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074 | Ibanez WH10 V3: A Closer Look at this Wah Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to Episode 74 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. For today's discussion, we have a fun one. I'm super pumped because we get to cover a wah pedal on this podcast. And today we're going to do just that. We're going to be talking about the Ibanez WH10 Wah Pedal. I love this thing and we're excited to unpack it on the other side. Everybody, Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you today. Hope you are having an amazing day. Well, today we are super pumped because we're going to be talking about the Ibanez WH10 Wah Pedal. I've had my eye on this thing for quite some time, being a fan of John Frusciante and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I didn't want to spend the money to get a version one of this pedal. So, when the version three option reissue came out, not too long ago, I was all about picking one up. So, today we are excited to talk about this pedal. Again, the Ibanez WH10V3 Wah Pedal. So, excited to talk about this.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I've never really played a wah pedal that I've enjoyed until now. Like I've played, the church I used to work at, I found a VOX one in a closet, and I messed around with that a little bit. I had played wahs that friends have had growing up and things like that. But I never really found one that I thought was usable really for like anything that I did. So, actually, trying this out. It was really interesting. I was really impressed by the features and the controls that it offers. So, yeah, it's kind of a weird one, but yeah, it's really cool. I also had no idea that they were like that expensive because I'm not a wah guy, so I don't look into it. I typically don't ever entertain the idea of them. So, to look at this and see how much the original ones go for is pretty insane.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh, yeah. It is insane. I mean, 500, 600. I mean I've seen ridiculous prices for the version 11. And on top of that, I mean the version one model is known to break and fall apart and it's not built like a tank. So, to spend hundreds of dollars for something that is unstable is crazy. But it's an iconic piece of gear, so I can also get the appeal of it on that front. Yeah. I mean, I guess we're kind of on different ends of the spectrum here. I know I'm primarily a strap player, so I just love wah pedals. In fact, I typically run probably, usually, it could Dunlop Cry Baby on my pedal board. Again, for fans of this podcast, they know that I'm a huge fan of Tom Morello. He actually just came up with his own signature wah pedal, not too long ago.

I love Jimi Hendrix. I love Mike McCready from Pearl Jam and he uses a wah quite a bit. So, for me, a wah is kind of a must have item on any board. But again, I've also a huge fan of John Frusciante. I've always wanted to get my hands on one of these and it is different. It's not like your typical Cry Baby type wah. So, and, hopefully, it is you guys hear the demo of this, or maybe you're hearing about it for the first time. You'll hear that it is different. It's got definitely a wider range of tonal possibility making it, yeah, kind of its own unique thing which is fun.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Do you know what company is making that Tom Morello wah?

Scott Schwertly:
I believe it's Dunlop as well.

Eric Wilson:
Okay.

Scott Schwertly:
So, I think they just made a few, I mean... Yeah, don't quote me on all the details from that, but I know it's Dunlop and I don't think it's radically different than some of the other traditional Cry Babies out there, but I'll have to do more research on-

Eric Wilson:
Not that much different than any of the other traditional Cry Babies or the other like 40 signatures they have?

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, not a whole lot there as a standout, but then I guess in that case, or you're paying for the signature name. But, probably, one that we'll cover, I mean, again, I'm a huge fan of Tom Morello, so I'm sure it's something we'll probably cover on this podcast at some point and in the future.

Eric Wilson:
And, hopefully, by then I'll have some wah risks that I can actually play. Fair warning for the demo today. I don't play with the wah often, obviously, as I've already alluded to. So, that might get interesting, but we'll see.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely. Well, good deal. Well, I'm excited to actually hear that. No. Well, given all of that, let's talk a little bit about the history of this pedal. So, the original actually came out in the '80s. It really was made famous by guitarists like John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Interestingly enough, though, obviously most people know that he's rejoined the band. And I think several months ago, a couple months ago, he was actually spotted sporting in Xotic Wah XW-1 on his board rather than the Ibanez WH10. So, I know forums and certain gear pages have been commenting and speculating on if he's actually walking away from the Ibanez WH10, like he's done with it, he's going to officially move on with the Xotic or if that was just sort of a short-term solution. So, lots of debate online about that. We can save that conversation for another day.

But all that said, when you think of John Frusciante, you have to think about the Ibanez WH10. It is such a big part of his sound. And it's really kind of the primary reason we're discussing this day. I mean, I think he's probably the biggest ambassador of this wah pedal. And I know, for me, when I think about a lot of his work, I think of songs like Dani California, where you particularly have that solo at the end, you can hear that wah all throughout that. And pretty much through a good chunk of Red Hot Chili Peppers catalog, you're going to hear this wah pedal.

