SOUND:
The 20/20 Wah Lock’s clarity of tone certainly has much to do with the the new 20/20 Buffer, thus keeping the signal clear, tone strong and without any signal loss. The quality of the wah tone certainly is not one-dimensional as there are three different wah modes: Standard, WHOA and Locked (set with the Notch filter knob). The Standard wah mode has an excellent sweeping sound that offers up some depth and high end without sounding muddy or shrill, with a focus on a big mid-range. The WHOA mode produces a more aggressive and gritty version that is deep and thick sounding. The Lock mode can be used with either the Standard or WHOA mode, and requires you to set the Notch filter knob in the position preferred. A typical wah pedal allows you to set the treadle in the position you like, but since the Wah Lock pedal is switchless and spring activated you set the ‘position’ via the Notch knob and then activate via the Wah Lock footswitch. The accompanying video demonstrates this feature.



OVERALL IMPRESSION:
For $169 USD the Wah Lock comes with several features and is Morley’s most versatile switchless optical wah. Some things come standard with this pedal, as with any of their latest wah offerings, such as cold rolled steel housing, the new 20/20 Buffer, the MQ2 custom inductor and glow-in-the-dark treadle and toe-plate end. What takes the Wah Lock into an entirely different realm is that it offers three different modes of operation: Standard, WHOA and Wah Lock. Standard mode is a full-midrange wah, whereas the WHOA mode (engaged via a footswitch) offers a grittier wah with more pronounced vocal overtones. And rather than cock the treadle and hope for the right locked wah sound, you set it via the Notch filter knob and engage the Wah Lock mode when ready and by way of a simple footswitch. If that wasn’t enough, you also get upward of a 20dB boost via the Loud knob, easy enough to adjust with a turn of a foot. You can power the Wah Lock with a 300mA 9VDC power supply or a 9V battery (through the quick clip battery door). Morley is super proud of its gear robustness and even offers a lifetime warranty when you register online.

GENERAL USE:
There are three different wah modes. For a standard or traditional mode, the WHOA and Wah Lock LEDs should be off and unlit. The wah’s treadle is spring loaded, which means the pedal is switchless (with no added pops or noise as a result) and you will need to step and press the treadle to engage the wah effect. Keeping your foot off the treadle or cocked back fully both disengages the wah effect. As with any wah, tipping back the treadle produces a lower frequency filter, whereas pushing the treadle forward produces a higher frequency filter. The WHOA function is a more aggressive, grittier, thicker and deeper sounding wah. This is activated by pressing the WHOA switch along the left side of the pedal and using the treadle as usual. Now, since this is a switchless wah, it is spring loaded and always returns the treadle to a heel-back position when not in use. Consequently, in order to ‘position’ the treadle for a locked wah sound you do so by way of the Notch filter knob (and by engaging the Wah Lock footswitch on the right side of the pedal). Turning the Notch knob counterclockwise produces a deeper filter sound, whereas clockwise produces a higher filter sound.

OTHER DETAILS:
The Wah Lock measures 173.4 mm (L) x 114.3 mm (W) x 63.5 mm (H) or 6.85 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches. With a powder coated orange chassis made from cold rolled steel, its black treadle has a glow-in-the-dark non-slip grit finish on its top and ends (for easy viewing in dark areas). Both the WHOA and Wah Lock foot switches have a solid click in feel, although silent in the signal when switching on and off. Both Loud and Notch knobs are smooth and solid when turned. All switches and knobs are below the level of the treadle, to prevent accidental switching on/off or damage. The guitar input and output, as well as the power output, are located toward the front ends of the pedal, which keeps them far removed from a stomping foot. The Wah Lock pedal does require a 9VDC 300mA regulated adapter with a negative center pin polarity – an improper adapter will cause some low frequency hum in your amp, but also could damage the pedal. Another option is to use a 9V battery, which inserts via the quick clip battery door in the bottom of the pedal. A regular alkaline battery is best for longevity, although you do need to unplug your guitar unplug when not in use to preserve battery life.