George Dennis GD50 Elite Wah

It could have been any number of things. Maybe it was Jimi’s “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” or reruns of The Streets of San Francisco. Or maybe it was the porn soundtracks that my friends spoke so highly of. Who knows? But as a wide-eyed, guitar-crazed youth, I could barely wait to augment my first guitar and amp setup with the most hallowed effect known to man: the wah-wah.

As the years have progressed, the number of wahs to hit the market has grown exponentially—as has the tweakability of what was once viewed as a butt-simple effect. Hell, it’s not uncommon these days to have a wah with more controls than a digital delay! But I digress. The GD50 Elite Wah ($254 retail/$182 street) does offer some tweakability via two internal trimpots that adjust the pedal’s high and low frequency response. Other features include optical operation (no pot to wear out), a 1.5mm steel enclosure, an on/off LED, a 9-volt power jack, and “FTB” (Failure-Free True Bypass).

Using a Fender Telecaster and PRS McCarty, I ran the Elite Wah in front of a Cornford Harlequin Mark 1, a Fender Twin Reverb, and a mid-’70s Marshall 50-watt head. The Elite Wah’s tones are expressive, with a pronounced, almost exaggerated, “wow.” And although the Elite Wah’s rocker pedal sports a preponderance of motion, it doesn’t travel to paint-peeling highs or guttural lows. As a matter of fact, the Elite’s overall tones are quite musical. But if you’re used to a smoother transition from low to high—such as you get with a CryBaby—you’re going to have to go inside the Elite Wah’s chassis and start monkeying with the two trimmers. After a little twiddling with a tiny screwdriver, I was able to obtain a more familiar top-to-bottom sweep from the pedal. The Elite Wah is a cool choice for those who desire a slightly different flavor of wah, but who also don’t want to stray too far from the classic effect.