[review] T-Rex ToneBug Sensewah (by LordRiffenstein)

LordRiffenstein, all-around tone freak and purveyor of great tone.

Tonebug series

T-Rex Engineering has been around for a lot of time, making high quality pedals and accessories that can be found on pedalboards all over the world. Although they have a vast range of pedals from delays and modulation to overdrive and distortion, they decided to release a new range of pedals a couple of years ago: Tonebugs.

The Tonebug series of pedals is bringing the T-Rex quality in smaller packages, for less money. The range currently has 10 different pedals. All the pedals come in the same enclosure and have the same look: 2-3 dials and some little switches depending on the model. I also gotta give props to T-Rex for shipping the pedals in a nice box, it makes the pedals a bit more special.

Sensewah controls

All the Tonebug pedals come in a nice metal enclosure, with curved edges and it feels pretty sturdy.  The controls are set on a brushed metal background and are easy to see on dim-lit stages. There’s the obvious input and output and an input for a power supply (9v DC).  You can also use battery power, via the compartment that’s easily accessed in the bottom of the pedal. The Sensewah has a Sense control that determines the amount of wah you get.  The more input the pedal gets, the more trebly the wah sounds, to even things out you need to set the sense control to match your pickups and picking.  The Range control sets the frequency width, sor t of like an eq for your wah, you can make it darker or brighter.  And then there’s the little flip switch that sets the Sensewah apart from other auto-wahs as you can set it to the Yoy-yoy-mode, this adds another, higher frequency range for a wacky effect.

The pedal in use

I don’t have a lot of experience with other auto-wah pedals as I am always using a standard wah, I do however LOVE the effect! So when dialing in the Sensewah, it took me some time to figure out the sweet spots.  Using single coils, I found the best sounds were to be found with the Sense control around 1:00 and dialing the Range to taste.  For funky clean sounds, I like the range a bit lower than for gain tones, a higher range will let the wah cut thru nicely, even using good amounts of gain. Switching to humbuckers, you have to make minimal changes, especially to the Sense control.

The Yoy-yoy setting sounds very different, it’s like an extra frequency is being added, a higher frequency. The result is a rather wacky sound, not something that I would use but I bet some people will love it.  There’s a synth-like sound to it.

Comparing the Sensewah to a couple of standard wah pedals, you notice that there’s always a difference between them.  Personally, I miss the interaction with the pedal. The interplay with your picking to get the wah tones is obviously different then rocking a wah with your foot and you are actually LOOSING the usual dynamics from changing your picking. Sadly, you also won’t be able to get that half-open wah sound that you get with a standard wah and that will let you get nice feedback tones.

If you are a wah-lover, I wouldn’t say the Sensewah is a replacement for a standard wah pedal but it is a nice addition because you can get a nice wah tone from it and it allows you to walk around.  I like it more for clean/low gain stuff then for higher gain tones.  If you just want to use a wah-effect here and there, then this is a good option, the sound is good, you can easily fine-tune it and it won’t break the bank!

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