VIDEO: Play a wah without a physical wah pedal

"I hear a wah... but where's the pedal?"
"I hear a wah... but where's the pedal?"

Ever wanted to wail away on a wah-drenched guitar solo from anywhere on the stage? Thanks to some rather ingenious students from Purdue University's School Of Engineering in West Lafayette, Indiana, you can do just that. They've come up with a nifty little invention called the Ghost Pedal.

As you can see in above video, the Ghost Pedal is a wireless device that uses sensors attached to a guitarist's foot to create a wah effect - without a conventional physical pedal.

The Ghost Pedal team was comprised of Garrett Baker, Will Black, Matthew Boyle, Brett Hartnagel, Christine Labelle, Adam Pflugshaupt, Nick Sannella and Robbie Hoye.

"Because Ghost Pedal is wireless and does not have a physical pedal, guitar players can activate and use their wah distortion effect anywhere on stage at any time," said Hoye. "They also have the ability to deactivate the effect whenever they choose."

Once Ghost Pedal is activated, the user enters a 10-second mode during which the variable resistor calibrates the ability to flex the foot from the floor. After calibration mode, the guitarist enters freeplay mode.

The Ghost Pedal is entirely intuitive. Said Hoye, "During freeplay, the user actively manipulates the wah level by changing their foot's angle from the floor. The calibration mode adapts itself to modify the resistance sensor to each user and their foot flexibility at the touch of a button.

"Ghost Pedal and traditional wah pedals use the same motion to activate the wah effect; the guitarist doesn't have to learn a new motion."

In other words, it's kind of like air guitar - only you'll be playing the guitar!

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.