The 5 Best Wah Pedals For Metal Reviewed: Which One Is Best For YOU?

By Christoper Horton •  Updated: 09/19/22 •  12 min read

We have checked out the best Wah Pedals for Metal according to online reviews, and today we break down what makes them so awesome! Some are fairly new, and some may be classics, but these are all 5 star pedals!


The Best Wah Pedals For Metal: In The Beginning…

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. But then, in the late 60’s, Saint Hendrix graced us with the sounds of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. This not only brightened the world, but it also changed guitar forever. Now Jimi wasn’t the first person to use a Wah pedal, but he was the one that introduced most of us to the sound.

Chet Atkins actually used a modified version of the Wah pedal before Jimi Hendrix on a few recordings. Chet used a pedal on the famous song “The Crying Game” to achieve an effect with his guitar. So the Wah pedal actually goes WAY back to the 50’s!

In fact, Wah pedals were never even supposed to be for guitars. These were made originally for electric organs, and the history of the Wah pedal is a crazy story in itself. One day, we will do a full article on how the Wah pedal came to be, since it has such a rich history. But today we are looking at the best Wah pedals for Metal.

There are a lot of factors that make a Wah pedal good for playing Metal. Having the right frequency sweep is a big factor. You want to have as much control as possible when dealing with high gain tones. There are so many famous Metal solos feature a prominent Wah sound, and everyone has a different “style”.

Everyone will have a different opinion on what makes a great tone, so we decided to take a look at the best reviewed Wah pedals. These are not professional reviews either! These are all based on USER opinions. These are the Wah pedals that we found that had 5 Star reviews from customers.

I combed several retail sites, and you would be surprised that there is a pretty solid consensus among the people who actually use the pedals. Professional reviews can sometimes be paid for, or biased (Ask us about the Katana). But consumers will usually be pretty honest about their experience with a product, especially if it is bad.

So I got them, and tried them all!

So we are going to check out the 5 best Wah pedals for Metal, and talk about the features that are so important to Metal guitarists. The thing that most of us are looking for is the ability to control the “sweep” of the Wah. All Of these pedals have lots of sound options, or they sound absolutely amazing for face-melting solos.

As usual, we are going to try to keep our choices in budget territory. There are some amazing boutique Wah pedals out there that would be great for Metal players. But I really want to keep these choices in a price range where just about any guitarist can buy one. Especially the beginners!

So let’s take a look at the best Wah pedals for metal, and go over the features that make them the best of the best!


#5 Morley Bad Horsie 20/20

Best wah pedals for metal

I think we all know who designed this pedal with Morley, and it has been a huge hit over the years. Steve Vai and Morley created the Bad Horsie Wah back in the 90’s. If you listen to the song “Bad Horsie” by Steve Vai, you can hear the incredible sweep that this pedal is capable of.

The Morley Bad Horsie is one of the best Wah pedals for metal because you have some serious options for the contour of the sweep. You not only have a full control of the contour via the side knob, you also have a knob that controls the overall effect level.

The Morley is also outfitted with an optical sensor, which means you don’t have to “click” the Wah pedal on. The pedal comes on the moment you interact with it! This can take a minute to get used to, but I really appreciate an optical pedal these days. The 20/20 series is also compact, so it will physically fit any pedalboard setup.

The amazing options that you have makes the Morley Bad Horsie one of the best Wah pedals for Metal. You have control over all of the parameters so you can tailor the sound to fit into any rig. This Wah was created by one of the most innovative Metal guitarists out there! This thing is designed to handle high gain madness!


#4 Dunlop DIME Cry Baby From Hell

best Wah pedals for metal

While most people would associate Dime and Pantera with the Digitech Whammy pedal, the Cry baby was also an integral part of Dime’s rig. The amount of control you have on this pedal is massive, making it one of the best Wah pedals for Metal.

When we were looking for the best Wah pedals for Metal, we knew that this pedal would be on the list somewhere! The Dime Cry Baby has had a few different iterations, and the latest design gives you control over literally everything.

The “sweep” of the Wah is very important, and the Dime Cry Baby has a “toe knob” that controls the range. You can make the sweep as tight or loose as you want. When I was playing with this pedal, I kept the range wide open.

You also get fine tuners on the side that changes the frequency of the Wah, as well as the volume. Having all of these features makes the Dime Cry Baby one of the best Wah pedals for metal, but that comes at a price. There are a lot of options, and that can be too much for some guitarists.

For some people, there will be too many options. I know plenty of guitarists that just want a Wah that you plug up and play. You can always “set it and forget it” if you want, but the Dime Cry baby is more suited for guitarists that like to tinker with their sound.


#3 Dunlop Kirk Hammet KH95

Best wah pedals for metal

I bet you can hear this pedal in your head right now, can’t you? If the Dime Cry Baby is one of the more versatile Wah pedals out there, the KH95 is the polar opposite. This pedal does one sound really well, and I think we all know that sound.

The KH95 is one of the best Wah pedals for metal because we know this sound by heart. The solo for “Enter Sandman” for example, is something that we can instantly hear in our heads. This thing produces the sound we all associate with Kirk.

Yes, I realize that Kirk and the Wah are a big joke in the guitar community. But keep in mind that Kirk also played some of the most memorable solos of all time, with and without the Wah pedal. Make fun of him if you want, but he is in one of the biggest bands in the world.

