Morley Pedals was started by brothers Raymond and Marvin Lubow in LA in the 1960s, when players were first really started to explore how they could use effects to enhance their music. Their first product was an electro-mechanical echo uni under the brand name Tel-Ray Electronics, but a subsequent product – a rotating speaker simulation in a box – provided the inspiration for the Morley name: the new unit was ‘More-Lee’ rather than ‘Less-Lee.’ But what really helped Morley to break into the big league was their line of treadle-operated pedals – wahs, volume pedals and the Rotating Sound pedal, the original ‘More-Lee’ pedal. Today Morley makes a variety of effects, including Steve Vai’s Bad Horsie and Little Alligator pedals, signature gear for Mark Tremonti and George Lynch. The company was bought by Chicago firm Sound Enhancements, Inc in the late 80s but Morley continues to use the innovations of the Lubow brothers as inspiration. I Heart Guitar caught up with Morley’s Bill Wenzloff to talk shop.
Tell us about your background as a player – how and why did you start? What did you play?
I started playing guitar at about age 12. I was already a Beatles fan but once I discovered Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Rush and other rock icons, I knew I wanted to play guitar. One of the first rock songs I learned was Dirty Deeds by AC/DC. It felt so awesome hitting those chords out of a loud amp; it felt slightly naughty and yet so cool. I was hooked. I played in many bands throughout my life; some original, some cover and even a few tribute bands (I was Ace Frehley in Kiss Tribute “Kissed” and Brad Whitford in Aerosmith tribute called “Big Ten Inch”). Music has been the one constant in my life and I am continually grateful that I have the gift of playing music.
Whoa! Okay, two of my favourite effects are my octave pedal and an MXR Jimi Hendrix System Octave Fuzz. Looks like MXR and Slash have gone and combined their essences into one imposing chimera of tonal goodness in the form of the MXR Slash Octave Fuzz. This little box features fuzz tone with a separate Sub Octave voice and an Octave Up Fuzz, and in true Dunlop/MXR style it features even more tweakability than it initially appears: in addition to Volume, Tone, Fuzz, Sub Octave and Octave Up controls, there are also two internal trimpots to adjust the gain and tone of the Octave Up effect. Want! And there’s also a new Slash Cry Baby with a deeper voicing, which you know has gotta be cool – after all, Slash knows his way around a wah!
Dunlop Proudly Presents The MXR Slash Octave Fuzz & Slash Cry Baby Classic
Dunlop and Slash have teamed up to create a triad of products due out just ahead of the guitar legend’s latest album release, Apocalyptic Love.
With Slash’s own experimentation and input, we created two pedals to complement his raw, expressive sound: the MXR Slash Octave Fuzz and the Slash Cry Baby Classic. The Slash Octave Fuzz features a searing fuzz tone that can be combined with a separate sub octave voice and an octave up fuzz to thicken up your tone with a sinister growl. The Slash Cry Baby Classic is tuned to a lower frequency and features a custom-wound resonance inductor, giving this wah-wah a huge dynamic range and a wide sweep.
Blues legend. That’s all there is to it. Buddy Guy is one of the pioneers of the Chicago blues sound, a continually amazing guitarist, highly energetic performer, and a prime influence on one Mr Jimi Hendrix. At 75 years young, Guy is nowhere near slowing down, playing Australian dates in Sydney and Melbourne with Jonny Lang, as well as a standout set at Bluesfest. I spoke to Guy prior to Bluesfest and just after he finished up a string of dates on the Experience Hendrix tour in the USA.
“I’ve can’t count the times I’ve been to Australia,” Guy says. “I started coming down there in 1972. That was my first time coming down and I had never met [Delta Blues legend] Arthur Crudup before. I think it was the guy who created the Newport Jazz Festival, George Wein – he was taking it around the world, and that was my first visit to Australia. And what a country, man. I just fell in love with it.”
Check it out! Jim Dunlop is going to release a Joe Bonamassa Crybaby. It’s designed to fit in with Joe’s rig both sonically and visually, and it has vintage-style ‘thru-hole’ components, a Halo inductor, a true bypass switch and an extended vocal sweep range. You can preorder it from Joe’s website, which I suggest you do promptly to cheer him up after that unfortunate Grammy snub.
We all know about djent by now – the metal genre named after a specific guitar tone that sounds like ‘djent djent djent’ – but you need only to look at the wah wah pedal to know that guitarists have long been hip to the joys of onomatopoeia. We also talk about ‘jangle,’ ‘crunch,’ ‘chug’ and ‘chunk,’ all words that sound like the things they’re describing. But I think we should go further. I think there should be an onomatopoeia for every sound a guitar makes. So here are a few suggestions.
It’s the sound of a wah wah being used to hover loosely around a specific frequency rather than rocked back and forth to its extremes. It’s almost impossible to make this kind of sound without also making the appropriate mouth shapes. Joe Satriani is the master of this. Check out the video for “Summer Song” for proof, especially throughout the solo that starts at 1:55.
