- Brian Johnston
- Posts: 536
- Joined: Aug 2014
Around since 1969, Morley is known for its wah pedals. They have a very distinct ‘whaaah’ quality that isn’t mild and meek like a Cry Baby, but not honking either (at least the few I’ve tried over the years, and the Dragon Wah 2 Mini fits that category). Also, it uses an Electro-Optical Circuitry, which is a ‘light emitting diode’ that shines on a ‘light dependent resistor’ to control the wah, volume and switching. What this means is very smooth pedal operation while reducing any unwanted noise typical with wahs controlled by a ‘pot’ or potentiometer. If you’re familiar with typical wah pot technology, you know there’s that slight scratchy or ‘off’ sound as you press your toe all the way down, along with some line interference noise (particularly when feeding into a distortion or overdrive pedal). The Dragon Wah 2 Mini remains surprisingly quiet while producing very sweet vocal wah tones with a clean amp, but also clearly defined wah tones with higher gain settings. The Dragon 2 Mini wah produces various. First, there is a typical broader sweep wah, which activates only when stepping on the treadle (it is a switchless wah) and is bypassed otherwise or when not in use. Then there is the WOW feature, which produces a shorter sweep in that deeper and middle range (growling) wah zone, which actually sounds like someone saying “WOW.” Next is the Wah Lock feature that allows you to lock into any frequency along the Wah (or WOW) range and then maintains that particular vocal tone while playing. The Volume control increases output with slight gain, but nothing exaggerated (it’s not a 10dB boost, for example). And with all elements considered, this is a super silent wah… no switching (clicking) noises.
The George Lynch Dragon Wah 2 Mini was designed to use less pedal board space, but while offering all the features of the regular sized Dragon Wah 2 (full sweep wah, WOW wah, Wah Lock with Notch selection, and Volume). With only 600 made, its price of $249 USD is typical of a quality buffered wah, but since it uses silent operation electro-optical circuitry (no pots to wear or make noise) you are getting a highly functional and quiet piece of gear that will outlast many other less expensive wahs. Morley has a long-standing reputation in the music industry, since 1969, and I can recall an uncle who used to jam out with nothing more than a fuzz and a wah pedal… a Morley wah. That thing was still around even after 20 years of use and abuse. Consequently, besides sounding great there certainly is a degree of nostalgia in having the Dragon Wah 2 Mini on my board and in my collection.
The Dragon 2 Mini wah remains cocked back with your raw signal running through (absolutely no coloration through this true tone bypass and buffered wah circuit) until in use (and springs back automatically so that you don’t have to full-toe or full-heel click it on or off). The basic wah (set to George Lynch’s preferred tone and sweep) has a generous sweep that does not sound shrill or tinny with toe all the way down (I heard other wahs with a slightly broader sweep, but the most forward position is hardly usable and you try to stay away from it). Stepping onto the WOW switch produces a shorter sweep found in that deep register, which sounds awesome and whether playing raunchy rhythm or throaty leads. The Wah Lock switch keeps the wah tone locked into a particular register, whether using the full wah or the WOW setting. This is determined by turning the Notch knob (no need to step on the treadle to find it) and is ideal when you want that short-range auto-wah type effect. The Volume control is subtle and affects all the wah settings – you can hear the difference whether turned all the way down versus all the way up, but it’s not significant like a 10dB boost, for example. Rather, you hear a slight increase in volume with a slight increase in light gain to help give your tone some edge. The clarity of this wah makes it ideal for both clean and high-gain environments and you will achieve some impressive tones no matter the settings. Hey, if it’s good enough for George Lynch – and it works for guitar, bass and keyboards.
The pedal’s cold rolled steel chassis has yellow and purple zebra stripes (with some Japanese writing for extra mojo) and with quality powder coating. Measuring in at 173.4 mm (L) x 114.3 mm (W) x 63.5 mm (H) or 6.85 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches, the treadle has a glow-in-the-dark non-slip grit finish on its top (for easy viewing on stage), with the Morley name along with a Dragon emblem. Both the WOW and Wah Lock foot switches have a solid click in feel, although silent in the signal when switching on and off. Both Loudness and Notch knobs are smooth and solid when turning. 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 your wah-wah foot. An issue of concern, to prevent damage, is to make certain the proper power supply is used, viz., Morley’s 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 – if that is the case, then opt for a battery. The Dragon Wah 2 Mini only uses 13mA of power, and so a regular Alkaline battery will last quite a while (the battery inserts in the bottom through a ‘quick clip’ battery door) and, as usual, keep your guitar unplugged when not in use to preserve battery life.
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