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T-Rex Tonebug Sensewah Pedal Review

T-Rex Tonebug Sensewah Pedal Review

The controls on the Sensewah are very simple—two knobs (Sense and Range), a single toggle switch that moves between Wah Wah and Yoy Yoy settings, and an on/off footswitch.

Auto-wahs can inspire confusion among the uninitiated: Hey, where’s the rocker pedal? Why would I relinquish control of my wah to some guitar automaton? In the most basic lay terms, an auto-wah is an envelope filter that detects variation in your attack and initiates upward frequency sweep to produce the wah effect automatically. The louder your input, the higher the position of the frequency sweep—and vice versa. The end result, however, is still recognizable as a wah effect.

T-Rex’s new auto-wah, the Sensewah, is the newest additon to the company’s compact Tonebug line. Each Tonebug unit comes in a retro-hued metal-and-chrome package, and the crimson Sensewah looks like something that might have been snatched from the dashboard of a ’50s Chevy.

The controls on the Sensewah are very simple—two knobs (Sense and Range), a single toggle switch that moves between Wah Wah and Yoy Yoy settings, and an on/off footswitch. The unit is light and sturdy, and the quality that typifies the T-Rex line is evident. The straightforward design also makes it simple and intuitive to access a wide array of tones.

With the Sensewah between my Fender Stratocaster and a ’69 Fender Super Bassman, I set the Sense and Range controls at noon, and the toggle to Wah Wah, which gave me a cool, funky, and steady auto-wah sound right off the bat. Because of the Strat’s lower pickup output, I had to play a bit harder to get a more drastic response from the pedal. But by turning up the Sense knob—which is essentially a sensitivity knob that adjusts responsiveness to your picking— I was able to play with a more natural touch and still fully engage the device’s wah effect.

The Range knob controls the width or narrowness of the envelope and how far the wah effect will sweep. At wide-open settings, the wah will run through the pedal’s full sweep range. At lower settings, your sound will be closer to the darker pedal-up tone you’d get from a standard wah pedal. It was also very easy to dial in my instrument’s output to interact optimally with the Sensewah’s adjustable envelope, and dropping the Strat’s volume not only produces a cool cleaner tone, but a subtler response from the unit.

With the toggle set to Yoy Yoy mode, the Sensewah takes on a significantly different personality through the use of formant-style filters, which have more than just the single EQ curve of a regular wah effect. In the case of the Yoy Yoy setting, there is a higher, more nasal, and resonant curve that follows the lower curve. The result is very vocal in the manner of a talk box, and you can easily generate bizarre, but musically pleasing sounds. Even at its most high-mid focused settings, the pedal remains throaty, full, and expressive. It’s important to remember that because of the high resonance in this mode, you’ll want to make sure to tame extra brightness elsewhere in your signal to keep the pedal from getting too harsh—especially with single-coils and a bright amp.

The Verdict
The Sensewah is about as straightforward as auto-wahs come, and it’s the kind of pedal that can really change the texture of songs you’re playing without taking up a ton of pedalboard room. And if you like the sound of wahs and talk boxes, but don’t like the extent to which you have to manually manipulate those effects, the Sensewah is a sensible solution indeed.
Buy if...
you want the wah effect, but you need your feet free for dancing and kicking.
Skip if...
you need the rocking control of a standard wah pedal.

Street $149 - T-Rex Effects -

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