So, the Vox Wah or the Crybaby? Whether you’re a beginner musician or someone who’s had plenty of musical experience, or even someone somewhere in between, a guitar pedal is something you would definitely want to add to your equipment.
Pedals are a fantastic tool to mix and match many different sounds, and having multiple pedals means that there are many possibilities to the sounds you can make.
Picking the right pedal that goes with the sound you envision is an important process. There are dozens and dozens of different pedals, all with their own unique sound as well as look.
Today we will be talking about the Vox Wah pedal and the Dunlop Crybaby pedal, their differences, their similarities, and important things about the pedals you might want to know!
If you’re having trouble deciding which pedal fits your style best, we hope that this helps out!
Pros and Cons, the Quick Version
If you are in a bit of a hurry, here is a quick table to quickly show you the pros and cons of each pedal:
The Vox Wah
|Durable||Battery access could be better|
|Designed to mimic the look and sound of the original wah pedals||Harsher tones; it takes a bit of work on the treadle for tonal changes|
|Decently priced||A bit quiet|
|Perfect for funk, pop, folk||Heavier; this pedal is a bit harder to transport (but not impossible)|
|The preferred pedal for Jimmy Hendrix, Metallica, and many others||Does not come with power adapter|
|Simple setup||Some people complain about the pedal being a bit too hard to push with just the weight of your foot|
|Sleek with a stainless steel finish, and they come in different colors and designs|
The Dunlop Crybaby
|Works well with most if not all music genres||Relatively common sound|
|Durable and portable||Not the original 60s sound|
|Easy to set up; simply plug in and play||Not much in the way of versatility unless you mod it|
|Well priced||Compact size may complicate pedal board arrangement|
|Full sweep sound; better with tonal changes||Does not come with a power adapter|
|Come in different fun designs||While most of these pedals are fairly priced, some are in the not so cheap range|
|Many Crybaby pedals are built off the tastes of famous artists|
What is a Wah-Wah Pedal?
Before delving into details, we should talk about what exactly a wah pedal is.
The Wah-Wah pedal was invented by Vox and Thomas Organ around 19667. If you’ve heard the song “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix, or “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, you’ve definitely heard a wah-wah pedal in action.
This pedal wasn’t, however, the first instance of a tonal sweep effect.
Trumpet players, for example, had been creating “wah wah” effects for some time. If you listen to the song “East St. Louis Toodle-O” by Duke Ellington, the lead trumpet played by Bubber Miley is an excellent example.
Guitarists like Chet Atkins and Peter Van Wood had also been experimenting with tone shifting pedals, although this was mostly for novelty.
Like mentioned before, within the year of its invention, the wah-wah pedal was already appearing in prominent recordings of the time.
Wah-Wah pedals are tone filters, or envelope filters. Musicians are able to control the pedals with their feet.
Many electric guitars contain a tone knob that creates either a bass heavy timbre or a treble focused tone depending on the position of the knob on the guitar.
The wah-wah pedal gets its name because of its similarity to the human voice, which can also quickly glide through tonal differences.
Because the tonal knob is adjusted with the right hand, it is impossible for a musician to control it while in the middle of a song. The purpose of the wah pedal is simply to transfer the tone control to a foot pedal rather than the knob.
When the pedal is rocked all the way back, it serves as a low-pass filter and blocks all the higher frequencies. When the pedal is rocked forward it becomes a high-pass filter, so treble can easily cut through the expense of bass.
When you rock the pedal back and forth, it creates a spectral glide, better known as the “wah effect”.
The Vox Wah
The vox wah pedals that one can buy now are based on the design and aesthetics of the ones in the 60s, but they have modern features and improvements that make using them much easier.
When you first buy your Vox pedal, you have the option of unscrewing the bottom feet with a small screwdriver and inserting a 9V battery.
The battery will last about 100 hours playing. Additionally, you can connect a 9V AC adapter to preserve the battery.
You can buy the adapter separately and it’s a handy thing to have. The Vox also has a buffed input jack, and these make the power delivery smooth and without any signal loss ensuring the perfect clarity and tones, as well as the proper amplification that you’re probably looking for.
The vox pedal is designed with a stainless steel finish, which makes the pedal durable and long lasting.
