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Have you heard a difference swapping wah inductors?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by bluesholyman, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    Ok, so from everything I can tell, swapping wah inductors does little to nothing and it does everything to change the sound o_O

    There is even a video by Wampler pretty much debunking any noticeable change between the Cry Baby's stock and a Halo inductor (included for your debunking enjoyment.) I am curious if people have done it and heard a difference. I know there are mod kits, but if anything else gets replaced but the footswitch and the inductor, a change would be expected.

    I guess I am specifically asking about a Red Fasel vs Halo with what I am thinking about doing, but share your experience if you have seen aliens....uh, I mean heard a difference....or not.

     
  2. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    Steve at Angela seemed to think so---he sold all kinds of NOS inductors back in the day. Fasel, red, yellow, stack o' dimes, TDK, El Rad...I have a Dearmond 1800 with the El Rad and it does the job. I had a cheapo Japanese wah years ago that was the funkiest greasiest wah I've ever heard. Wish I could find one of those again...
     
  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think Steve was simply responding to market demand.

    In the early 80s the TDK inductor in my Thomas Organ Crybaby want tango uniform and I sent a letter to Dunlop asking for a replacement part and what the cost would be. A week later a stack o' dimes inductor arrived in the mail, free of charge. I soldered it in and noticed no difference in the sound or sweep of the pedal.

    Ever since then I've been a fan of Jim Dunlop. They stood behind a product they didn't even make (it was made before they owned the Crybaby name).
     
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  4. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Afflicted

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    Definitely yes, no question. In my Vox v847, I wired up a red and yellow fasel on a switch so I could A/B them, and the difference was easy to hear. It was over ten years ago, but as I recall the red was more hifi and scooped sounding while the yellow had a midrange grit to it.

    I've never messed with a Halo, so I can't help there. A/B tests are frequently very interesting.
     
  5. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

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    like most things, it is complicated. the first thing to consider is price ... by far the most expensive single part I've purchased for any pedal was a wah inductor ... I don't think it will make your wah sound $20 - $50+ better on its own

    now ... my tuned up diy wah vs the original gcb-95 rev f that it started life as, you definitely know where the money went
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  6. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    I swapped out the TDK inductor on my Thomas Organ Co. wah with a Red Fasel, no real difference!
     
  7. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

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    Wahs are of course known to make a talking/speech sound.

    The problem is that those midrange frequencies at which they operate really play tricks with our ears so it's very hard to decern differences or verify sonic changes from component swap outs. The way humans perceive sound and the way our ears work at these speech-senstive frequencies will get in the way of judging objectively. Add some high volume to the mix and it's even more complicated.

    Sound on Sound have a good article:
    https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/how-ear-works

    However, the transistors in a Wah will affect gain and there are some other resistors that will change the sound a bit.

    Physically moving the pot changes the sweep.

    If the new inductor had a diffent value/wind, or was potted differenly (or not potted) compared to the orginal part then on paper it would change some chararcteristics of the sound -- whether you could hear it is something else.

    Wahs are great things to mod though. I have done quite a lot to my GCB-95 over the last decade but nothing was more noticelable than putting a true bypass mod into it. The LED mod is also very helpful on a big pedal board.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  8. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    I have trouble even hearing differences in WAH's. I know an 847 is supposed to be different from an 845 and different again from the same vintage Crybaby, but they all sound the same to me.
     
  9. Alcee

    Alcee TDPRI Member

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    I can tell the difference when playing alone, in my studio. However, like so many other improvements in tone, the change is negligible once the drummer starts bashing those damned cymbals.

    I hear the most change when using two inductors in series, which results in a change in the value of the induction the circuit sees (like what happens with the Arteffects Utiliwah).

    IME, changing several resistor values and upgrading the caps produces more change.

    Admittedly, the wahs I flip sell faster with fish caps, carbon composite resistors, and an "improved" inductor. On the other hand, I have a Thomas Organ wah that is all original, not even modded for true bypass, which sounds really good when pushed with a couple of gnarly, rambunctious fuzz boxes I have. In that case the "tone suck" works just fine.
     
