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If you’re a lead guitar player, there’s a high chance you just can’t go without a wah pedal in your signal chain. There is just something about wah-wahs that provides you with more expressiveness and makes your guitar sound closer to a singing voice.
Ever since the first wah pedals back in the mid-1960s and all the way to now, the effect has been used by some of the biggest names of the guitar world. Talking about expressiveness and guitar, there’s one musician that stands out – Mr. Steve Vai. In order to further enhance his unique soloing abilities, Vai uses wah pedals.
He’s been known for the classic Dunlop Cry Baby but he also developed his own signature pedals with Morley called Bad Horsie and Bad Horsie 2. Here, we will be going into some details of the Morley Bad Horsie 2 wah pedal.
Bad Horsie 2 is the continuation of Vai’s first model with Morley. It’s in the same kind of casing with certain controls and features added.
What’s special about this wah is that there’s no need for toe click action needed for turning it on. The whole idea here was to have it engaged or turned off using the so-called “switchless operation” ñ you just step on it and works. When you’re done with your wah parts, you just remove your foot from the pedal and it’s off.
Another feature that makes it stand out from most of the wahs out there is that you can use it in two modes ñ standard and contour. The standard mode is essentially Steve Vai’s classic sound, with his kind of depth and sweep.
The contour mode, which is engaged with a separate switch, allows you to tweak the frequency and the output level of the pedal. This is controlled with two knobs – contour and level.
The pedal can be powered either with a 9-volt battery or a 9 volt AC adapter. The manual recommends using Morley’s adapters, but all the manufacturers usually recommend their own power supplies to go with the pedals.
You can easily use it with any compatible adapter or pedalboard based supply. Just make sure that it’s a good working one.
We should also add that it works on 300mA which is usually way more than the other pedals you’ll have in the signal chain. If you’re planning to get this one, make sure that your pedalboard’s power supply has enough power for it. Otherwise, you’ll have to either have a separate adapter or run it on a battery.
It features a standard configuration with one input and one output. It should also be noted that Morley Bad Horsie 2 has a true bypass, which means that the signal goes through the pedal unaltered.
As mentioned, Morley Bad Horsie 2 has pretty much the same housing as its predecessor. There is also the mini version of the pedal, which is not only smaller in size but has a different and rather interesting paint job. In case you want to have a colorful and a compact pedal at your disposal, this one is a good option. Just bear in mind that it’s more expensive than the regular version.
Overall, it looks good and it’s a well-built one, so you will most likely have no issues with it. The only downside may be that it’s larger than the standard wah size most of the players are used to, like those from Vox or Dunlop, so it will take a bit more space on your pedalboard.
If you are a wah user, you know that one of the most important features is to have good control over the pedal. This being a quality built one, you’ll have no issues with the standard performance.
You should just know that Bad Horsie 2 is spring loaded and it always goes back to the up (or closed) position. That might be a let-down for some players who want to keep the pedal in one position as they would constantly need to hold their foot on it locked at the desired position.
Sonically-wise, we could call this one as more of a “mid-range” wah. It has a good attack and it adds some sweetness to the tone, but it still keeps the low end and doesn’t make your guitar sound thinner.
And another thing ñ by its default setting, the wah doesn’t turn off right away when you remove the foot from the pedal. There is a brief delay and it stays on for a few moments.
This can be adjusted, but it requires you to open the casing of the pedal and mess around with some of the controls inside. It’s not impossible to do it on your own, you just need to be extremely careful not to damage anything inside.
You’ll need to remove all the screws, remove the lid of the battery cover, and then put your fingers inside and carefully pull the whole bottom end of the casing.
Inside you will find a small control saying “wah off delay” that can be adjusted with a small blade-type screwdriver. In case you’re not experienced or confident doing this on your own, we advise you to seek professional help and not do it by yourself. When set on the minimum setting, the wah turns off almost instantly.
Also, guitarists do tend to be picky when it comes to the type of wah sound, so the best option +would be to try it out yourself or at least go through some demos online.
Although it is a good pedal, it might not be what you’re seeking for. The same goes for any other quality wah out there. It does not make it “better” or “worse”, it’s just different.
The contour option can be pretty useful as it not only gives you more sonic options but also can provide you with additional volume boost for lead parts when engaged.
Overall, Bad Horsie 2 is a quality wah pedal and it’s worth the price with all the features that it has. There were, however, some players who complained about using the pedal on bright sunlight. We didn’t get the chance to try it outdoors on a hot summer day, but make sure to do proper research online if you want to use it in such a setting.