|Jimi Hendrix's Clyde McCoy Wah which sold for over $11,000 at a recent auction.|
Who is Clyde McCoy and why is this Wah pedal so sought after?
"Clyde McCoy was a jazz Trumpet player ... who developed a signature "wah-wah" sound in the late 1920s by fluttering a Harmon mute in the bell of his trumpet. In 1967, this distinctive sound was replicated for electric guitar with the introduction of the Vox Clyde McCoy Wah-Wah Pedal, the most significant guitar effect of its time. The Wah-wah pedal was invented by a young engineer named Brad Plunkett, who worked for the Thomas Organ Company, Vox/JMI’s U.S. counterpart. The wah circuit basically sprang from the 3-position midrange voicing function used on the Vox Super Beatle amplifier.
Vox cleverly packaged the circuit into an enclosure with a rocker pedal attached to the pot (which controlled the frequency of the resonant peak) and named the new device after Clyde McCoy. Early versions of the Clyde McCoy pedal featured an image of McCoy on the bottom panel, which soon gave way to his signature only before Thomas Organ changed the name of the pedal to Cry Baby. Thomas Organ’s failure to trademark the Cry Baby name soon led to the market being flooded with Cry Baby imitations from various parts of the world, including Italy, where the McCoy pedals were originally made."
Ok, so they were the first wah-wah pedals ever made but that doesn't explain why everyone wants one. Well, Jimi Hendrix, the man who is probably most associated with a wah pedal, used one - that's why everyone wants one.
|The insides of the Clyde McCoy Wah.|
So, let's check out the schematic of the original Vox Clyde McCoy and compare it to the standard Cry Baby model (although it's noted as a Jimi Hendrix model it's just the same as a standard Cry Baby model) wah;
Going back to the gutshot of the Clyde McCoy wah there are a few further things we need to take note of before we look to construct a replica;
- The capacitors are old "tropical fish" style caps, many people believe these caps have their own sound and contribute to the character of the original Vox Clyde McCoy.
- The wah inductor - it's known as a "Halo" style inductor (due to it's ring type shape). There are many people who build replicas of these inductors, one of the best comes from arteffect in Israel.