Published On: Tue, Apr 7th, 2009

Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Bass Wah

The Cry Baby has great variation; even with the VQ fully clockwise for maximum treble, the peaks dont overload or distort unless you really crank the signal

Jim Dunlop's 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah is already on the pedal board of Metallica's Robert Trujillo. It's specifically designed for bass, applying wah to the mids and highs without sucking out the lows.

It sports two tiny side-mounted black rotary controls, Volume and Variable Q (VQ), the latter controlling the frequency that wah is applied to.

The aluminium casing is covered in a soupy white coat that lends a retro air to proceedings, and the rubber face on the pedal section is positively grip-tastic. You can step on it to ignite it and off to douse it, courtesy of a built-in spring that noiselessly pings it to 'up and off' position.

The VQ control is the key to getting the best out of Dunlop's Bass Wah. At the anti-clockwise extremities (lower frequencies) the gurgling modulation subtly shimmers with moderate peaks whether you rock it in heel-down or toe-down position.

The difference in tonal bias becomes more marked further clockwise, offering more options and making it, frankly, less hard work: the real key is rocking the pedal in time to the particular song. Higher VQ levels facilitate subtle heel movement for a darker, smoother sound or similar toe action for spikier, vocal peaks.

It's great fun for sleazy funk grooves on bassier settings, and feeding the Cry Baby with distortion conjures the spirit of a wailing Hendrix. At slower tempos you can create a tremolo effect, and the juicier output can also add an interesting dimension to slap playing.

Verdict

Funky and fun, Dunlop's Cry Baby Bass Wah offers a variation on the envelope filter gurgle adored by fans of deep funk. While Morley's Dual Bass Wah is cheaper, the Cry Baby has more variation; even with the VQ fully clockwise for maximum treble, the peaks don't overload or distort unless you really crank the signal. Manual operation is the only downside, and many will plump for an auto-wah or envelope filter to reduce ankle fatigue. All three are excellent pedals, and its up to you to pick the form of mayhem that suits you best.

Build Quality Playability Sound Value Vibe Score
18 17 16 15 16 82

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