What's the Best Wah Pedal for Metal? (my top pick)
Morley Bad Horsie Contour Wah
I almost always recommend switchless wah pedals, which has been Morley's thing for a lot of years. I got my first Bad Horsie back when I was 16, and it lasted for 20 years before finally having noise and crackling issues. Personally, I cannot go back to a bypass switch wah pedal, so I'd recommend the Bad Horsie for metal and just about any other genre.
The Morley Bad Horsie wah series has always had an aggressive cut and sweep that played really well with metal tones. But the main reason I like it for metal is that you can quickly engage it simply by stepping on it and pushing forward or back. This is called a "switchless" wah design, and it's incredibly helpful when you're playing in quicker-paced styles like modern rock and metal. For what it's worth, this is Steve Vai's signature wah pedal series that has been in production for a very long time.
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Compare the Morley Bad Horsie to Similar Wah Pedals
You can compare the Morley Bad Horsie Contour wah here to a few other similar wah pedals.
Morley Bad Horsie Contour Wah
Dunlop Cry Baby GCB95
Morley 20/20 Wah
VOX Classic Wah
We've put together some live pricing tables for the Morley Bad Horsie wah pedal. Note that the alert and history section follows the lowest price from all the vendors listed.
Pricing from Major Vendors
Price History for Morley 20/20 Bad Horsie Wah Effects Pedal
|Current Price||$170.10||December 6, 2023|
|Highest Price||$189.00||November 8, 2023|
|Lowest Price||$170.10||November 29, 2023|
Last price changes
|$170.10||November 29, 2023|
|$189.00||November 8, 2023|
Other Versions of the Bad Horsie
There are several other versions of the Bad Horsie, and I'm okay with all of them for metal, and generally for hard rock styles, as long as they're switchless. You'll see plenty of used listings for the original Bad Horsie and Bad Horsie 2, but the Contour and 20/20 wah are the two current models.
Features We Like
With a wah pedal, it's all about the harshness of the cut. Some of them sound smoother, while others are a little more harsh. For metal, I like the harsher, more aggressive sound, but with the contour controls on the Bad Horsie you can tweak it pretty much however you'd like.
We've already talked about the switchless feature (a lot) so I'll shut up about that.
Another awesome feature is how the pedal kicks back on its own, which means if you let your foot off, it'll go back to the off position. This lets you hold positions really easily, like that sweet spot where it's perfectly in the middle of the swell. I used that a ton with my original Bad Horsie.
It just makes the back and forth movement and operation of the pedal a lot smoother.
You can hear me using the Bad Horsie wah in this cover of "Greed" by Godsmack, particularly during the solo:
BEST FOR: Metal, hard rock, harsher solo tones, easy use, playing live, switchless wah fans
We leave these rating boxes empty if we have not yet done a single-product review
- Two contour controls
- Switchless operation is awesome
- Easy to sustain specific wah positions
- Very sturdy
- Good price point
- None for the price
Is there a drop in tone quality with a switchless wah pedal?
I've used the Morley wah pedals and the Dunlop Cry Baby wah (I think the 535Q) and I've always thought the Morley wahs sounded better. At no point did I feel like I was getting an inferior tone with the Bad Horsie. In fact, it sounded better to my ears, but it's also true that this is a pretty subjective matter. Most $200 wah pedals will (and should) sound really nice, whether they're switchless or not.
What are some other brands to consider?
Aside from Morley, I would checkout the Dunlop Cry Baby wahs, especially the signature series. The VOX Classic wah is another one you could look at. But generally, Morley and Dunlop have a heavy grip on the wah pedal market.
As always, these recommendations are based on my experience, which means you've got to take the information and decide what will work best for you.
And while I've found the Morley Bad Horsie works really well for metal styles, most wah pedals can fit into a wide range of genres, because the technology is fairly simple. All you're doing is quickly manipulating the tone, and there are only so many different ways you can do that.
So don't overthink it, but also feel free to ask questions via the comments section below. We'll see you there.
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