VRM-1 Real McCoy Wah Pedal
First introduced by Vox in 1967, the Wah-Wah pedal was initially created to emulate Clyde McCoy's trumpet mute technique. However, an unintended but music-changing use with electric guitar turned the Wah pedal into a legendary tool for artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. The VRM-1 recreates the first ever wah pedal, renowned for its iconic nasal tone. It accentuates the midrange, imparting a warm and melodic quality for expressive lead guitar playing that underscores the articulation of each note.
From 1967 to today
First introduced by Vox in 1967, the Wah-Wah pedal was initially created to emulate Clyde McCoy's trumpet mute technique. However, an unintended but music-changing use with electric guitar turned the Wah pedal into a legendary tool for artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.
Wah pedals from the early days are rare and sought after due to their distinctive tone. However, high costs and component reliability make them risky to use on stage. They can also be expensive to maintain due to the cost of replacement parts.
As a result, our engineers have worked hard to unravel the mysteries of the original wah. After years of research, we’re proud to offer 2 models of wah pedals designed to meticulously replicate the exact tonal characteristics of the ultimate pedals.
The Pursuit of the Ultimate Vintage Wah
Vintage wahs are renowned for their distinctive sound profiles, with each unit exhibiting unique characteristics owing to the inherent simplicity of their circuitry and the markedly individualised nature of their components. Two wahs emanating from the same production line and produced at the same time may sound quite different!
We started our journey by acquiring a mint condition vintage 1960s Wah, referred to at Vox as the "Holy Grail" - the epitome of the ideal unit.
Unlocking the Mystery of the Iconic Frequency Curve
Once we had our “holy grail” wah, we conducted exhaustive A/B testing, systematically comparing its frequency response against that of other more conventional vintage units. This extensive exploration unravelled the alchemy inherent in vintage components that collectively shape the unique frequency curve characteristic of the holy grail unit.
Inductors: The Crucial Component in Wah Technology
The "Halo" inductor stands as the quintessential element in the vintage wah. By meticulously analysing the inductor characteristics of vintage units, we have successfully replicated the Halo inductor to incorporate it into our wahs.
Subtle modifications to the inductors of the VRM-1 and the V846 Vintage have been implemented, yielding distinct tonal characteristics.
The VRM-1, renowned for its iconic nasal tone, accentuates the midrange, imparting a warm and melodic quality for expressive lead guitar playing that underscores the articulation of each note.
Conversely, V846 Vintage presents a more assertive tonal profile, characterized by an extended sweep range and heightened emphasis on high frequencies. It stands as the definitive rendition of the widely recognized wah-wah effect.
As always, vintage wah-wahs exhibit inherent variations owing to tolerances in vintage components. By meticulously refining the core material, the pivotal element of the inductor, we achieved the ideal balance of tone characteristics.
Potentiometer: An Integral Component in Wah Dynamics
The potentiometer, a variable resistor, is the pivotal element driving the wah sweep. When the potentiometer from the vintage unit was copied, meticulous adjustments were made to ensure a near-identical curve. The VRM-1 and V846 Vintage models employ distinct resistance values and curves
Transistor: Precision in Component Matching
Employing the appropriate transistor, specifically the BC108 model with identical numbering and appearance as its vintage counterpart, delivered precise component matching. This configuration requires careful assembly due to the interaction with the bottom plate, an integral component of the transistor's terminals. Despite the availability of similar transistors, the tonal variance observed when compared to 60s components required a custom circuit for tone adjustment. Even though additional components not present in the original unit have been introduced, our new Vox wah pedals authentically recapture the essence of a bygone era.
Resistor: Navigating the Evolution of Resistive Elements
In guitar amplifiers, "carbon composite" resistors were once highly regarded. However, by the late ‘60s, "carbon film" resistors, cost-effective and consistent in quality, became standard. The Vox Wah, introduced in 1968, also adopted carbon film resistors. However, in the new Vox wah pedals, larger 1/2W carbon film resistors are utilized to faithfully replicate the vintage Wah tonal characteristics. By moving away from chip resistors and 1/4W resistors, we can deliver an even more authentic sound.
Capacitor Influence on Tone
In a Wah circuit, 0.01uF capacitors can impact the tonal quality. Vintage wahs employed capacitors of unique shapes unsuitable for contemporary production, and so metallized polyester capacitors have been used. The capacitor with the most profound tonal resonance was meticulously selected after analyzing many different options.
Casing: Influential Factors in Wah Effect Pedal Construction
The design of the case plays a pivotal role in the Wah effect pedal, impacting both the angle at which the foot engages and the pedal's range of motion.
Achieving expressive control of the Wah necessitates subtle foot manipulation of the pedal. Consequently, even with the replacement of all electronic components from Vintage, alterations in the case design elicit a perceptible "difference" in pedal feel. To address this, a new mould was created by disassembling the vintage unit and conducting a 3D scan of both the lower case and the pedal. Ensuring that the pedal moves at the same angle as the vintage counterpart, in conjunction with the potentiometer, enables the faithful reproduction of the vintage wah.
The Wah, being a high-impedance circuit with a current consumption of less than 1mA, is particularly susceptible to environmental influences compared to other effect pedals and so aluminium is used. However, during prototyping, a slight roll-off in the high-frequency range was detected due to material composition discrepancies compared with the vintage pedals and so modifications were made to the grounding to mitigate the attenuation of high-frequency components generated by the jack. The addition of a washer effectively insulated the ground section of the case and the jack.
The bottom plate, not just the case, holds significance among some vintage enthusiasts, who assert that the material of the bottom plate influences the sound of the Wah. Thus, replicating the vintage sound necessitated reproducing the tonal characteristics associated with the bottom plate. Processing an iron plate, known for inducing substantial tonal changes, completes the drive for total authenticity.
INPUT jack (monaural phone jack), OUTPUT jack (monaural phone jack)
9V dry cell batteries (6LF22/6LR61) (sold separately)
approx. 100 hours or more (with alkaline batteries).
540µA (9V DC)
Dimensions (W x D x H):
102 x 252 x 80 mm .
Carrying bag, instruction manual
All new products are sold with a 2-year manufacturer warranty which is upgraded to 3 years when bought direct from Vox Amps UK. Certified Refurbished products also come with a one year warranty.
We offer a 30-day returns period on all products purchased directly from Vox Amps UK.