The new Cry Baby for bassists proves big, tasty wah sounds can be tapped from a mighty small pedal.
Clip 1 - Bass in passive mode. Neck pickup soloed.
Clip 2 - Bass in active mode. Pickups blended with slight bass and mid boost.
If you watch John Bohlinger’s recent Rig Rundown with Tim Commerford, you’ll enjoy a lengthy conversation about the raging bassist’s pedals. At the front of Commerford’s effects board is a white wah pedal that, as he puts it, “looks like it’s made for a baby’s foot.” Humor aside, the pedal in question is no child’s toy. It’s the latest addition to Dunlop’s Cry Baby family, called the Mini Bass Wah. And it contains useful features for bassists that are packaged into a frame about half the size of a conventional Cry Baby. Bassists from Bootsy Collins to Cliff Burton have used wah pedals to add articulations and unique textures to their bass lines, so I was excited to see if the Mini Bass Wah would continue or improve on tradition.
A Brand New Rocker
The wah effect on a Cry Baby is typically activated by stomping on a switch located under the toe of the foot control. In lieu of tradition, the Mini Bass Wah employs a spring-loaded rocker pedal and silent auto-return switching technology. This system instantly engages the wah as the rocker control is depressed.
When the foot raises off the pedal, the rocker automatically returns to an upward position—bypassing the wah effect. Dunlop also utilizes this technology in the full-size 105Q Bass Wah and a minority of other Cry Baby models.
The Mini Bass Wah contains similar circuitry to the 105Q, and the side of the aluminum chassis has two knobs. The volume control allows a player to balance the sound level when the effect is engaged, while the neighboring Q control adjusts the width of the wah frequencies. Higher Q settings deliver dramatic sweeps by enhancing brighter frequencies and vocal-like qualities. Lower settings are darker, with subtle filtering.
Dunlop’s auto-return delay control is a welcome feature. This dial inside the Mini Bass Wah determines how long the wah effect rings out after being disengaged. Proper setting of the control creates near-seamless transitions from the effected and native signal.
While exploring the Mini Bass Wah at home, my signal chain consisted of a Ritter R8 5-string plugged into the Cry Baby, and then into a Bergantino B|Amp paired with a Bergantino HD112. Keeping the pedal in its factory setting, I set the Ritter to passive mode and balanced the effect with the volume control. Within seconds, the Mini Bass Wah inspired funky, filtered sweeps and wacky wah-laden warbles. However, I found the auto-return switching to be a little touchy as it briefly interrupted the signal with a split second of silence. This is where the auto-return delay control is a big benefit. I simply opened the bottom plate and adjusted the rotary control so the effect would ring out enough to create a smoother transition from effect to bypass mode.
I began to get comfortable with the nuances of the Mini Bass Wah over time, similar to someone getting used to a clutch on a manual transmission. Rocking the pedal up and down, I adjusted the Q control to a width that leaned towards brighter sounds, which allowed me to strum sharp, rhythmic wacks or slow, enveloping wahs.
Once I felt familiar with the pedal, it was time to take it to the stage for a soul gig. I again connected the Ritter bass/Dunlop duo to a Bergantino B|Amp and paired it with Bergantino HD210 and HD112 cabinets. I pushed the Q control to almost maximum for brighter sweeps and balanced the volume for level consistency—ideal settings for shaping the bass lines for classic R&B and soul. During Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” I soloed the neck pickup and stomped the Mini Bass Wah to the beat of the pulsing quarter-note bass line. The responsive, spring-loaded pedal gave the notes an accented, textured timbre that made the familiar passage even funkier. With the Ritter’s pickups balanced, I coordinated the pedal with slaps and pops over Cheryl Lynn’s “Got to Be Real.” As on the Stevie Wonder tune, the pedal’s sweeping filter gave the lively bass line a vocal quality—rife with blossoming wahs. The expressive Mini Bass Wah had become so easy to use, I found myself adding some of its flavor on nearly every tune in the three-hour show. Excessive? Indeed. But this pedal is pretty damned fun.
Dunlop has developed another welcome addition to the Cry Baby series for bassists. Its small footprint minimizes space on a pedalboard and it boasts features that will reward professionals to novices with pleasing tonal shaping and cool textures. If you’re looking to jump into the world of wah—or are already savvy and curious to audition a pedal that deviates from traditional wah design—make sure the Dunlop Mini Bass Wah is on your must-try list.
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Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
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The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
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Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
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The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
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Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.