AW-3 Dynamic Wah review by Boss

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (25 votes)
Boss: AW-3 Dynamic Wah

Purchased from: Hooters

Sound — 10
I'm using this with an Epiphone '67 Flying V, then the AW-3, a DS-1, and a Squier 15 watt amp. It makes no noise or hum, except if I crank the distortion on both the DS-1 and the amp - then it contributes to the already huge hum and feedback, but that does have it's uses, for huge, distorted solos, such as Star Spangled Banner by Hendrix, which use a fairly rhythmic wah in places. I didn't realise this first use for quite a while, but it's great; If you set the tempo of the wah to a standard, 1-2-1-2 beat, and then play throught the clean channel with no distortion, it gives a fantastic sound, especially for open chord songs with a normal beat - not too fast or slow. The only problem is that you have to keep the bass high on your guitar, because this pedal is very treble-y (I doubt very much that that is a word), and will make a nasty distorted fuzz sound, espicially on the lower strings, and can sometimes be a bit harsh on your ears. A little more bass than usual will solve that though. However, this pedal's best use is for ska and reggae. If you set the pedal in "up" mode, or the tap-tempo mode, then it will provide that little extra edge which is perfect fo ska and reggae - I can't think of a better way to get that sound - it's kind of a mix between guitar and that keyboard or whatever it is in some songs that plays like a guitar. It is absolutely sublime.

Overall Impression — 10
I play every style of music, from country through to reggae and back again. This doesn't suit every one of my needs by any means I plan on getting a Cry Baby or V-Wah for the heavier stuff, or just an Expression pedal for this and it won't suit everyone's taste. Some of the modes aren't that great, but playing around with them and the Humanizer vowel sounds does produce some nice results. It is easy to get to grips with this pedal, but I have owned it for half a year, and I am still exploring all the possibilities it has. If it were stolen or lost, then I doubt I would pay 89 for a new one, as I enjoy using it, but in my band which mainly plays punk, it doesn't get too much use. I would probably buy a CryBaby, or similar if this were lost. That's not to say it isn't worth the money, but it would take me a while to get hold of 89 quid, and I would have to think about investing in something a step up from this. In short, this is a great pedal, if you know what you want it for, and it will get good useage, not just as something to add to your pedalboard for when you might need it. If you do need a wah like that, spend the extra 20 quid or whatever it is on a CryBaby it has more uses in general than the AW-3, and will get more use.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal has taken a few knocks, but has really not had any serious damage I don't know if it's actually possible to seriously damage a Boss pedal. I would absolutely use this without back-up, the only thing I would do is make sure it had a 9 volt battery in it, in case the adaptor screwed up, or came out. I haven't known it to do that with either of my Boss pedals, but hey, it could happen.

Ease of Use — 8
This is a great pedal. It looks complicated, but in actual fact is very simple. It has 4 knobs - decay, mode, and two to choose the vowel sound for the humanizer. The manual isn't too helpful, as really it over-complicates something which with about 10 minutes of tweaking, is very easy to use. The only complicated issue is working out how the "tap-tempo" mode works. This mode allows you to program in for yourself the pattern of the effect. It takes a minute, but isn't too difficult. This pedal also has a bass input and an expression pedal input.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i like manual wahs so much more than auto wahs. hmmmm.....i was unaware hooters sells guitar effects.
    i've only used mine once because my second cable stopped working, but i doubt you can get Kirk's tone out of it.