Wednesday Question: Best Wah Riffs

Nominate and vote for your favorite wah riffs ever here, for a chance to appear in our weekly top 10 list.

Ultimate Guitar

This week we're challenging you to nominate the best way pedal riffs in history.

The sound of a wah-pedal is unique to electronic guitars, and is popularity is largely thanks to the Dunlop Cry Baby pedal. Heck, UG readers even voted it the best guitar pedal of all time and feature length movies have been made about it. Proof, if you need it, that the wah is one of the most beloved sounds in rock.

This week's question is:

What are the best wah riffs in history?

Once again, we'll post the definition of 'riff' to help you along, though we welcome your discussion over what defines a riff in the comment section:

Riff: a short repeated phrase, frequently played over changing chords or used as a background to a solo improvisation.

Post your song nominations in the comments, with one nomination per post. Upvote others that you agree with, and we'll stack up the results in a funky top 10 list this Friday. Good luck!

451 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Petey D
    Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child!
    Battery Chicken
    I assume you are referring to Voodoo Chile (slight return)?
    For the Love of God, let's settle this once and for all: On the album Electric Ladyland, there are two songs, Voodoo Chile, and Voodoo Child (Slight Return). Voodoo Chile comes first on the album, and is a slow blues jam featuring Steve Winwood. Voodoo Child (Slight Return), the song we're all talking about, comes at the end of the album.
    Warning: This riff may cause pregnancy due to the fact that it is pure unadulterated sex to the ears.
    On a somewhat related note (because Slash would transition into Voodoo Chile at the very end of it when performing live), the wah riff from the end of Civil War. Damn, if I'd have looked just a little lower before replying. I would have seen that Civil War is the very next parent comment. Shit.
    Black Sabbath - N.I.B.
    Bass Wah, controversial! In that case I'll go with this baby:
    if bass counts then definitely THIS.
    Why would bass not count? You can have bass riffs just as much as you can have guitar riffs. It's even a guitar, anyway, just on a lower register For that matter, though (aside from the article saying the sound is unique to electric guitar), there's really nothing to stop anyone from nominating an organ, etc., passed through a wah pedal (I know it's been done before, but I can't think of where).
    agreed but I'm not saying that a bass riff shouldn't count, I think it definitely should. I'm just not sure whether the question itself was specific to electric guitars or not.
    You know what, I'm just gonna nominate the version of "Feeling Good" that Muse played on H.A.A.R.P. You just can't ignore the badassery in Matt's piano-skills!
    Matt Bellamy plays his piano through a wah pedal when Muse plays "Feeling Good" live. Well, he at least did it at Wembley for the H.A.A.R.P. DVD.
    Rage Against The Machine - "Bulls On Parade" Tom Morello is just amazing here!
    Totally agree on this one. I usually hate "wah", but this is a total exception. Very catchy.
    I'm pretty sure Voodoo child is going to win this competition, but Bulls on Parade deserves a place high in this list. So simple, yet so awesome.
    Cliff Burton's bass wah riff from "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica
    Money for Nothing is actually kind of a wah riff !
    the half cocked wah is indeed the secret to that riff, les paul style electronics, tone on neck and bridge set to 0 use both pickups and there you have it. Fucking awesome tone.
    Dream Theater - Home (1:44)
    Feast your ears on this beauty.
    Man in the Box - Alice in Chains
    That's a voicebox, not wah.
    I was under the impression that it's both, but I've never got to play with a voicebox before, so I don't know if that really makes sense. It sounds like it would be kind of redundant now that I've typed it out, though.
    It is a voicebox, actually. It would sound close with a wah, though
    When I play it, I play with a wah, mostly because I don't play any other songs I'd ever use a talkbox for, but lots with wah. Jerry has played it with a wah in the past, but on Kimmel he played with a talk-box.
    Joe Satriani - Surfing with the Alien (0:23)
    Joe Satriani- Searching (Starts at about 0:55) I think we can all agree Joe Satriani is the king of wah.
    Kirk Hammet's catalog.
    Seriously, good thing it's just riffs and not solos, otherwise we'd have Metallica's entire catalog posted here.
    Say What! - Stevie Ray Vaughan. Can't believe nobody has chosen it yet. He used two wah pedals at the same time, sitting down of course.
    Bulls on parade-Rage against the machine.Simple but i love that riff.To be honest it was probably the first real wah wah riff i ever heard.
    She's Only 18 Red Hot Chili Peppers
    I'm nominating the verse-riff in Dani California. That is pretty much my biggest reason for finally buying a wah-pedal. It's just so subtle, yet just so powerful!
    As soon as I saw the title I knew someone would mention this crappy song. I'm a big peppers fan and never could stand this riff. Its a mess. If I had to pick one peppers song that uses a crybaby I'd go with walkabout