Readers of this blog should be aware by now of my love/hate relationship with Manual Wah pedals as I’ve often shared opinions on those. I’ve generally been a fan of Dunlop’s Mini CryBaby Wahs and acquired each of the CBM95 and CBM535Q Minis as and when they were released. I however had issues with those as most do - no indicator light initially - so often finding the signal-chain sounding decidedly odd as I forgot to switch off the wah at the end of the previous day’s session. There was also the constant need to return the treadle / rocker back to its starting position on the opposite side of the on/off switch - so there were always some unwanted frustrations with using manual Wah pedals and instead I took to using Auto-Wah / envelope filters - first with my Mu-Tron Micro-Tron III, and most recently with my Dr Scientist Dusk Dynamic Filter which I’m a huge fan of.
More recently however I wrote a rig review of Mikey ’Skindred’ Demus’s pedalboard - and I recalled his excellent Birmingham Guitar Show live performance where his Wah flourishes in several of the Skindred signature songs - just sounded fantastic. I made a note that I should explore bringing the manual wah’s back into play - but was conscious of all the issues I had previously had with those.
Fast forward to today then - and Dunlop has released the perfect solution for all my needs. The CBM535AR Mini is essentially a reworked version of the CBM535Q - with the same 4-mode Frequency Range selector, Q-Bandwidth Adjust control, Boost switch - and corresponding Boost/Volume level knob. Added to that we of course have the visible indicator LED - but even more critically - we have a Morley Wah style functionality where you don’t have to press an on/off fooswitch before you can apply the way - here the Wah activates as soon as you touch the treadle. Press down to activate, and release your foot and the Treadle springs back and switches the effect off simultaneously.
This is really everything I’ve been waiting for - and of course includes the usual core Dunlop Red Fasel Inductor. And the pricing seems to be held at the same level as the previous CBM535Q or at $150/£150. Dunlop has a habit of announcing things a little before they hit the dealers - particularly those in the UK - so I would be very surprised if we weren’t considerably into August before these became generally available.
I will be deploying this when it arrives - in rotation on my #4 pedal-chain slot - alternating with the Dr Scientist Dusk - for when I’m feeling inspired and not too lazy to use the manual approach.
There don’t seem to be any demos out yet - so for now I will simply rely on a previous CBM535Q one - and will of course add in the relevant CBM535AR ones as soon as they materialise.
As always - I’ve tried in my visual to depict all the benefits inherent with this particular Wah pedal - I hope you find it useful!