The pickslide deserves its own name. Sure, ‘pickslide’ is how you achieve the sound, but it’s not what the sound is. If that was how we were going to name guitar stuff, you might as well call the wah wah the ‘foot move’ pedal, or call fingertapping …finger …tapping. Oh. Okay, well I guess we need to come up with a new name for fingertapping too. In the meantime, there are some great kiwws in “Rocket” by Def Leppard.
A downtuned open string, hit at a strategic time, and maybe picked a little too hard or with too light a string gauge for the tuning, so the note kind of drifts into tune after starting a little bit sharp. LIke at :05 in Mastodon’s “Oblivion.” “Dude, that riff’s kinda killer but it’d be really killer if you threw in a goong.
“Wakka,” “Wikka,” “Chikka,” “Kooka”
You can achieve a pretty wide range of sounds from a muted clean guitar and a wah wah pedal, but most of them hinge on a “Ka” sound at the end. You can hear a whole smorgasbord of them, a grand buffet of muted clean wah work, in Trey Spruance’s playing during the intro of Faith No More’s “Evidence.”
Got any more?
Available November 2009. The V845 Wah-Wah pedal is a new version of the most famous guitar effects pedal of all time. Based on the specifications of the original pedal developed by VOX in the ’60s, the V845 Wah-Wah offers guitarists the same legendary Wah-Wah tone in a new sturdy but very affordable design. An AC power connector is fitted to save on batteries and the outer case is coated with tough all-black finish making it the perfect choice for your pedal board.
About the VOX Wah-Wah
VOX developed the world’s first Wah-Wah effect during the ’60s in an effort to allow guitarists to emulate the sound of a trumpet being muted — an important musical ingredient of the day. VOX’s original Wah-Wah pedal quickly gained widespread popularity and its unique sonic characteristics have encouraged further experimentation by guitarists ever since. Having made spotlight appearances on some of the most famous recordings of all time, the Wah-Wah is still considered “must-have equipment” for guitar players of all levels and abilities today.
VOX V845 Wah-Wah Specificaitons
Input/Output jacks: INST jack, AMP jack, DC i/p jack.
Power supply: One 9V DC battery 6F22(S-006P)
Power consumption: 540uA @ 9VDC
Battery life for continuous use: approximately >100 hours with manganese battery (will vary depending on conditions)
Dimensions: 102(W) x 252(D) x 75(H) (including rubber feet, pedal in lowest postion)
Weight: 942g (including battery)
Dunlop seems to be going full tilt with the signature wah pedals lately – Dimebag Darrell, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Eddie Van Halen… and finally they’re honouring one of the originators of wah in a blues/rock setting, the great Buddy Guy.
Even at a glance, anyone familiar with Buddy would know this is his wah. It’s kitted out in the same white polka dot on black background as his signature Fender Stratocaster, and his signature is present in moulded form on the treadle. The finish of the pedal itself is very slick, thick and glossy, and looks like it would withstand a huge number of knocks and bumps before starting to show the even the faintest hint of wear. Normally stuff like that wouldn’t bother me on a pedal (I’m sure everyone has a banged-up Boss DS-1 or Crybaby under their bed, if not on their pedalboard), but in the case of the Buddy wah I’d like to preserve that neat polka dot finish for as long as possible.
Similar to the boost switch on the side of the Dimebag wah, there’s a small kick button on the right side of the pedal which allows you to go from the default “Deep” mode to the “BG” mode. There are LEDs on both sides of the pedal to let you know if the effect is engaged (blue) and if Buddy’s “BG” mode is selected (red).
Inside, the pedal features true bypass switching and a Fasel inductor. The inductor is the brain of a wah circuit, if you will, and tone hounds have long praised older Crybaby wahs which used a Fasel brand inductor, over later models which didn’t. In recent years the company has brought back this venerated component in many of its wahs, and it’s become a strong selling point.
Let’s kick the pedal into action and start with the “Deep” mode. The filter sweep of this mode includes a low pass range of 250Hz – 330Hz and a high pass range of 1.3kHz-1.6kHz (by comparison, the ZW-45 Zakk Wylde Signature Wah has a low pass range of 250Hz-350Hz and a high pass range of 1.4kHz-2.4kHz). This mode is very thick and deep sounding, with certain harmonic overtones located at about ¾ of the way through the pedal’s sweep which almost sound like they’re generating an additional octave above whatever note you’re playing. It’s a very addictive sound which works really well for single note riffs, and even better for low, gruff distorted rhythm guitar. On this sound alone a lot of people will be sold on this pedal. It also sounds particularly great when used ‘in reverse’ – that is, rocking the pedal from toe-down to heel-down over the course of a note, instead of the other way around.
Purely on the strength of the “Deep” mode, the Buddy Guy Signature Wah would be a unique addition to the ever-growing stable of Dunlop wahs. The “BG” mode, though it’s really the featured mode of the pedal, is almost a straightforward option compared to the strength of the other mode, and you really do get two pedals in one: A hepped-up but more traditional wah, and the fat, funky “Deep” mode that you’ll have a hard time turning off. While I only had this wah for a few weeks for the purposes of review, I will definitely buy one soon to replace my tired old Crybaby.