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Cool Pedal Alert: The AMT Japanese Girl Wah – Big Tones, Small Package

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Here’s a post to highlight a wah I recently added to my arsenal of tone generators. I love wah pedals! It is a big part of the retro-funky-R&B sound of the songs I write and sing. In my online course Funk-Rock/R&B Soloing, and in my book, R&B/Funk Guitar: Creative Grooves and Solos, I get into the usefulness of wah sounds and even dig into exercises using a wah.

In these days of roadie-less gigs, taking a big pedalboard to every gig is simply not practical. One of the biggest pedals on a board is always the wah. You can cut down your pedalboard size, but it can never get smaller than your wah, unless you take it off and set it up separately (which defeats the purpose of convenience). So when I heard about the AMT Japanese Girl Wah I went online to check out a couple of demos. Quite impressive, I would say. A week later, I had one of these little beauties in the palm of my hand (literally, see below).

After you get used to the smaller size underfoot, the Japanese Girl Wah pedal feels and plays like a full-sized wah. A typical full-sized wah is sturdy enough for you to put a lot of your body weight into the operation of the pedal. This is something many of the old school cats (like myself) are reluctant to give up. Some mini wahs I have tried don’t take this into consideration. But I felt comfortable leaning my full weight into this mini wah. And the tones were absolutely as funky as anything I ever dreamed of.

The wah is so small that there is no room inside for a battery; that is no problem with standard 9-volt input center negative power input that you can use with your average pedal power connection. It uses optical control instead of the traditional potentiometer for the effect, so there will be no maintenance issues with scratchiness at any point in the future!

Two bright blue LEDs  on both sides of the pedal cast a bright glow when the true bypass switch is activated under toe as with traditional full-sized wahs. Those lights can easily be seen in the dim lights of a club, so there is none of the insecurity that comes with wondering if your wah actually made it to the “off” position.

One of the big plus features of the wah is a three-position toggle switch on the left side of the pedal that allows you to switch from three very useful modes:  0.2-1kH, 0.3-1,5 kH, 0.4-2kH. To describe it in layman’s terms, it goes from vintage to modern or almost synth-like. I did a couple of gigs with the pedal and experimented with all three modes with great satisfaction.

The adjustable axial screw allows you to tighten the feel of the treadle and also allows you to keep it in a fixed place for some of the usual wah notch-effects.

Thanks to AMT for a great new and very practical product!! AAAAA++!! (My second one is already on the way!!)

Here are some specs from the AMT website:

FEATURES:
– Switchable bandpass: 0.2-1kH, 0.3-1,5 kH, 0.4-2kH;
– True bypass
– Removable support feet (the option is useful when you install the AMT WH-1 on the pedal board)
– Effect on/off indicator LEDs on both pedal sides (visible when engaged)
– Adjustable pedal movement by means of an axial screw

SPECIFICATIONS:
– 9-12v DC power negative center (-), adapter or battery
– Low power consumption
– Small size: 110 x 62 x 58 mm
– Weight (without battery) 0.45 kg

Here is a very good YouTube demo of the pedal:

About

Born in the UK, and raised in the West Indies, Thaddeus Hogarth is an Associate Professor in the Guitar department at Berklee College of Music.

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