What are the best wah-riffs of all time? That's what UG readers voted on this week - see the results here.
Posted on Jun 14, 2013 03:47 pm
This week we asked UG readers to nominate and vote for their favorite wah guitar riffs of all time. The wah pedal (which in many cases is probably the award-winning Cry Baby by Dunlop) is one of the most original and easily identified guitar effects in the world. Nothing sounds cooler, and few sounds transcend genres so easily as the wah pedal.
But who uses it best? See the results of our weekly poll right here, and let us know if you agree in the comments.
10. Joe Satriani "Surfing with the Alien"
The title track of Satriani's beloved second album is about the comic character the Silver Surfer, and is one of the most downloaded songs for "Guitar Hero" ever. One of Satriani's most popular solos, he recorded it through a wah, Tubedriver and Eventide 949s. When the latter effect broke down, they were never able to recreate the exact same sound again, thus tripling its legacy.
9. Dire Straits "Money for Nothing"
Interesting entry at number 9 - this song is probably better known for its "innovative" video featuring computer animation which was a massive hit on MTV back in the day. Today it looks decidedly more dated, but it's a good nostalgia trip and the wah tone is iconic to some.
8. 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.
7. Isaac Hayes "Shaft"
The funk genre adopted the wah pedal is if it were its own, and their marriage produced some of the most enjoyable mainstream music of the 20th century. Hayes' "Shaft" theme is a great example of the snappy sound that a good sharp wah effect can produce.
6. Pearl Jam "Even Flow"
The band never felt that they nailed the recording of this song, the second single from their debut album. It was written by Stone Gossard, but lead guitarist McCready Said: "That's me pretending to be Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a feeble attempt at that ... I tried to steal everything I know from Stevie Ray Vaughan and put it into that song. A blatant rip-off."
5. Alice in Chains "Man in a Box"
Another talk box example, but it sounds so close that you can't blame it for earning a spot in our top 10 wah guitar riffs. It's not often you can actually sing along to a guitar.
4. Black Sabbath "N.I.B."
Geezer Butler opens this song with a bit of lovely wah on a big, rich bass sound. The song is about Lucifer, which obviously freaked a few parents out back in the 1970s, but the band swear it's about the devil turning into a good person. Honest, guv.
3. Metallica "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
The intro is often mistaken for an electric guitar. But nay; it is late bassist Cliff Burton driving a bass guitar into a wah pedal. Proof that a bit of creativity can go a long way, even with the most simple musical tools.
2. Rage Against the Machine "Bulls on Parade"
We've already covered how funk adopted the wah pedal to great effect, so when a rock band like RATM with their bevy funk root take it on, you know something special will happen. Here's the result.
1. Jimi Hendrix "Voodoo Child"
If anything else came in first place, we'd have to scold you. Hendrix always deserved to win this, and probably introduced the whole idea of how awesome wah-pedals are to music fans. It wasn't actually released as a single until after his death, but it's one of his best-known songs - largely thanks to that iconic wah intro.
Do you agree with the final results How would you change them? Let us know what you think in the comments.