Music Thursday - Meet the wah-wah pedal

Set aside your usual workout jams, get ready for some old-school funk.  Nothing says sit back, relax and get your groove on quite like a wah-wah pedal.

Here is a little video that outlines what the pedal does to the guitar sound in 8 really well known songs for those of you who have never experienced the wah-wah:

To start you off, listen for the opening wah-wah steel guitar in Robert Rudolf and the Family Band's "Ain't Nothin' Wrong with That". *

Do you hear that guitar or bass that sounds all wavy and regularly changing sound, perhaps like someone saying "wah-wah"?  That, my friends is funk's best friend, the wah-wah pedal.  It is a pedal used by electric guitarists to get that oh-so deliciously funky effect.  By the way, that stringed thing that Robert plays is a lap version of a steel guitar, in case you were wondering.  Also, if there is a heaven, it MUST have a wah-wah pedal.  And Soul Train.  Anyway, music of this ilk always makes me think of Oceans 11, 12 and 13, so find your best aviator sunglasses, sit down and listen, and start imagining how you would pull off the heist of the century.

One can't mention the wah-wah without talking about Hendrix, he heard Frank Zappa play one soon after the pedal's creation and had to have one.  He put it to good use:

Start listening to this one for the wah-wah, stay for the jazz marimba.  Because I am not a true jazz musician, I don't quite know what to think about the beefy older brother of the glockenspiel that is the marimba.  Can that sound be funky without being slightly goofy?  I'm not sure.  You tell me.   Judgement aside, that marimba player is slaying.

Though there is no wah-wah pedal in this next one it is none-the-less very groove-able.  The band is locked in, in-sync with each other.  Let's not judge them for their lack of wah-wah, them's is still baby-making chords.

*I watched the video all the way through, it is pretty safe for kids, no gratuitous gyrations :)


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