If having a wah pedal isn’t enough, Morley reinvented the concept to include an effect that nearly anyone can appreciate and wants – a Distortion + Wah. Morley also has a Fuzz Wah, for those who can’t quite get enough high-gain wah. The distortion in this pedal works independent of the wah, and so you can have one without the other, if preferred. That makes it diverse and saves pedalboard space, allowing you to crank out the riffs and only occasionally throw in some wah. (FYI: the wah feeds into the distortion when operating both). Or perhaps you like plenty of wah (ahem, Kirk Hammett), but don’t have enough drive in your amp. Regardless of the reason for your gear obsession, the combination works wonderfully and sounds great.
Now, the distortion sound may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but overall, it is about as ideal and archetypical as it comes. It does not sound over-the-top (high-gain modern), yet provides enough bump and grind for classic rock or to add to a high-gain amp to give it added dimension, edge and harmonics for today’s metal. It has a fine-to-medium grain texture. When working with a clean amp, you certainly can crank the distortion without any mud or unruly saturation; and with dirty to high-gain amps a little goes a long way to fatten up a tone – even with the distortion all the way down. If that’s wasn’t enough, you also can control the distortion’s level and tone. Relative to my gear (and I tried it on various amps), the tone seems to sit very nicely between 11 and 1-o’clock, which means there is plenty of range for those unusually dark or bright amps.
The wah is pure Morley bliss and it has a very decent sweep – not as broad as Morley’s Lead Wah (to my ears), but not far behind; and definitely more than Morley’s classic wah. In effect, no pun intended, the wah sweep and growl merges nicely with the distortion… in a traditional, yet slightly more modern approach that is perfect for 2020… and whether playing rhythm or lead. The accompanying demo video provides plenty of insight as to the Distortion Wah’s versatility.
Like the other 20/20 Morley pedals, the pure analog Distortion Wah has an electro-optical design, which means no scratchy pots to wear, but also a solid build of cold-rolled steel and a lifetime warranty (upon registration). Further, it has the Morley custom MQ2 custom inductor, 20/20 Buffer to prevent tone sucking, an LED indicator, and easy-to-see glow-in-the-dark treadle grip and toe-end logo. If you can’t find it on stage, then you may need to ease up on the pre-gig partying. The Distortion Wah operates via one 9V battery (accessible via its quick-clip door) or any 300mA 9VDC (negative tip) power supply. Its smallish footprint, measuring only 6.85” (L) x 4.5” (W) x 2.5” (H) or approximately 17.4 x 11.43 x 6.35 cm, makes it pedalboard friendly, particularly if eliminating another distortion pedal that takes up valuable real estate.
Overall, it is difficult to fault the Distortion Wah, designed for a wide array of amps to meld with any genre of rock. And at $169 USD, the Distortion Wah is a great price, considering you’re getting two fine pedals in one.