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  10. fraser

    fraser Tele-Afflicted

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    I think of all the components on a wahs pcb, the inductor makes the least difference.

    i mod my wahs with lower gain transistors, and a few resistor value changes. Sometimes different caps.

    but i dont mess with inductors.

    i used a cheap transformer as an inductor in a clyde mccoy wah build.
    Sounds just like my mccoy modded crybaby.
     
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  11. Grenville

    Grenville TDPRI Member

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    The mods via the Castledine website make quite a difference, changing resistor values and such.

    Took my old Vox V847 from pretty good to classic old-school Hendrix/Cream howl with a couple of bucks or less of components.

    The true-bypass mod is a big improvement too.

    I did change inductors from the stock black one. Red Fasel was ok, Whipple really good, but really, the resistor changes via Castledine are going to have more impact.

    I currently have a Chase Tone 'stack of dimes' inductor in one wah and an Arteffect 'stack of halos' in another, both good.
     
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  12. Grenville

    Grenville TDPRI Member

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    Having commented already, I just watched the Wampler video you linked.

    FWIW, I've never had or used a Crybaby with as pronounced a vowel sound as he uses as his stock tone with overdrive here, every one I've tried has been very wimpy in comparison.

    When I bought my first Vox V847 20 years ago, it sounded much closer to the classic 60's sound we know from all the classic rock records.

    When I did the Casteldine mods, I was like "THAT'S IT!!!", very happy with the results.

    https://www.wah-wah.co.uk/diy.html

    On the other hand, if Dunlop are making Crybaby's that sound like the one Brian Wampler uses in the video, any resistor mods may or may not make as satisfying a difference to you.

    Or maybe it's his Revv G3 overdrive making the difference?
     
  13. Ziggy587

    Ziggy587 Tele-Meister

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    One very important thing to note (pretend this is in all caps, I just find that very annoying) is that the same wah can sound completely different depending on the guitar, amp, and amp EQ settings. Inductors can sound different, but there's two important things to note. One, they're never going to sound radically different. The difference may be extremely subtle. And two, the difference may not be apparent because of the particular guitar, amp, and EQ you're using. This is even more true if the difference was only subtle to begin with.

    That said, it's also true that different inductors can sound identical! If a stock inductor, a Halo and a Red Fasel all sound the same then it might be that it's because they're all the same spec (I'm assuming they are, I haven't checked - and if they are different spec then they're not different enough to make a difference) and the stock inductors aren't garbage like some people make them out to be. If you replaced the stock 0.022uF cap on your tone control with a "better" 0.022uF cap, you may not hear any difference at all.

    But you have to set your expectations. If your replace the inductor with another of the same specs you might not hear any distinguishable difference. But keep in mind that if you use an inductor that DOES sound different, that difference isn't ever going to be super radical. Your wah will still sound more or less the same, just slightly tweaked.

    I have a Cry Baby GCB95 that I've added a switch on to select between a red or yellow Fasel inductor. And I can tell you, there is definitely a noticeable difference between the two of them! Again, it's not a super dramatic night and day difference, but it is very noticeable. The red Fasel sounds more or less like the stock wah, and the yellow Fasel is definitely more treblely and perhaps thinner. There's enough difference that it's apparent when you A/B them. Moreover, when I engage the switch there's a pop. When I have the wah on and heel down, that pop has a different frequency depending on which inductor is selected. If I were to assign a note to the pops, the yellow inductor is a few steps higher than the red.

    Some years after I modded that first wah, for some reason I decided to put a red Fasel inductor one of my other GCB95s. But I noticed a difference. The new red Fasel was a slightly darker red than my old red Fasel. I'm talking about the appearance of them, the plastic was slightly darker in color. And when I A/B tested them, the newer (darker red) one is bassier than the older one. On the same wah pedal, heel down has way more bass than the other inductor. It's a clear night and day difference. I actually don't like the new red Fasel with more bass, I think it sounds awful. I think this is hilarious when a stock inductor sound the same as an expensive one, but yet I have two inductors that are suppose to sound identical but actually sound very different!

    So to sum up the point I'm trying to make... Yes, there is some snake oil. You can't expect to replace the stock inductor with a Halo or red Fasel and have it magically transform your wah. Most likely there will be no noticeable difference. But that's not to say that two inductors can't make your wah sound different, it just depends which two your comparing.
     
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