Poll: Buy a wah pedal?
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View poll results: Buy a wah pedal?
3 75%
No, become a better soloist first
1 25%
Voters: 4.
Ive been playing guitar for over a year now (internet lessons only) and i can make somewhat decent improv solos. Theyre still very basic pentatonic ones, however.

Ive thought about getting a wah pedal to add a little something to my solos. But my question is that if i were to get a wah pedal, would that make me sloppy and uncreative? Should i develop my solo technique better before i get a wah?
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There really is no reason that buying a wah will make you a worse player at all, plenty of super precise players use wah all the time; Guthrie Govan, John Petrucci, Steve Vai; all big wah users.

Personally I'm of the opinion that if it's a sound you like you should get one sooner rather than later; I've never owned one myself so whenever someone has one and I get the chance to play, I actually have no idea what to do with it.  Just like everything else with the instrument, it's a skill you need to practice if that's a sound you want to make.
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Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

As long as you practice your technique with the wah pedal off, I don't see how using it would make you a sloppy player.

Whenever you are practicing technique, it makes sense to turn all of your effects off. You want your tone to be as dry as possible so that you hear everything as clearly as possible. Practicing with distortion is fine, though, because that will improve your muting technique (completely clean tone will be more forgiving in that regard and doesn't really require so good muting technique, but using clean tone is good for learning to use dynamics and developing an even tone, so I would suggest alternating between clean and distorted tones when you are practicing).

I think the main point is understanding the difference between playing the guitar and practicing. Practicing is focusing on the finer details in your playing and improving them or learning something new, and playing is just playing songs that you already know, noodling around, stuff like that. When you are practicing, you want a dry tone. When you are playing, use whatever effects you need. Then again, using effects is also a skill that you may want to practice. But that's really the only time you should use effects when you are practicing.

So if you want to buy a wah pedal, just get one, but don't use it all the time. And as I said, I would not suggest using it when you are practicing, unless you want to practice how to use the wah pedal effectively. If you are practicing improvisation, I think you should first and foremost focus on your note choice, rhythm, phrasing and dynamics. Sure, if you want to incorporate certain effects into your soloing, you should use them every now and then. But I would say it's more important to focus on the things that I mentioned. Pedals should not become a thing that you resort to because your improvisation would sound boring otherwise. You should use pedals because you want to achieve a certain tone.

When you are practicing, you should have some kind of a goal in mind. What exactly are you practicing? What are you trying to achieve? Is there something that you are not happy about in your solo? These are questions that you should be asking from yourself. So when you are practicing improvisation you may want to focus on certain things. And if the things that you are focusing on don't require using wah pedal, I would suggest not using the wah pedal. But if the thing that you are focusing on is about using the wah pedal, then of course use the wah pedal. Remember that there is a difference between improvising and practicing improvisation. When you just improvise, you just play whatever you like. When you practice improvisation, you may want to focus on a certain area - for example you may want to focus on rhythm, dynamics, emphasizing certain chord tones, playing around with a certain technique (for example slides, bends, vibrato) and learning to use it creatively in a solo, etc.
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Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.


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If anything, a wah pedal will expand your possibilities and maybe inspire to play something cool. Definitely try one, you shall.