I know it can be a meme at this point, because it does seem like Kirk suddenly started using the Wah pedal around 1990. But that isn’t the truth at all. He actually used the Cry Baby on EVERY Metallica album at some point. He even lists favorite songs on the bottom of the pedal, where he used the original Cry Baby to record the solos.

While Kirk used a regular Cry Baby for those famous solos, his signature pedal has some improvements. The KH95 has a little more sweep, and a lot more top end than a stock Dunlop. This is essentially a “hot rod” version of the original Cry Baby.

So yeah, we might make fun of Kirk for using the Wah pedal so much. But try and imagine the intro of “I Disappear” without the famous Wah pedal. The KH95 may only do one thing, but it does it REALLY well, making it one of the best Wah pedals for Metal.


#2 Friedman No More Tears Wah

best wah pedals for metal

Friedman is a legendary company that has made some really amazing amplifiers over the years. The No More Tears offers one of the best Wah pedals for Metal, but also one of the best all around pedals on our list. Friedman wanted a Wah that would sound great under high gain, but also do those essential, classic sounds.

This is a hard balance, but Friedman pulled it off! At first glance, the No More Tears Wah is very unassuming in appearance. It looks like a very simple pedal at first glance, with no controls over the parameters.

But Friedman has hidden a lot of these features, and closer inspection shows the clever details. You actually have a three way step switch to control the width of the sweep. You also have control with the Allen key insert to tighten up the physical sweep, or let it loose!

Friedman would usually be in the “boutique” section when it comes to gear, but the No More Tears Wah sits under $170! Friedman wanted to keep the classic sounds of the 70’s with this Wah, but also wanted to give the guitarist room to make their own sounds.

With that in mind, the No More Tears Wah is one of the best Wah pedals for metal because of the versatility. It sounds AMAZING under high gain, but can also work well with sparkling clean tones. So from Ska to Slayer, Friedman has you covered with this pedal.


#1MXR MC404 Dual Inductor

Best Wah pedals for metal

The MXR Dual Inductor is our top choice when it comes to the best Wah pedals For Metal. This pedal can do just about anything you want it to do. MXR partnered with Dunlop to create the Dual Inductor Wah, and the results are a totally insane pedal that can appeal to a lot of guitarists.

But since we are talking about the best Wah pedals for Metal, we can talk about the amazing Yellow and Red Fasel inductor choices first. The two inductor choices allows you to boost the high end of your signal, or the low-mid resonance. For high gain, I found the Red Inductor to work the best, it gives you a huge sound.

You can sculpt your tone using the inductor switches, but you also have a built-in MXR Clean Boost that works great for solos. The boost level is controlled with the “toe switch” on the side of the pedal, so you have full control even if your hands are full on stage!

If you open the back of the pedal, you can even fine tune each of the inductors. But without ever touching those things, you have the original Cry Baby sound at your disposal. But when the classic just won’t cut it, you have so many options to tailor your sound.

The MXR Dual Inductor is by far one of the best Wah pedals for Metal. You can get the classic sounds, but also get the huge sweeps that sound amazing with high gain. The MXR gets some serious throaty, vocal sounds that I have never heard on another Wah pedal.

It takes a lot to surprise me, but this crazy team up between MXR and Dunlop has floored me. You have so many options to really tweak your tone. I tried to do classic Wah tones, and even some Disco-style sweeps. The Dual Inductor did classic sounds well, but really opened up when I kicked on the gain. This pedal is NUTS.

MXR MC404 CAE Dual Inductor Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
$169.99
  • Select between a Yellow or Red Fasel Inductor for two distinct tones
  • Features a custom designed CTS extended life low noise potentiometer
  • User selectable gain output stage with kick switch and LED indicator


BUY NOW

The Best Wah pedals For Metal: Wrapping Up

Choosing the right Wah pedal for your sound is a personal thing. What I think sounds crazy-good, might sound terrible to you. Tone is totally subjective, which is exactly why I didn’t want to present my personal favorites. I just scoured the customer reviews, and these were the best.

But as I tried out each of these, looking for the best Wah pedals for Metal, I could see why they were so highly rated! Each one of these pedals have something to offer guitarists that want to have a searing tone for high gain, Metal solos.

I’m not talking trash against professional reviewers, I mean, I am one myself! But I feel like the customer’s voice is going to be much less biased. This was just a little experiment for me to try. Listening to what people had to say that bought and used these pedals sheds light on the features that were good, and the ones that fell flat.

Picking the classic Cry Baby, or some of the VOX options are something of a cop-out to me. Of course those pedals are great, and everyone uses them for a reason. This list is for the guitarist looking for something different. Hopefully we have shed some light on the lesser known gems that are awesome options for Metal guitarists.

How Does A Wah Pedal Work?

The Wah Pedal works on a rocker switch. When you pull the switch back, you change the frequency output of the instrument. With guitar, the Wah acts like a tone knob. When you pull the pedal backwards (cocked) it acts as a low pass filter. Low frequencies pass through, where highs are blocked. The opposite happens when you push the pedal forward, taking out the low frequency. Rocking it back and forth “sweeps” the frequency.

Are Wah pedals Good For Metal?

Lots of Metal bands used Wah pedals to get a unique solo tone. Metallica is famous for this sound. Other bands like Rage Against The Machine use the Wah for all kinds of cool effects. A Wah can be aggressive, or subtle!

Christoper Horton

Christopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.

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