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EooN

How to wah and sound wah-some?

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I might not be a huge wah user but I sure like a good sounding wah action from time to time. I can't really seem to find a good wah sound in the Helix and I'm wondering if you guys have any tips for me. 

Whenever I step on a wah in a preset I have dialed in to my liking - highgains, crunches, whatever - the sound becomes really lackluster, flat, and two-dimensional. I kinda feel that I'd get a much better result by putting a standalone cheap wah in front of the Helix. But maybe I am missing something? 

 

Which model should I try? What settings regarding the wah volume (0dB boost or...?), the mix, and the toe/heel freq settings? Gimme your suggestions please. 

 

BTW, if that changes anything I'm playing through headphones and recording, no sound blaring through PAs or anything. In my gigging rig I'm using a Morley Tremonti, which isn't the most versitile wah but it sure sounds good. 

 

Thanks!

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Beyond putting the wah block early in the chain (I always put it first), before any compressors/ distortions/ mod fx/etc, same as you would with a "real" amp, I'm not sure what to suggest... they work fine for me.

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It might sound counter-intuitive but try lowering the mix of the wah effect down to 75% or so. I have found that letting a bit of the unaffected signal through makes a big difference. Good luck!

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I really like adding a drive along with my wah before it to be engaged at the same time.  sort of gives the wah a more aggressive tone..  I'll post my settings later.

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As mentioned previously, definitely play with the mix setting on all wahs.  I also have discovered another method I like.  There's probably numerous ways of achieving the same goal, but I'm activating two amps in my chain with a wah only going through one (gernerally the cleaner of the two amps).   This way I can keep my wah mix strong without it completely taking over all the tone.  There are better, more technical, ways of describing this but ... oh well.

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In addition to the fine suggestions above you may want to try selecting one of the wahs with the 'FC Low' and 'FC High' parameters. I generally shy away from a lot of high end coming through the wah as I move toward the toe down position. Try playing with the the 'FC High' parameter in particular and dialing it down a bit to narrow the frequency range. That tends to give it a more vocal like quality and helps me stay in the "sweet spot" that I prefer on the wah. Since this is all subject to personal taste use your ears to get it to the settings you prefer. The link below from Dunlop can be kind of handy to see what the frequency range is for a variety of different wahs and includes a description of the sound and intended use for each wah. I wouldn't hesitate though to stray outside/inside of the frequency ranges listed on the Dunlop page if it sounds right to you.

 

I should note that I have found on occasion, depending on the sound of the overall preset, that dialing down the 'FC High' parameter too much can sound great at home and sound a bit buried when you are in the band mix so I would test my settings at rehearsal to make sure you are still able to cut through.

 

https://www.sweetwater.com/feature/dunlop/wah-pedals/index.php

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I use my wah @ 52%, and it sounds good. All the way up to me does sound bad.

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18 hours ago, EooN said:

But maybe I am missing something? 

 

Hi,

 

I have to agree with some of the other comments on here - back off the wah in the mix until it sounds right to you. Mine are around 70 - 75%.

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I see that I am not the only one who has found that reducing the mix to around 75% is the key to the Helix wahs.... I concur with the other fellas!

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Thanks everybody, I'll try lowering the wah mix. I tried it briefly but I didn't really explore this option that much. 

What are your favorite wah models, do you have any recommendations for me? 

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I don't know why lowering the mix works... but it does.

In theory, a real wah does not have a MIX control so by default it is 100% when engaged. But on the Helix (and the HD500 before it) lowering the mix is crucial to getting great wah tones.

 

A common trick on real wah pedals is to move the pot so the "top high range" is lowered. This is accomplished much easier on the Helix by lowering/adjusting the FC high parameter. Fine tune that so your toe down sits in a sweet spot and doesn't get too shrill or biting. 

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Another way to control wha filtering is to use two wha whas. Put one before distortion with a lower mix setting and one after it with a very low setting. 

With a side chain you could even control this a more clean way. Let one wha go beside distortion.

 

To find the right wha model I just try them out. I am a big Wha fan and I really like the wha models on the Helix. Best in a board I heard so far. I owned a lot Wha pedals. Colorsound was my favorite wha (Colorful called in helix), Fasel is nice (I think that was RMC wha) and Throaty is nice.

 

The most annoying thing for me is the pedal curve. It is very different to other wha pedals. At some areas little movement does not have much change in tone. 

I always wondered why they did not gave the pedal assignment a flexible curve control. Should be quite easy and would not take that much effort.

 

I don't think Wha pedals have always a 100% effect because it is a eq filter/booster. If you filter 100% it sounds digital/synthetic and just doing filtering. So it would sound too clean for a guitar effect.

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I don't agree with changing the mix.  Mine sounds fine at 100%.  I like the Fasel and the Custom Chrome wahs and I change the Low and Hi settings.  Low down to 280 and high at about 1.8.  Also, make sure you have the controller set to actually change the wah position.  First in the chain is also best.  Tom Morello uses it in his FX loop, but never liked that sound myself.  It all depends on what you like.

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