Wah pedals come in a variety of sizes and textures, so finding one that checks all the boxes can be difficult. Based on the iconic Clyde McCoy wahs of the late 1960s, the Xotic XW-1 Lake Placid Blue Limited Edition is where the technology of the past meets the present.
With external controls for Bias, Wah-Q, Treble, and Bass, users get a range of sounds that can be swapped on the fly. Wah-Q affects the width of the filtered sounds, while Treble and Bass can add or cut 15dBs, customizable for any rig. Inside the pedal are more tone-shaping options that can alter gain to +6dB using internal DIP switches. The treadle has a self-lubricating nylon bushing pivot for smooth, quiet operation, and rocker tension is adjustable. The red LED indicator and 9-volt negative-center adapter are a nice touch. Twenty percent smaller than standard wahs, the XW-1 takes up less space and is wired true-bypass.
Paired with a Strat and Les Paul running through a Marshall DSL40 and Fender Deluxe Reverb, the pedal offered clean, transparent, and boost-free wah colors for funk, easily morphing into grittier territory with thicker bass response and a range of gainy, boosted tones for hard rock. Best of all, though, is how the XW-1 displays a love connection with a variety of overdrives, distortion, and fuzz pedals.
This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.