I’ve had pretty big feet ever
since high school. I’m lucky I grew into
these size 11-1/2 gunboats, because
clown feet are not part of the rock and
roll mystique. Even so, I’ve been busted a
few times for tapping my huge and heavy
foot while playing nylon-string acoustic
in the studio, and I’ve had to resort to
taking my shoes off in those situations.
But the other day, I was able to put
these clodhoppers to good use. I was
asked by a composer friend of mine to
come down to his home studio and put a
wah-wah guitar part on the main title of
a new sitcom he was writing. Springtime
is usually “pilot season,” where they put
together the new shows for the Fall TV
season, and see which ones are going to
make the cut. TV producers are always
looking to score their shows with the perfect
music, so it’s important to get it right.
I own a bunch of wah pedals, and I
decided to bring five of them. There’s a
nice Carr Viceroy amplifier at the studio
that I always enjoy playing through,
and I began by hooking up an ancient
CryBaby that I’ve owned since I was
a teenager. We sampled various other
wahs, but the composer was looking for
something radical—like the sound Jimi
gets at the end of “Rainy Day Dream
Away.” I tried a Vox, a Carl Martin, a
Dunlop, and an Ernie Ball, and I got
close, but I never quite achieved that
intense of a sound.
Then, it occurred to me that I could
hook up two wah wahs, and operate them
simultaneously by laying my big shoe
across both pedals. The Ernie Ball and the
Carl Martin were laid side-by-side, and I
hooked them together using right-angle
plugs on a short cable length. The only
problem was that the pedal throw and
height of each wah was slightly different,
and it was hard to get them rocking backand-
forth in sync.
Luckily, the engineer owned an Ernie
Ball wah, as well, so we traded out the Carl
Martin, and went with two Ernie Balls.
That worked much better, and the wahwah
sound became a lot more extreme.
Rocking two wah pedals simultaneously
on a pedalboard might be difficult to pull
of live, but it’s a lot of fun to experiment
like this in the studio. I’m going to try
various combinations with the rest of my
wah pedals at home, so I can employ this
“synchronized-dual-wah secret weapon”
at a later date on one of my recordings.
And it’s nice to have finally found a use
for these big feet!
A member of Supertramp since 1985, Carl
Verheyen has also logged a dazzling 25-year
career as one of L.A.’s premier studio guitarists.
His most recent Carl Verheyen Band release is
the DVD, The Road Divides.
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