Area 51 All Options Wah

Updated and improved for 2020!


If you're looking for the one wah to do it all - this is it. The features and tones of this wah have been developed and honed over the past 20 years into the pedal it is today. It all started when I set out to simply duplicate a vintage wah that I really liked. Although not a particularly easy task, I was successful and that pedal ultimately became the Clone Wah. But I started to think, "how could it get better?" And down the rabbit hole I went. Where I ended up was with the original Area 51 Wah. It was louder, meaner, ballsier, and badassier (is that a word?) than anything I'd heard. That also became the Area 51 Drop In Kit. Over the years customers would ask if I could add something to their pedal. "Can you make it do more of this....less of that?" Etc. So gradually I began adding options for controls that we found useful. I would never add something if it took away from the base tone in any way. That has evolved over the years to get us where we are now - the Rev 10a - All Options Wah! It's got all of the basic tones that made the Area 51 Wah great, PLUS some really cool new revisions. And as a bonus - the price is a little lower too.

New for 2020:

Input level/Impedance control - This one lets you dial it down lower for that classic vintage Vox or Thomas Organ tone....or turn up about half way for the standard Area 51 setting which is about unity gain when compared to the bypass signal. Or....turn it up all the way and it drops the impedance so that your wah cleans up with your guitar volume control and you get some of the smoothest, most watery, warbly wah you've ever heard in your life. You've gotta try this!

Selectable Bypass and Buffering System - Over the years I've built a number of custom wahs for players who wanted either a buffered bypass setup or the vintage style bypass. So for this new revision I developed a way that players could have it all in a fairly simple user-selectable setup. This system uses a bank of DIP switches that you can set to get any of the following wiring schemes:

True Bypass (with output buffer off)

True Bypass (with output buffer ON)

Vintage Bypass (output buffer off)

Vintage Bypass (output buffer ON)

Buffered Bypass (output buffer off)

Buffered Bypass (output buffer ON)

Bypass Types - What you should know

True Bypass - This type has become pretty much the standard for effects at present. Very simply, your signal passes directly from input jack to output jack when the effect is bypassed. If you really like your straight into the amp tone - this is the way to go usually.

Vintage Bypass - This is the type of bypass that was used on the vintage wah pedals of old - from the early English, American, and Italian made wahs right up into the 2000s on pedals like the Vox V847. It's also often called "tone suck" bypass. But before you write it off completely - hear me out. If you have an amp that has a lot of treble and attack, vintage bypass can really smooth things out in a nice way. After all, our heroes like Jimi, Eric, Jimmy, SRV, etc ALL used this type of bypass in their wahs. And nobody to my knowledge has accused them of having bad tone.

Buffered Bypass - This is where your bypassed signal goes from the input jack - to a buffer - to the output jack. It converts your signal into a low impedance signal that is far more impervious to things like resistance and capacitance from guitar cables - especially long ones or not-so-great quality ones. It can be useful on a pedal board also - but keep in mind: the buffering only goes until it hits the next device - then, that device becomes responsible for the signal.

This wah also features an output buffer that can be used to drive a fuzz pedal after the wah. Vintage style fuzzes have a low impedance input which is a really important part of their tone. It loads down the passive guitar pickups and helps give it that really fat, round sound. It also is what allows the fuzz to clean up with your guitar volume (something this wah will ALSO do - more on that later) But if you try to run a wah into a fuzz, it won't work well. The fuzz loads down the output of the wah and makes it sound pretty weak - sometimes it will oscillate/squeal. The output buffer lets the signal pass to the fuzz without it loading down the wah. Problem solved. There's also a buffer level control that lets you dial it in so that it prevents the signal from overcompressing (cutting out) at the fuzz input.

Additional features:

  • Cast aluminum chassis with adjustable tension
  • Left side mounted LED - easily visible
  • Q control for adjusting the sharpness of the sweep.
  • Growl control for controlling the gain on the low end.
  • 5 position range control switch - From throaty, to Area 51, to Vintage Italy, to grey vox Zep tone - it's all there!
  • Standard 2.1mm DC Jack with dual filtering and regulation - compatible with pedalboard power supplies and any other "Boss" type 9VDC, center pin negative supply wallwart.
  • REAL old-style switchcraft jacks - chassis mounted (not the board mounted plastic ones - no way!)
  • High quality vintage style carbon composition 100K S-taper (ICAR style) wah pot - this type has the opening, so can be cleaned with deoxit and will last a very long time.
  • Rugged 3PDT footswitch
  • Each pedal individually voiced and tested against a reference for consistency
  • Hand-wound Area 51 inductor
  • Top quality components, selected for tone
  • 100% hand-wired using larger thru-hole components. If it ever needs repair, it CAN be repaired.
  • Handmade in Fremont, Michigan


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