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Digitech Whammy: The Story Behind One of the Most Popular Guitar Pedals of all Time

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The Digitech Whammy was truly the first of its kind, a pitch bending unit that achieves sonic parameters never before seen or heard on a guitar effects pedal. One of the most popular pedals ever sold to market, the Whammy shows no signs of slowing down, early adopters instantly added its effects to their works and this is prevalent from the late 80’s onwards. Rage Against the Machine, Buckethead and John Scofield are three endorsers of the unit using the pedal in spectacular fashion.    


What does it do?

The Whammy pedal is primarily a pitch shifting unit using the expression pedal to dictate rates of manipulation. Pitch shifters typically combine the workings of an octaver (which adds a synthesised sound one or two octaves higher or lower than the original) sound with pitch bends and harmony shifts. The Whammy digitally produces such sounds in a variety of preset settings and controlled by the foot pedal.

Who uses this pedal?

Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine has been a Whammy delegate for decades, some of his work on the unit is truly astonishing. Check out the track ‘Killing In the Name’ for a lesson in the Whammy expression use. Browse their catalogue to find numerous uses of the pedal in most tracks!

Jazz legend John Scofield  has used this pedal to explore avenues-unheard especially in his track ‘Blackout’.  John uses the pedal for a dissonant approach which leads into a great tension / release outcome.

Virtuoso and ex- Guns & Roses guitarist Buckethead can be heard using the Whammy effect on the track ‘Jordan’. This shot to stardom after appearing on the hit computer game ‘Guitar Hero II’. The unmistakable Whammy tones were shot into homes all over the world with this feature track with millions of people trying to replicate this unique riff.

The Evolution of the Whammy

The Whammy has seen up to five generational updates over the last 30 years. Each update fine-tweaking the unit to hone into sonic Excellency. Recent offerings from Digitech seen the Whammy dissected and the technology used to house single pedal units. The Ricochet, Mosaic, Drop, Bass Whammy and Freqout units can be used individually to further control the Whammy’s ‘out there’ properties.

Digitech Whammy
Digitech Whammy: The Story Behind One of the Most Popular Guitar Pedals of all Time
Tom Morello
Digitech Whammy: The Story Behind One of the Most Popular Guitar Pedals of all Time
John Scofield
Digitech Whammy: The Story Behind One of the Most Popular Guitar Pedals of all Time
Buckethead
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