So you think you’re analog, eh? You always use physical faders for your volume swells, you only record to tape, and you have that nifty vibrato guitar pedal with a BBD IC chip. I call bullshit. That’s not analog enough! An IC chip? Well, domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, but no arigato. If you want that pedal to be even more analog, you need to send your guitar signal through an aluminum disc covered in oil to rubber pickups. WTF? Here’s one of the biggest stomp boxes you’re likely to ever see, the Tel-Ray Morley RWV Rotating Wah.
Raymond Lubow invented the oil can echo in the 1960s for his company, Tel-Ray Electronics, to be a more reliable device than the tape-based echoes of the time. Smaller than a tape echo, it was also able to be added by amplifier manufacturers to their products. It uses an aluminum disc rotating in an electrostatic oil which brushes against conductive rubber pickups to carry the sound. Raymond used the same technology to create the Morley rotating speaker simulator and shove it into a pedal. The name was a pun on the Leslie (less-lee) rotating cabinet speaker. Thus a company was born and we all got ever-so confused. Now imagine you have a broken one. Fuck.
Continue reading “Mondo Morley Medicale: RWV Rotating Wah”
In the last installment of this thrilling three part series, I covered the internal changes I made to my Crybaby GCB-95 wah, which became my treasured Sewer Bæby. Being that was one of my first excursions into pedal modifications, I decided to take it all the way to learn a thing or three. I wanted to muck about with the aesthetics to show pride in my work, so I learned at least one way to reskin this cat.
The best way to paint any stomp box is powder coating. That’s the process whereby particles of color are electro-magnetically applied to a metal and then cooked on to form a super protective layer of paint. That’s the way the pros do it. I’m not a pro. I didn’t have the luxury of owning a powder coating system when I did this and I imagine most people never will. Cans of paint it is.
Continue reading “Sewer Bæby part 3: GCB-95 Crybaby mods”
The Sewer Bæby… MY Sewer Bæby. This was one of my first pedal modification projects and it still remains one of the favorite effects I own. What happens when you take a salvaged, humble Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95 Wah and mod it? Falling into the rabbit hole of pedal geekery is one thing. Having a wah custom to your tastes is second. I’ve already written about how I added true-bypass and a much needed power indicating LED to this little guy. Next, I got into the guts and made it a kick ass bass wah: my fucking BABY.
The wah circuit is quite simple in terms of the quantity of parts. It’s a very interesting circuit, though, as it’s application wasn’t even intended by the inventors. It was supposed to be a mid-boost, but instead acted as a variable band-pass filter that simulated the human voice. If you’re interested in the intricacies of it, there’s no better article than The Technology of Wah Pedals over at Geofex.com. Alternatively, you can do just as I did: dive in based on a bunch of photos and descriptions of sound to shape up the tone of your wah.
Continue reading “Sewer Bæby part 2: GCB-95 Crybaby mods”
Going back, way back, I found a broken Dunlop GCB-95 Crybaby wah pedal in our jam space. I thought, huh, maybe I could use this if I figure out what was wrong with it. It turned out to be a loose battery clip, easily fixed. Then I thought, huh, sounds okay, what would make it sound better? A few internet searches later, I was led down the rabbit hole into the wild and wooly (more like impractical and laborious) world of modifying effects pedals. With a bit more knowledge under the belt, it’s time reevaluate what I did and look at what is still one of my favorite pedals on my board, the Sewer Bæby.
It’s a little beat up after a some years touring, but the hot rod paint job I gave the Sewer Bæby to distinguish it from yer typical Crybaby still looks alright. Of course none of that matters; it’s the inside that counts, right? Tell that to whomever you set on a blind date with Temple Grandin.
Continue reading “Sewer Bæby part 1: GCB-95 Crybaby mods”
One guitarist I played with was adamant that mute switches and volume pedals were for the unskilled. He insisted every guitar player should learn how to use their volume knob on the guitar or they shouldn’t be playing. A bold statement from a big dick. For the rest of us pussies, there’s devices like the DOD FX-17 Volume / Wah pedal, manufactured from 1987-2000.
Since the first wah, people have been trying to find new ways to do the same thing. First it was the Crybaby style pinion gear to turn the pot and then a pulley system to get more sweep, but that could always lead to scratchy pots. Morley invented the LDR light-based system with a movable curtain to avoid scratchy pots, but the curtain system took up some room.
Continue reading “Class or ass: DOD FX-17 Volume / Wah”
This monster, the Morley Power Wah Fuzz, came to me via Sir John Cadbury Cobbett.
On his former quest to have the largest pedal board in the world, partially I think to mock me and my increasing effects collection, John decided to collect some old Tel-Ray Morley pedals. I knew they had a wah and volume pedal, but I really had no idea how many effects this company produced in the ’70s. Rotating Wahs and echos utilizing oil cans, flangers and phasers whose sweep could be automatic or controlled by one’s foot, some weird shit called a pik-a-wah that used a metal pick to wah while you played? And they all came in the same gigantic big chrome box that just says, “America, fuck yeah.”
Continue reading “Mondo Morley Medicale: PWF Power Wah Fuzz”