Friday Top: 20 Greatest Uses of Wah Pedal of All Time

As voted by UG community.

Ultimate Guitar
Friday Top: 20 Greatest Uses of Wah Pedal of All Time

This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the people of UG community discussing the matter of greatest use of wah pedal of all time.

Based on votes and around 200 comments, we summed this one up to Top 20 rundown.

We also have a notable prank vote for your pleasure: "Every '70s porn movie."

Before kicking things off, the honorable mentions are:

  • Primus - Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
  • Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4
  • Curtis Mayfield - Superfly
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd - The Needle and the Spoon
  • Prince - Let's Go Crazy
  • James Gang - Walk Away
  • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Wah Wah
  • Snot - Snot
  • Béla Fleck & The Flecktones - Scratch & Sniff
  • Radiohead - Lucky
  • Saint Vitus - Dying Inside
The rundown awaits below.

20. Portishead - Glory Box

The highlight of the song is the guitar solo and the wah-wah explosion.

YouTube preview picture

19. Alter Bridge - Blackbird

A whole new flavor is added to "Blackbird" when Mark Tremonti kicks in on his wah pedal.

YouTube preview picture

18. Red Hot Chili Peppers - If You Have to Ask

Frusciante's wah-driven solo was named one of the greatest wah solos of all time, ranking at #18 on Guitar World's 2015 list. Fittingly enough, it's also No. 18 here.

YouTube preview picture

17. Black Label Society - Fire It Up

The wah-driven crunch of "Fire It Up" sure fires you up.

YouTube preview picture

16. Dream Theater - Home

Is this a wah pedal, or a talk box? Either way, the sound is awesomely aggressive and a centrepiece of one of Dream Theater's best albums.

YouTube preview picture

15. Led Zeppelin - Dazed and Confused

Jimmy Page fills first eight bars of the song with eerie, wah-inflected natural harmonics.

YouTube preview picture

14. Dire Straits - Money for Nothing

Mark Knopfler created pure awesomeness in this one and a partially-cocked wah is the crucial part of the equation...

YouTube preview picture

13. Tool - Lateralus

Adam Jones rocks hard in "Lateralus" with his Dunlop 535Q wah.

YouTube preview picture

12. Joe Satriani - Surfing With the Alien

Satriani's use of the wah-wah pedal earned him the #10 spot on Guitar World's list of best wah solos of all time in 2015.

YouTube preview picture

11. Pink Floyd - Echoes

A bit non-traditional, but definitely a masterful way to approach the effect. Gilmour inverts the wah connections to achieve the famed Seagull Effect (originally an accident by a roadie).

YouTube preview picture

10. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain

"Maggot Brain" is just quintessentially Funkadelic – wah-wah guitar, catchy harmonies, inviting message and a special atmosphere all around.

YouTube preview picture

9. Isaac Hayes - Shaft

The ominous, menacing sound Charles "Skip" Pitts created as he fed his driving rhythm chords through the Maestro Boomerang wah pedal matched the gritty visuals and the edgy mood of the Blaxploitation movie's opening sequence and turned the track into one of the most recognisable and enduring records of all time. Actually, this track has lyrics - here's a sample: "Who's the black private dick That's a sex machine to all the chicks? (Shaft!)"

YouTube preview picture

8. Black Sabbath - Electric Funeral

Tony's favorite wah pedal that he uses in "Electric Funeral" is an old Tychobrahe Parapedalthat was made in the earlt seventies. They are very rare nowadays and we have a stable of three complete units and a couple of original circuit boards.

YouTube preview picture

7. Cream - White Room

In "White Room," Clapton played his guitar through a wah-wah pedal to achieve a "talking-effect" which turned out to be a pretty good idea.

YouTube preview picture

6. Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine

Slash uses Cry Baby Wah Wah on multiple occassions (not as much as Kirk, of course) and this pedal is greatly incorporated in the "Sweet Child O' Mine" solo.

YouTube preview picture

5. Steve Vai - Bad Horsie

There is a special wah pedal for this song called Bad Horsie! It was developed exactly according to the wishes of master guitarist Steve Vai, and typically, Vai was not satisfied with the achieved (high) standard so a VAI Bad Horsie II had to therefore be created of course!

YouTube preview picture

4. Metallica - Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)

Not only Kirk is a Master of Wah-wahs in Metallica. Cliff Burton could rock the hell out of it as well.

YouTube preview picture

3. Alice in Chains - Man in the Box

Jerry Cantrell's guitar incorporates a talkbox guitar pedal that gives it that distinct effect. Actually Jerry though that the talkbox parts weren't strong enough, and a wah wasn't either, so he doubled the talkbox with a wah. His guitar is also tuned down a half step which makes the notes appear to be more heavier, a standard tuning that was done by a lot of thrash metal bands at the time.

YouTube preview picture

2. Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade

Tom Morello exploits wah really well here, left pressing it down for the verse, more interestingly useing for the 'wow-wow' riff you hear every now and then and for the solo (that solo).

YouTube preview picture

1. Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Basically an anthem for the wah pedal, "Voodoo" Child is a song, where wah potential is used to the full extent.

YouTube preview picture

That's all folks! Feel free to post other songs with wah-wah pedal in the comment section below. And we hope you enjoyed the top, stay tuned until next week for another WQ!

36 comments sorted by best / new / date

    kinda expected this to be a joke article with every nominee being kirk. lol
    Somehow like 7 of my suggestions made the list.  I'm disappointed that there was no recognition for Kiss by Prince, which has the dopest wah outro solo in it.  Also, Man in the Box is great, but Rain When I Die is much cooler.  
    If you​ have to ask should be higher. This list is a testament to how good of a pedal it can be. All of these songs are pretty great.
    Well this is also doubles as a list of just flat out great songs!
    I think Steve Vai's "Im the Hell Outta Here" is pretty neck-and-neck with Bad Horsie
    C-C Beatroot
    All nice uses but Mix Master Mike putting his turntables through a wah is the only time I've heard the effect and thought wow, that's so cool!
    Jimi's 'V.C. Slight Return" was the only one I could think of...I couldn't get it out of my mind to even come up with another, LOL!!!!
    Let's Get it On - Marvin Gaye? Doesn't that opening guitar lick have some wah?  
    jerome snail
    To me any song off Falling Into Infinity has a better use of wah than Home (which is a great song anyway).