it. I’ve tried to keep and use one on my main board a few times, but no. For me, the wah use is for studio sessions and mainly just doubling the overly fuzzed lead parts to get more lively overall tone. But that’s it. I just don’t use them. I think i do know how to use them (short, quick sweeps to accent the notes and/or long slower sweeps for the funkier parts). Still. No.

Carlsbro-Wahwah-1

Got this one from a friend with bottom screws, battery door and rubber mat from the top missing. All those parts are quite easily available, but they do not come that cheap. Since i though i’d like to have this in my collection in as pristine condition as possible, i restored it to it’s original state. It’s in decent condition, and yes. It is very nice thing to have in the world of hundreds of different wahs. The enclosure and the board have the same footprint as most other commercial wah pedals. Meaning that one could very easily swap the board for standard Cry Baby or Vox board. The board layout does look different from those two mentioned, but the inductor has the same spot as in Cry Baby. What comes to the enclosure, this model for the box has been around since the late 60’s with only a few revisions. Since it ain’t broken, why try to fix it?

Carlsbro-Wahwah-guts

Must admit it. Simply due to lack of interest i haven’t dug any deeper.  But taking the Carlsbro track record in to account, i highly doubt the circuit is anything out of the ordinary. The interwebs tells a story of the early Carlsbro wahs being just OEM’d Colorsound pedals. Since this is the 00’s (or 10’s), this may not be the same thing as it was 40 years ago. After all, this pedal is recent production and made in china. At one point i may try to get a hang of myself and just trace it. But for right now.. Nah. Once and if i get around to that, we will then know how this differs from other wahs. This post might get an update at one point.

How does it sound?
Not that different from standard GCB95 Cry Baby, currently manufactured by Dunlop. Well sweeping unit with solid overall feel to the construction and to the sound as well. Not much negative to say. But on the other hand, not that much positive either. Good solid sounding standard wah pedal. The same caveats that bother me with standard Cry Baby are in place. Annoying switching and no status LED. So in other words, this is decent vintage-like unit with nice amount of user value. Nothing special, but not bad. Nice and cool looking thing to have.

Bespeco Weeper

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Bespeco-Weeper

What is it?
Bespeco Weeper Wah/Volume pedal. Made in italy, sometime in the 90’s.

Nothing comes cheaper than this. Oh well. This may not be entirely correct thing to say. At one point i bought a Daphon Wah, just for its enclosure. I thought i could use that for some wah/distortion project, so i had zero hopes for that one. While i thought the Weeper was the worst plastic thing there is.. I was wrong. Daphon took the number one spot. Plus, one can score Weepers for 10 bucks as used, while Daphons cost a noticeable amount more. And i’ve rarely seen Daphon wahs as used, but i think 5-6 bucks should be a correct amount of money for one. Anyway. This Bespeco is italian made, but the brand hasn’t been too interested in being a follower of italian quality product manufacturers. I think the extremely low retail price has been the highest priority in designing process. But that must have gone wrong at some point. Labor intensity of all that wiring does not look cheap to execute.

Bespeco-Weeper-guts

As the gut shot shows, the dual pot is for wah and volume, according to which side the switch is. The sweep of the pot is very nice. Well on par with a Cry Baby. So we have our dual pot, input and output jacks, a dc jack and a circuit equipped with open coil inductor and two transistors. That’s it. Sometimes simple is beautiful. On this particular effect, not so much. The plastic takes the greatness away too easily. No matter what it sounds like, there will always be folk why won’t touch this due to its super cheap housing.

How does it sound?
Not bad actually. The super cheap feel doesn’t reach its claws to the wah tone. Want to hear something outrageous? This plastic puppy sounds better than low end Cry Baby or Vox wahs. If this was housed in thick aluminum instead of cheap molded plastic, i think this could have been a reasonable hit. So, if you’re looking for a super cheap wah to use in your home studio, this  is the one. Definitely the best wah you can get for 10 units of any of the biggest currencies.

Danelectro DJ10 Grilled Cheese Distortion

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

DJ10-GrilledCheese

What is it?
Danelectro DJ-10 Grilled Cheese distorion.

Had no information on the design whatsoever when i got this unit. Should probably have done some reading before paying 20€ for it. As distortions go, there is one sub-genre that i find no joy in playing with. This one sinks to that genre. Fixed wah distorion. As the ones i’ve played with, the Ibanez CD5 Cyberdrive is the least sucky in the bunch. And that too sucks quite a bit. That may be suitable for some special lead sounds usually employed by men in tights. So i may be a bit biased when judging this pedal.

Couldn’t find a schematic and to be honest, this unit does not interest me enough to even dig deeper. The comments on the internet say that there are 3 dual opamps and a inductor that make up the circuit. Bypass seems to be standard of the mini series.

DJ10-GrilledCheese-guts

One of the rare cases of complete meh. Which means i have no interest in seeing how or why this one does what it does.

How does it sound?
Like all fixed wah designs with mid scooped distortion, not completely unlike DS-1 or alike. Personally i wonder who would need or want a sound like this. It’s not my place to judge, so if you find fixed wah distortions useful, go ahead. This one will remain in mint condition in my collection.