Posted by: worshipguitarguy | August 2, 2006

Using Wah as an Ambient Effect

wah.jpgI really admire the guitar work of Alex Nifong, a member of the 7:22 worship band in Atlanta, Georgia.  A few years ago, his playing turned me on to using a wah pedal (with delay) as an ambient effect.  I’ve since incorporated this in my own playing, and it’s become a favorite tool in my playing arsenal. 

When most guitarists think of wah, the funk sound of the 70’s comes to mind, (the idea that you sweep the pedal back and forth on quarter, half, or whole notes.)  This concept is different than that traditional use since it treats wah as a phase style effect or an eq thing.  To do it, first I set my delay to something analog, like a tape, tube or multihead echo.  You don’t want strong repeats, or a digital sounding delay here, (try it and you’ll know why…)  Set your delay repeats so you get between half a second and a 1.5 seconds worth of repeats. (Depending on the sound you’re going for.)  Strum a straight 16th note rhythm, with palm muting so your chords are slightly choppy.  Also, try to keep your strumming on only two or three strings.  (A D chord works really well here, because you can play D major, D sus, and D2 with hammer on’s and pull-off’s to create texture.)  Engage your wah pedal and gently sweep it back and forth.  You don’t have to sweep it all the way from heel to toe, look for areas where the sound is unique, and rock back and forth there.  You might find that you’re only rocking halfway or two-thirds of the way through a full sweep, but the sound you’ll create is very unique.   

Wah Demo mp3  (108K)



  1. Gerry this is the first time I read this specific article. That effect is pretty sweet, maybe we can incorporate it into some of the music we do with the youth band.

  2. I agree… perfect. When we play Friend of God, I use this technique for the verses. I add the delay to the 2nd verse for differentiating the two and then at the end of the verse we ave a B5 chord we hold out for about 3-4 measures and I use the wah as a tone sweep— slowly push from heel to toe over the 4 beats to give it a sliding sound.

    Excellent post

  3. the demo link didn’t work~
    would you mind send it to my email?

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