We don’t always recommend signature guitars and gear since it’s often overpriced and too niche to be user by a variety of players, but the Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 contour wah pedal from Morley.
Whether it’s unique design, unique tone, ease of use, or an affordable price you’re after, the VAI-2 packs it all. It’s perfect for modern players who still like their sound rooted in traditional values. Anyhow, let’s dig in see what this horsie’s made of!
The way we like our wah pedals to be is switchless, or “step on, step off” as they like to call it. And that happens to be exactly what VAI-2 is – no on/off switches, just step on it and it’ll instantly work.
On the inside, the pedal packs a Clear Tone buffer circuit that secures a pure guitar tone while maintaining signal level in bypass and wah mode. Mr. Vai is known for obsessing a bit with his signal clarity and pedal order, hence the use of this high-end circuitry shouldn’t strike you as surprising.
On the outside, we are first and foremost looking at one sleek, elegant and even slightly futuristic pedal. We give Morley nothing but kudos for the gorgeous design, but perhaps even more importantly, this is one sturdy pedal too. It utilizes metal construction that’s very solid and strong, while staying highly practical and tightly packed.
Made in the USA, the item can be powered via 9V battery or standard adapter. It weighs in at 3.6 pounds and comes with a total size of 9.2 x 6 x 3.5 inches.
We’re looking at two control knobs and a single button switch. First off, the switch allows you to choose between the classic Vai sound or the Bad Horsie regime and the Contour wah mode. In the Contour regime, the two knobs can be used to alter the frequency of the wah-wah effect and its overall level.
So essentially, if you want to sound like Steve Vai, there’s an entire mode for it, but if you want to craft this pedal to match the sound you envisioned, just go wild in the Contour mode.
Now this is a good Bad Horsie! The word of the day here is aggressive, as the pedal was clearly crafted for rockers, and therefore always packs some extra sonic edge. However, there is also more than enough sonic space for experimentation, and you can easily utilize the pedal for clean playing as well.
The sound is quite modern and allows you to dive into various sonic areas and really experiment with your guitar, which is something we believe Stevie wanted all along.
Another prominent feature worthy of mention is the high-quality input buffer that will normalize the signal of your guitar. This will keep the instrument at a steady volume at all time while the wah is operating, something that some other models struggle to achieve.
This is a great wah pedal! Apart from allowing you to copy the sound of one of the all-time guitar titans, it also allows you to craft your own tone using top-quality components and circuitry. It’s unique and sexy, and it will keep you attached to your guitar for hours – what more can ya ask for?