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The Whammy pedal is a pitch-shifter pedal manufactured by DigiTech. The Whammy was the first widely known effects pedal that could do foot controlled pitch shifting effects. The pedal emulates sounds that a guitarist normally makes using the vibrato ("whammy") bar on the guitar, but with a greatly enhanced pitch range and without tuning hassles associated with traditional vibrato bars.
|Dates||1989 – 1991 (IVL Technologies)|
1991 – present
|Polyphony||supported (on Whammy DT & V)|
|Filter||1 wah-wah (on XP-100)|
|Pedal control||Expression pedal for pitch bend|
|External control||MIDI I/O (on Whammy IV) for pitch bend via CC|
Pitch shifters typically combine the workings of an octaver (which adds a synthesized 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 adds expression control by the foot pedal. A noteworthy user of the Whammy is Tom Morello, who with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave used the Whammy to create otherwise impossible effects. Besides Morello, Dimebag Darrell, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Jack White of The White Stripes are often mentioned as expert users. David Gilmour has been using one since his Pink Floyd song Marooned (instrumental) (The Division Bell, 1994). Noel Gallagher of Oasis has also been seen using a Whammy IV in his pedalboard for the Dig Out Your Soul tour in 2008-2009. Recently Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine is also known to use two Whammy IV pedals whIle on tour for the album MBV. The Whammy is popular among heavy metal guitarists, with guitarists such as Virus of the bands Dope and Device, and Mikey Demus of the band Skindred using it to great lengths in both their riffs and solos alike. Other users include Jimmy Page and Page Hamilton.
DigiTech WH-1 WhammyEdit
The WH-1 Whammy pedal, the original whammy, was first engineered and manufactured in 1989 by IVL Technologies and discontinued in 1993.
It is controlled by a pedal for the pitch, and a single rotary knob that selects from 16 presets—five Whammy effects, nine Harmony effects, and two Detune effects.
DigiTech Whammy IIEdit
The DigiTech Whammy II featured a black chassis (in contrast with the series' now famous 'Ferrari red' colour).
It is controlled by an expression pedal and a button which selects the settings, which are nearly the same as the WH-1. It also has the ability to store one preset setting, which allows the user to choose any two modes and toggle between them using the setting select button.
DigiTech XP-100 Whammy-WahEdit
The XP-100 Whammy/Wah was more complex, incorporating both whammy and wah-wah possibilities.
It is controlled by a rocker, and a button which selects the 29 different presets; "Volume" effect, five "Wah-Wah" effects, six "Auto Wah" effects, eight "Whammy" effects, and nine "Harmony" effects.
DigiTech Bass WhammyEdit
The Bass Whammy is a Whammy pedal built for bass guitar. Originally released alongside the Whammy II, it was built in the same chassis but in a deep blue color. It also featured a different set of shift and harmony options, more appropriate for use with a bass instrument. Since the original Bass Whammy has been discontinued, they are now known to fetch very high prices on the used market.
DigiTech re-released the Bass Whammy at the 2014 Winter NAMM show. Housed in the same chassis as the DigiTech Whammy V, but again in blue, it also features the new classic/chords switch and true-bypass switching. Like the original, it is equipped with a unique set of shift and harmony options more appropriate for bass.
DigiTech Whammy IVEdit
The Whammy IV; the fourth edition, is closer to the WH-1 in terms of design but with several additional features, such as MIDI control and a 'Dive bomb' feature.
DigiTech Whammy DTEdit
The Whammy DT; the fifth edition (released in 2011), is the first Whammy model to use polyphonic pitch shifting as well as a host of new features including true-bypass.
The controls are similar to the controls on the previous model, but one additional knob and two additional footswitches, one of which is momentary, have been added for the new "Drop Tune" section of the pedal.
The new Whammy has most of the same effects as the Whammy DT, but without the Drop Tune controls. It renames the 'Drop Tune' setting of the Whammy IV with a 'Second Down' setting, and eliminates the 'Second Up' setting from the DT altogether. A new feature on this version of the Whammy is a Classic/Chords switch. When the 'Classic' option is selected, the Whammy makes noises described as a "glitch-fest" by a Digitech Representative when playing chords, because it is not polyphonic. The 'Chords' option activates polyphony, making chords ring out much clearer.
Whammy MIDI ControllersEdit
The 4 modern Whammy pedals (4, 5, DT, and Bass) can all be controlled via MIDI program changes and control changes.
In 2009, Molten Voltage released a dedicated MIDI controller for the Whammy called Molten MIDI. Molten MIDI is used by a variety of artists including Ed O'Brien of Radiohead. In 2015, Molten Voltage released G-Quencer, which works with all 4 modern Whammy pedals and provides 8 unique ways to control the Whammy and expand its sonic potential.
- "Whammy (4th Gen)". DigiTech. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- Brewster, David M. (2003). Introduction to Guitar Tone & Effects: An Essential Manual for Getting the Best Sounds from Electric Guitars, Amplifiers, Effect Pedals, and Digital Processors. Hal Leonard. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9781617743757.
- Newquist, H. P.; Maloof, Rich (2004). The New Metal Masters. Hal Leonard. ISBN 9780879308049.
- "new digitech whammy WH-5?". The Gear Page. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
- Dan Kern (2015-05-19). "MIDI Madness: Interview with Molten Voltage". Six String Soul. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
- "the King of Gear". the King of Gear. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
- "G-Quencer || Guitar Sequencer Effect Pedal by Molten Voltage by Molten Voltage". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2016-08-27.