Ratings

Pros:
Compact, smartly sized footprint. Sweet sweep. Switchless operation.

Cons:
No independent boost switch. Spring-loaded pedal makes set-and-forget parked-wah sounds difficult.

Street:
$159

Morley 20/20 Wah Boost
morleyproducts.com


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Morley’s original chrome optical wahs were amazing pedals. Not only were they beautiful (and freaking big), they produced some pretty fantastic tones. I used an original Power Wah Boost for a long time. The optical wah was super-easy to control and had a long throw that made really precise colorations possible. The boost, meanwhile, was amp-bustingly monstrous. The new Morley 20/20 Wah Boost re-imagines the Power Wah Boost as a more compact pedal, but it makes a few design trade-offs that affect its versatility. It lacks the original's independent boost bypass switch, but makes activating the boost and wah together an easier one-step process. The spring-loaded treadle also makes holding fixed wah positions difficult. Still, it is a potent and expressive filtering machine.

The new Morley 20/20 Wah Boost re-imagines the Power Wah Boost as a more compact pedal.

If you’ve never used a Morley wah before, they are a joy. The treadle sweep is longer, with a more tapered filter curve than the average Cry Baby or Vox, and the optical circuit tends to produce more vocal, vowel-y filter sweeps. It’s a nice, if subtle, shift from classic, canonical wah tones. When used with a twitchy toe, it produces tones much closer to an envelope filter. And while the 20 dB boost cannot be operated independently of the wah, its ability to foreground the wah’s lovely tones for a solo—or tuck it in the background for softer passages—makes this mini-Morley a deceptively big bag of tricks.

Test Gear: Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Telecaster, blackface Fender Vibrolux, Fender VibroChamp