There's even a fantastic video if you guys really want to see John Frusciante shine of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing Can't Stop. I think it's the Live Earth from London in 2007. Before they actually get into Can't Stop, I think the first minute or two is just John and Flea riffing and he's going to town with Ibanez WH10. So, that is a true demo of what this wah pedal can do. So, definitely go check that out. Yeah. If you just want to see it and learn more or just enjoy what John Frusciante can do with the magic of this pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, when I think of wah it's like song set. I mean, we're coming out when I grew up, I do think of the Stadium Arcadium album. I don't have too much extensive knowledge of what songs and who uses what, but those are kind of the two that really stick out to me.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, there's definitely a huge catalog of songs out there that have some type of wah pedal in them. I found myself recently over the last several weeks, just being more intentional about listening for it. I actually, personally, have been playing a lot of Pearl Jam just during my practice session. And I forget that the wah pedal is used on so many different Pearl Jam songs whether, I'm thinking like, even the song Black, like at the very end of it, there's a wah pedal. And I never really realized that before and now, like my ears are sort of perked up to like, "Oh, there's the wah pedal and there's a wah pedal and there's a wah pedal." So, yeah, it's more than you think, I guess, that actually feature the sound of a wah.

So, bringing things back to center here, let's talk about this Ibanez WH10. Again, we're talking about the V3 model here. There are a lot of great improvements that they made with this. I think the biggest one for those that are a fan of maybe the V1, or the V2, what you're going to like about the V3 is it's built solidly, but I think the biggest thing and the biggest request that everybody wanted was that true bypass option because V1 and V2 are known for just sucking your tone and the fact that now you've got that option to switch between true bypass and buffer. I think that that's hopefully made a lot of people happy.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, being able to have that choice between true bypass and the buffered bypass is great because if you want the buffered sound, you can get it. And if you don't, you don't have to have it. And also true bypass, if the pedal breaks in the middle of your gig, then it can still pass signal. You don't have to worry about like having to like pull it out of your chain and toss it to the side or anything. But, yeah, I mean, obviously it's a wah pedal. So, your main control on this thing is going to be the actual foot pedal. But the turning on and off it's like most wahs where it's a toe down kind of situation and then the added things on this is there's voicings for guitar and for bass.

So, that has to do with just kind of the shape of the frequencies that allow us through and things like that and kind of how it messes with the format of that. And then there's the depth control, which controls the range of your wah, which I think is really useful because I mean then for people like me who don't use wah in anything, you can kind of sneak it into some stuff that you wouldn't otherwise have be able to use it in, you know?

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I think all those different add-ons I think are wonderful. Definitely, they take it up a notch and the kind of, again, the classic attribute of this pedal is you're going to get that wider range, which is great. So, it definitely makes it a standout as compared to some of its other rivals, like the Cry Baby, which we've discussed quite a bit already in this episode. Also really cool thing about this pedal in general is that it does have an op amp circuit which is actually rare for most wah pedals. And the beauty in this is it actually maintains the same gain at any frequency range. So, definitely, a fun attribute that is embedded within this pedal, which is great. So, yeah, definitely. A fun one to have if you're looking for those wooly tones, you're going to get that from this.

And it also plays really nice. So, whether it's overdrive, distortion or fuzz, whatever your preferences there, you're going to find that this wah pedal plays nicely with all those different tones. So, on that note, we've talked about John Frusciante quite a bit in this episode, again, him being obviously a huge ambassador of this pedal, but a classic example of how this wah pedal plays nicely with others is, again, if you go back and dissect the Dani California solo, which you'll notice is that song reaches its conclusion is John Frusciante's in that solo and he's got his Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion on. So, now you've got full on distortion. And then at the very, very end, he switches to the WH10 and then kicks on his fuzz, right. Fuzz pedal. And so now, you've got, I believe, the DS-2 on, you've got the fuzz right on and you got the wah on. All of these are engaged and this thing shines in that moment. So, you get a clear example of how it just plays nicely with others. So, best example that I can think of in that world.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, there really is a great example of just kind of where this thing really shines. So, we'll go ahead and demo this. I'm going to go ahead and use the Tele for this one and going straight into the Iridium again and then into Logic, so.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. Sounds good. And then that's interesting, Eric, you're going to go with the Tele rather than a Strat for the WH10 fairing.

Eric Wilson:
Well, I just broke a string of my Strat and I've been too lazy to replace it. So, that's just sitting there right now.

Scott Schwertly:
Gotcha. All right. We'll be curious to see what this one sounds like. So, we're going to get this connected guys and we'll see you on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
All right that's the Ibanez WH10 Wah. It's a great verse. It's a really versatile wah for as far as wah has go. I definitely recommend checking it out if you're not typically one who would like wah because it started to open my mind a bit to the idea.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, it's definitely a good one. And it's only going to set you back about $149. All right. Well, there you have it, guys, as the Ibanez WH10V3 Wah Pedal. Join us next time, we're going to go back into the world of distortion and we're going to be talking about a boutique pedal. This is the 1981 INVENTIONS DRV pedals. So, this pedal was actually inspired by the RAT circuit and it's a solid one. I've actually enjoyed having this one for quite some time and surprised we actually haven't covered it earlier. So, just that we're going to be covering it in the next episode.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I really liked this pedal. I actually had one of the ones from kind of like the first batch that was released. And I remember I really enjoyed it. So, excited to talk about that one.

Scott Schwertly:
All right, guys. Well, we hope you have a great day, have a great week, and we will catch you in the next one.

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