You rarely see wah wah pedals in a bassist´s pedal board, and there are several reasons for it. Technically, a wah wah pedal is a kind of sweeping midrange boost, and since it was originally made for guitar, the register was simply too high for bass. Over the years there have been a number of attempts at adapting it to bass, and in most cases one has settled with adapting the frequency range of the sweep. The main problem has remained, though – that you lose most of the lows when you activate the effect.
EBS, who seem to think that bassists´ problems are theirs to solve, has now dealt with this effect and also launched the first signature effect in the company history, in collaboration with the legendary Stanley Clarke.
The Stanley Clarke Signature Wah Wah has a weight that suggests quality and that, in combination with the rubber feet, holds it steadily to the floor. It is finished in a gorgeous metallic red slightly suggesting “candy apple red”. The foot pedal has a solid rubber plate and slightly more stroke length than the Dunlop Cry baby. The foot pedal´s resistance is adjustable with a screw at the bottom.
Like with most EBS pedals, it can be powered by battery, an eliminator or the EBS phantom power. The battery sits behind a snap-on lid under the pedal.
On the right sides of the chassis are two switches. Passive/Active sets the input level while Volume/True Bypass sets the function once the pedal is shut off (which is done by pushing the foot pedal all the way forward). In the “Volume” position it works as a volume pedal while “True Bypass” means that the signal is completely passes by all the electronics. A red diode indicates when Wah Wah is active, a green diode shows when Volume is active. Input and output jacks are on opposite sides of the pedal. So far, it is a traditional wah wah pedal.
The big news is the three controls on the front of the pedal: Mode, Range and Width. Mode is a four-way switch that offers alternatives to the conventional wah wah effect. In the first position a low pass filter is activated, which means that the foot pedal (when moved all the way back) eliminates all frequencies above the one set with the range control (50 Hz – 12.5 kHz). This effect is quite similar to that of an envelope filter. The next position is a high pass filter, working the opposite way, i.e. it removes all frequencies below that set with the Range control. It must be said, though, that one of the benefits of this pedal is that the effects work in parallel with the dry signal, so there is always the solid bass sound underneath. The exception is the low pass position which gives effect only.
The third position is a band pass filter, as in a traditional wah wah pedal, and the fourth position is a more boosted version, for the unabashed. Width, finally, adjusts the Q value of the filters, affecting the width of the frequency range.
These three controls give new means to adapt the effect to different demands and fields of use, whether you are looking for something subtle or for the extreme. The only thing I miss is a level control, to balance the output between effect and bypass. That balance is now set in accordance to Stanley Clarke´s demand and it would have been nice to be able to adjust it after your own taste and instrument. Apart from that, this pedal is all you could ask for. At last, a wah wah pedal for bass that works and sounds good!