Wilson 12 Poistion Wah - Good Stuff!!!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by standingzero, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. standingzero

    standingzero Member

    Messages:
    613
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Seoul & So Cal
    Hey all,
    I’ve used the same Crybaby 535Q for over 10 years and have tried other standard Crybaby’s so I decided it was time to try one the the “boutique” brands floating around. I looked long and hard at the usual suspects and decided on Wilson after reading the reviews and seeing the Burgs demos on youtube. I told Kevin I wanted something that can cover Slash, Andy Timmons, and SRV that was also clear and vocal and he recommended his Wilson and Q Wahs to me. I opted to go with the Wilson model and have played out with it for 2 months so I feel like now I can really comment accurately on it.

    Some pics (pulled off the web, but mine looks the same):

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Service:
    Kevin seems like a pretty cool dude. Anyone with his knowledgeable on wahs deserves some serious attention from potential buyers. I contacted him w/ what I was hoping to get out of a wah and his feedback was clear and insightful. A massive thanks to him for rush ordering my wah for me. I currently live in S. Korea, so I simply don’t have access to gear as easily as most people. Kevin was kind enough to rush order me a custom built wah in a very short window of time while I was home in the states during the Christmas holiday. In fact the signature and date inside the wah shows it was done on Christmas. He got the wah out to me just in time before I left Korea which saved me quite a bit on shipping and customs; very thankful for that!!! He also steered me away from a different model that probably would have left me wanting.

    Build / Performance
    :

    The good:
    This is a hand built wah and it’s always nice to have something on my board built by someone who took pride in it. I do my own amateur pedal building and this is clearly the work of a pro. The soldering is clean, the controls all have smooth travel. The PCB is nicely etched and the wiring is top notch. Check his website for specs and you’ll see that he’s using all quality parts.


    Neither here nor there:
    The travel on my Crybaby is 24mm, the travel on my Wilson is 29mm. The extra near 1/2 centimeter takes some getting used to and is probably just a matter of preference. On one hand the extra travel allows you to be more nuanced w/ your playing. On the other it requires more movement to get a full sweep and there’s times when I miss my “Q” because I’m not used to the extra travel. GMD commented on this on why he stopped using his Fulltone. It’s also more difficult to get the full sweep while seated; so yeah, matter of preference.

    It’s great to have a true bypass wah as all the ones I’ve used in the past definitely sucked tone. Some so much that I only had them on my board when necessary. Just be aware that it takes more pressure to engage a wah w/ a blue 3pdt switch; especially when seated. There’s been a few times when I “misfired” when trying to turn on the wah. To accomodate, I find myself standing more during practice or recording lines.

    The not so good:
    The action on the wah is acoustically louder than my Crybaby’s. Unplugged you can hear some friction and movement.

    After one month the pot became scratchy and you can really hear the noise through the amp in clean settings. It’s nosier than my 10 year old Crybaby.

    Also, it’s recently acquired some pretty substantial electrical noise while on. For the life of me it wasn’t there when I first got it but somehow has started. Right now it’s unusable for recording so I need to follow up on this.


    Sounds : Burgs and GMD both have high quality demos of this, so check those out. I'm not set up at home to record w/the same quality as them.

    Tone:
    The two biggest thoughts that come to mind are: Vocal and Spongey; which is how I believe Kevin describes it. It really has a lovely sound - yeah I just said that, lol! It's also quite a bit different from a Crybaby. For those that find the Crybaby harsh or drastic this would be on the complete other side of the spectrum. Also, it doesn't simply thin things out like a Crybaby does, it keeps your wah tone "full bodied". At times I find this wah a little too spongey and "velvety", but I do like its vocal quality and its fullness.

    I haven't come across a "bad" sound in this wah and I’ve found a few "go to" positions. Actually, If I could have the bass sweep of the 1 o’clock setting coupled with the high sweep of the 2 o’clock setting it’d be darn near perfect. It’s nice to be able to tweak the 3 knobs for different songs, especially if using more than one guitar.

    How it "filters":
    One thing unique about this wah is how it filters. On a Crybaby the wah’s position clearly affects the entire guitar’s register: i.e. when you rock back your whole guitar becomes somewhat muted and when you move the toe downward everything becomes brighter.

    On the Wilson things are a bit different: it’s almost like it places a filter that moves throughout different frequencies while leaving others unaffected as you move the treadle. For example, on my low E the wah will make it quack on the top 1/4 of the sweep, but once I move past that it feels/ sounds like my low E is back to its "normal" tone. This pretty much happens for the rest of the strings in different settings. I don’t like this feature for “parked” wah tones or trying to get a full chord sweep; but if you want to only affect certain strings at a time this is really useful as it does give you more control.


    Overall
    All in all this has moved my 535Q off the board. It’s a much “cleaner” sounding wah and there’s no tone suck. If you want wah tones are clear, vocal, and smooth I would heartily recommend this. I do need to get some contact cleaner for the pot to remove the scratching and get that buzz fixed before I can feel fully confident with it. Not sure how these things happened, but I’m not letting it detract from what I believe is a great product from a great builder. This hasn’t ended my search for my perfect wah, but I’m pretty darn certain there’s something in Kevin’s line that will be "it".

    After playing out with this for two months I believe I want something a little less spongey and w/ some of the bite and filters more like a Crybaby. I'll be getting mine modded or pcb swapped this summer.
    I think his Q wah might be my answer; as it’s the other wah he recommended to me.

    Anyway, If you’re looking for a quality hand made wah, give Kevin Wilson a serous look; I'm positive he'd have something for you.
     
  2. Matt L

    Matt L Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Southern Maine
    Really nice review. I've got Wilson's pedals on my radar now, as he seems to do some really cool stuff.
     
  3. standingzero

    standingzero Member

    Messages:
    613
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Seoul & So Cal
    Yep, I'm pretty happy with it, aside from the mechanical issues mentioned in the review. Talked w/ Kevin and I'm most likely sending it in over summer for a pcb swap and will have him sort out the issues. He's been real accommodating so for.

    Will also try to shoot a comparison video of his wah with a standard crybaby.
     

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