Wah-wah pedal innovation since 1993.
by Luke Shields
People who love the soulful, chewy sound of the humble wah are the guitar world equivalent of the Eskimo with their 50 words for snow.
Considering the sound itself is immediate to the point of being inescapable, the distinction from one pedal to the next can be almost inaudible to the untrained ear. However for those most accustomed to treading that particular sonic tundra, these intricacies can mean the difference between an amazing tonal journey and cheesy, blue-movie pastiche.
One such sonic-sommelier is Geoffrey Teese. Here is a man who has spent much of his adult life obsessing over the tiniest of details in vintage wah builds from across their illustrious history. From the monastic sanctity of his Real McCoy Customs workshop, where he builds and modifies pedals for rock illuminati such as members of Helmet, Dokken, The Knack, Monster Magnet, Joe Walsh and BTO to name but a few, he has taken the inimitable sound of the ever-rocking treadle to new heights (and depths and Qs and sweeps…) by applying the combined learning of several decades of unbridled obsession.
True to the effect’s golden era, the 60s and 70s, he designs his units to an exacting standard, down to the point of having inductors and potentiometers wound as close to vintage, Italian and/or American spec as possible in this modern age.
At the top of the catalogue, the RMC01 takes the standard voicing and stretches it out to add extra, unmistakably throaty growl in the low end and a pinch of extra chirp and sparkle in the highs. The RMC03 picks up the gauntlet laid down by Jim Dunlop’s 535Q and improves the accuracy and range of its tweak-ability via a pair of internal pots.
Not only can you dial more of the already meaty bass but you also have the ability to really hone in on the sweetest of sweet spots in the Q to find exactly your expression of the vocal nature of the effected sound. Much of the rest of his catalogue reads like faithful homage to other oddities and footnotes in the wah-cyclopedia from early organ factory designs to ‘Picture’ Wahs to specific beloved transistors, inductors etc. making it easier than ever to find that mythic voicing that you’ve been dreaming of.
Housed in a familiar, mottled black cast steel chassis topped off with a little extra flair in the chrome treadle, you’d almost be forgiven for mistaking them for your run-of-the-mill rocker. However plug them in and see for yourself that they’re anything but! Teese’s true obsession really pays off here as there’s a little more of everything that makes a wah a wah from RMC and that is exactly what makes them much more of a secret weapon than a played-out stereotype!