For setup, all you need to do is connect your guitar to the right hand side of the pedal and your amp on the left side.
In order to turn it on, you press the pedal down all the way with your toes until you hear a click. You do this same thing again in order to turn it off.
Different Vox pedals vary in size, weight, as well as color. Some even feature artwork on the front and bottom plates, so if you value not only sound but also style, you definitely have a lot of beautiful options to choose from.
The Vox pedals all have improved dynamics and enhancements under the hood for the tones for a great overall experience.
This helps you to be able to generate a myriad of different tones, so it is able to satisfy whatever genres you might be interested in playing.
Overall, the Vox Wah was designed for mellow and softer genres like folk, country, or pop.
Vox pedals overall are well built with a good quality retro sound. They are small and light, relatively easy to carry around with the rest of your equipment.
Some Vox pedals even come with carrying cases, making them even easier to bring with you wherever you go.
Vox pedals are relatively cheap, which makes them a good option for guitarists who are starting out or on a budget. The rocking plate is easy to use, and the pedals are always easy to set up.
The Dunlop Crybaby
Jim Dunlop started the Dunlop Manufacturing company in 1965 in California with a dream to provide quality products for fellow musicians.
Along the way, he created the Dunlop Crybaby, an innovative wah-wah pedal for the electric guitar.
Dunlop focused on the accessories market and put out a line of capos, guitar slides and a new brand of plastic guitar picks, among a few other products.
Dunlop makes around 30 variations on the original Cry Baby wah. Some are modeled to the tastes of specific players and offer a variety of tonal filters to select from.
Some people consider the Crybaby the perfect combination of aesthetics and performance since it has all the features one might be needing and then some.
Similarly to the Vox, the Crybaby pedal offers many different variations in style and color. All the pedals offer the signature crybaby logo, but you can find them in blues, greens, and even sparkly ones!
Along with colors and design, a lot of Crybaby pedals offer sleek finishes that blend in nicely with other equipment if you are more for the sleek and elegant look.
The main difference between the Vox Wah and the Crybaby pedal is the tone structure that each pedal offers. Crybaby is designed for the sharper and crisper that suit heavier genres like alternative rock and rock and roll.
Guitarists who play jazz or rock may prefer Crybaby pedals to get the right crispiness on the tones that they will be playing on their guitars.
The ports on the Crybaby offer a pretty chrome finish, making this pedal durable and built to last a while. Thanks to that, you don’t have to worry about how hard you’re pressing the pedal and can rest assured it’ll last.
If you’re a musician that plays multiple shows or if you tour and are moving around a lot, the Crybaby’s sturdiness is a huge advantage. The Crybaby is also great in terms of connectivity since it can be connected with all amps as well.
If you’re a touring musician, you’ve probably had the experience of having some of your equipment break or not work. If your amp stops working you don’t have to worry about the inputs on the replacement amps the venue or other people may have on hand.
Similarly to the Vox, you can find Crybaby pedals for fairly cheap at your local music gear shop. Most shops carry a lot of used equipment and you can find a great deal on a Crybaby if you don’t want to buy it new.
The Crybaby is a good option for people who are starting out with pedals and want to start building their own pedal board.
The Crybaby offers an abundance of tones and ways to alter it until you find the sound that fits the best for you.
Again like the Vox, it offers straightforward set up and, additionally, lends itself to modding if the musician decides to alter it a bit themselves.
Conclusion: Vox WAH or the Crybaby?
The biggest overall difference between the Vox Wah and the Dunlop Crybaby is ultimately the sound that each pedal makes and the sound that you are looking for that fits your style.
The Dunlop Crybaby has more color in the lower mid-range, while the Vox Wah has more of a treble presence.
If you put them together side by side and distorted some sound, it would be obvious the difference in their particular sounds.
In general, a good rule of thumb is choosing one that fits your style and doing your research and experiment with the sounds you like and what you could do without based on your play style.
Ultimately, both of these pedals are great beginner pedals, are easy to set up, and are generally at a lower price range so they are more accessible to guitarists on a budget.
Wherever you are on your musical journey, you want to match your equipment to your tastes, and you’ll be on the way to building your setup that keeps you inspired!