The Vox Wah with Fasel Inductor - Some Detailed Information

Last updated 06/17/05 by Paul Marossy    

I am one of the lucky people who have one of these wonderful sounding wahs and I thought I would create this page since there is little detailed data on these old Fasel inductor equipped Vox wahs. Mine is a rather unusual example from what information I have gathered. I acquired it from an individual in England who bought it secondhand about 20 years ago.

I know, you might be asking "So, what's the big deal about the Fasel inductor?" If you read the "Technology of Wah Pedals" at, you'll get some idea about what makes the Fasel wahs have a special quality. There is actually some truth to the legend of their sound, as this great article explains.

Below is some details on my example.

This example still has the original carrying case and is in very good condition. I believe this wah was made in Italy by JEN in the mid-70s, and is one of the last Italian Vox wahs to be manufactured.
I had never seen a wah with the white rubber ring around the bottom plate before, but I think it makes for a nice looking wah pedal.
The Vox logo is cast into the shell. At a later date, wahs were manufactured without the name cast in place, and a nameplate was attached instead into a recessed area. This is still how the ones manufactured today are.
The footswitch actuator is made from plastic. A little unusual if you are used to seeing the chrome Carling switches used on CryBaby wahs. I doesn't seem to be a problem in this application, though.
This is the bottom plate. Here you can see the white rubber ring that is on the edges of the plate.
Here is the inside. It follows the classical Italian Vox PCB and rather messy wiring job. I bundled some of the wires together before this picture was taken to prevent the battery lead from breaking off of the PCB again.
Here is the pot and footswitch. The footswitch was made by Marquardt. I'm not sure who manufactured the pot, but it will have to be replaced because it is really scratchy.
This is the PCB. The first thing I noticed is that it is not very precisely fitted to the shell. For some reason, it's also easy to short out the power supply if you tighten down the screw too much. Something I'll have to look at and fix.
This particular example is kind of a hodge podge in the component category. The blue caps were manufactured by Arco, and the electrolytic cap has an "RS" marking which looks like it might stand for RadioShack. I'm not sure who made the orange cap. The transistors are different from eachother. One is marked "S1P5172" and the other is marked "FGT 102". The resistors appear to be carbon comp by two different manufacturers. This is in keeping with the highly variable nature of the parts used in these old wahs, but in spite of these things, this wah has a real nice sound. You can also see the back of the inductor, which has an off-center "500 mH" stamped on it.
And this is what all the fuss is about, the inductor. This is the original bright red Fasel inductor with alleged magical properties. This wah does sound super, though! I don't know how the reissue Fasels sound, but there is a difference in sound between the different styles of inductors that can be found in these old wah pedals.

I compared this particular wah to the Clyde McCoy schematic, and it's almost exactly the same as the Clyde McCoy circuit with a couple of exceptions. The differences between mine and a Clyde McCoy are: Fasel inductor in lieu of "halo" type, no "tropical fish" caps (but they are all the same values) and a 33K resistor in parallel with the inductor. On this particular wah, the input cap is before the 68K resistor, as it is on the Clyde McCoy model. Something that is a source of confusion is the resistor that is in parallel w/ the inductor. From what I have read, 33K, 68K or 100K resistors were all used in the Clyde McCoy wahs. So, based on my research, schematically speaking, mine is the same as the Clyde McCoy model. The actual components used are different, and I guess that is where people would split hairs about the caps, the inductor and that cap paralleling the inductor. In any case, with the scratchy pot replaced now and being converted to true bypass, this is one fine sounding wah. I started out wanting to keep everything original, but the true bypass was absolutely necessary as it really whacked my guitar signal when in bypass mode, it just sucked all the life right out of it. This made it a necessary evil.

This page was not intended to be an exhaustive study on old Vox Wahs, but rather a little more detailed description of a Fasel wah than what is available on the web at this time. For more on the history of the wah, check out
this page .

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