Every now and again we have a product that is released that challenges the status quo. After decades of Wahs that offer variations on the same original design with at best, a few extra parameters or volume controls, we were introduced to switchless optical wahs back in the late ′90s. The first significant development since then comes along with the Electro-Harmonix Crying Tone Wah.
With no moving parts, the solidly built Crying Tone Wah has a contoured bottom plate that allows you to rock it back and forth on the floor with your foot, much in the same way you would your traditional wah. The wah’s technology allows it to sense the angle at which it is positioned relative to 0 degrees to deliver the corresponding frequency associated with its position.
To switch the wah on, you simply tip it forward past the angle where it rests flat, and the “EHX Crying Tone” logo lights up to let you know the wah is operational. To switch off, you tip forward again. This on/off action is exactly as it would be for a traditional wah. In the event that the surface on which you might be performing is angled, there is a simple calibration switch that you use at both ends of the sweep to set the limits of the EQ sweep.
The pedal operates with a 9-volt battery or the standard 9-volt center negative power supply. It does have a “T” around which you can secure that power cord.
Bells, whistles, and technology aside, the Crying Tone Wah just plain sounds great! As a traditionalist, I am always on guard against new technology when it comes to classic sounds and effects. Quite frankly, I was pleasantly surprised with the ease at which I was able to use this wah with no learning curve or adjustment. I found myself actually having a LOT of fun playing music with the wah. I have other wahs that I′ve velcro-ed to some of my pedal boards but will use the Crying Tone Wah in performance situations where, for example, I use just a wah in conjunction with overdrive from the amp along with, say, one other pedal.
In my online course Funk–Rock/R&B Guitar Soloing we cover some of the essential effects for the genre. Wah sounds are an integral part of R&B/Funk and I have owned many different wahs since the ′70s, starting with one of the old original Cry Babys. I really like everything about the Crying Tone Wah with respect to ease of use and tone. EHX did a great job with giving a useful wah tone that spans traditional and contemporary. AAAAA+