By Damian Fanelli and Josh Hart
Many guitar players — at some point — can't help but fall under the spell of the sounds found on classic rock albums of the mid- to late '60s.
Players like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend and Robby Krieger were synonymous with wah, fuzz, univibe and/or tremolo. Throw George Harrison and Brian Jones into the mix and you get sitars and other sound- (and mind-) altering effects. They were always experimenting, changing things up, trying to outdo each other.
Modern players who are obsessed with classic '60s rock sounds can glue their eyes to eBay, waiting for pricey, hard-to-find vintage gear to show up. Or they can check out these five easy-to-find, modern effect pedals, as chosen by a group of Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado staffers including Gear Editor Paul Riario.
Vox V846-HW Hand-Wired Wah Wah
Stop, children, what's that sound? ... Well, if we're talking about the '60s (and we are), it's probably Jimi Hendrix playing "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" on a Fender Strat through a Vox V846 Wah Wah pedal.
Vox actually created the first wah pedal in the '60s, spawning an army of imitators that continues to grow, NAMM after NAMM. Back in the day, the Vox wah and its competitors found their way into the hands — or in this case, the feet — of countless top-notch rock guitarists, from Hendrix to Jeff Beck to Jimmy Page to Eric Clapton. But again, Vox was there first.
In 2011, the company issued its V846-HW Hand-Wired Wah Wah Pedal, which does a fine job of capturing the tone, feel and weight of the original Vox pedal. Every component in the new model — inductors, resistors, capacitors and the potentiometer — is carefully selected. And like its name suggests, each unit features hand-wired turret board construction with no printed circuit boards. The only difference is a true bypass, a handy update for modern players.
MSRP: $329 | Check out this pedal at voxamps.com.
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face
The '60s may have started out clean, but by the end of the decade there were some pretty gnarly distortion and fuzz sounds filling clubs and arenas around the world.
Among the most distinctive fuzz tones of the late '60s undoubtedly belonged to Jimi Hendrix, who utilized a Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face to add that extra layer of dirt to his already gritty brand of hard blues. Unless you're quick on the draw with your eBay bids or simply owned one back in the day, you won't have much luck finding Hendrix's original fuzz source these days, but fortunately Dunlop has produced a faithful replica in the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face.
Hand-wired and built around a BC108 silicon transistor, the Hendrix Fuzz Face is nothing less than a meticulous reproduction of the original pedal, one you'll need if you'll want to summon your inner-voodoo child.
And if a Tone Bender is more your thing, check out the OC81D Williams Vintage Tone MK11 Professional, as used by Ben King, the current Yardbirds guitarist.
MSRP: $257 | Check out this pedal at jimdunlop.com.
Can't get enough gear? Check out the 2013 Guitar World Buyer's Guide. It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store.