Music is eternal: as John Cage has rightly pointed out that, ‘There is noise, only sound’.  If we try to understand the physics behind any music, it will all lead to the conclusion that music is nothing but some vibrations at rhythmic frequencies that produce a pleasing effect when being listened to. The way these vibrations are produced can be different, for example, wind, percussion, string, vocal, etc.

Guitars as a string instrument

Carrying on with the above discussion about the types of vibrations being produced to conjure the sounds that would compose to be music, string instruments are one of the most common instruments used by musicians. The concept behind producing music using strings is quite easy and simple. 

When a wire of certain thickness is fastened between two points using a specific tension, and then strummed at regular intervals, it produces a tone thus constituting music. Now imagine multiple such strings being strummed over, and ET. Voila, you have a stringed instrument’s musical performance.

The guitar is one such stringed musical instrument that is quite popular. Needless to mention, this instrument has its varied types according to the genre of music it is played like, acoustic, classical, flat tops, twelve strings, resonator, etc. A guitar is capable of producing varied kinds of rhythm or harmonies, thus making it a versatile instrument in music. It can be used in almost all genres of music ranging from classical to rock, indie, etc.

Wah Pedal: Is it a necessary accessory?

Accessories are an essential part of any musical instrument. The primary aims of these accessories can be broadly divided into two categories:

  • To aid the musician for an easy playing experience
  • To enhance the musical experience of the listener as well as the performer

One such essential and interesting accessory is the wah pedal AKA the wah-wah pedal. It is an effect pedal or unit attached to a guitar, which alters the type of sound effect that the guitar would produce when the guitar is played. The sound effect is achieved with the aid of audio signal processing. A wah pedal was essentially devised to imitate the crying effect of a muted trumpet, to enhance the musical performance.

However, legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, and Eric Clapton used this pedal and made the guitar performance reach new heights. The name wah-wah comes from the onomatopoeic human baby crying sound. However, this pedal is capable of producing far more variety of sound effects to make the musical performance and experience far more enjoyable.

Operating a wah pedal needs a bit of hand-foot coordination and happens seamlessly only when the musician is a seasoned guitarist. It is because as the name suggests, a wah pedal is operated by a guitarist’s foot. The pedal is usually seen in effect during an extended solo performance. 

The most common use is the funk-styled ‘wacka wacka’ effect in metal or rock performances. Nowadays, a better version of wah effects known as auto-wah is also coming along in guitarists’ performances.