Like long hair and a bad attitude, Tortex Picks are part of the fabric of rock ’n’ roll. Musicians worldwide have come to rely on their snappy attack, textured surface, and superior durability, and the turtle logo is an instantly recognizable icon to just about anyone who plays guitar. But Tortex Picks wouldn’t exist without the principle and persistence of the man who created them.

In the 1960s, Scottish immigrant Jim Dunlop brought his family to the United States from Canada and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. He worked as a machinist by day, but during off-hours, he pursued his true calling. Inspired by his love for playing guitar—he’s been known been to strap on a Les Paul and belt out a mean version of “Kansas City”—Jim was determined to use his machinist know-how to create guitar accessories that make playing music more enjoyable. He had a knack for finding the little details that kept good products from being great, the snags that guitar players just put up with because there wasn’t anything else on the market. Jim wanted to improve on those details.

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In 1967, the Jimi Hendrix Experience made its first major American appearance at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival. Jimi Hendrix demonstrated his almost supernatural mastery of the electric guitar, punctuating the performance by setting his guitar on fire, swinging it wildly around and smashing it on the stage floor. Hendrix had issued a manifesto in music form, ushering in the modern age of the electric guitarist.

His creative use of the tools at his disposal set a precedent for tone crafting and sonic texturing that countless numbers of players continue to pursue today. Hendrix was able to vary his tones in seemingly endless ways that fail to sound dated decades later. With equal parts sonic braggadocio and understated elegance, Hendrix used his hands, his instrument, his effects, and most importantly his ears to concoct a brilliant synergy of sound and song rarely, if ever, equaled.

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hendrix’s Monterey performance, we’ve created a special edition run of his favorite effects featuring iconic imagery from legendary rock ‘n’ roll photographer Gered Mankowitz. Below we take a look at how Hendrix used those effects to change the face of music forever.

So you’ve spent some time with the Cry Baby® Standard Wah, getting a feel for how its sweep works and when to use it to season up your licks. The time has come to step up your Cry Baby Wah game, to branch out and explore different tonal possibilities. But there’s so many to choose form—where to begin?

We put this cheat sheet together to help you find a starting point. This guide is broken down by musical genre/style. It’s meant to be a general overview—your personal tastes and playing style will, and should always be, the deciding factor when you choose your next Cry Baby Wah.

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In 2017, we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cry Baby® Wah, first released in 1967 by the Thomas Organ Company. For 35 of those years, the Cry Baby Wah has been a part of the Dunlop family of products. In 1982, we acquired all the original tooling and machinery used by the Thomas Organ Company and Jen Elettronica when they manufactured the very first Cry Baby pedals. We’ve been making wahs ever since—longer than any other company—and our diverse range of wah pedals is a testament to that fact. Whatever your playing style, there’s a Cry Baby Wah to help you express your musical vision.

Let’s take a look at the different pedals that make up the core of the Cry Baby line and see what they have to offer.

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Believe it or not, there actually was a time when there was no wah wah. It’s hard to imagine funk, blues, rock, and soul—and guitar music in general—without the vocal, squawky, yow-y sounds that the wah pedal can produce. But it’s true. There wasn’t always wah. Someone had to invent it. Someone did, and things have never been the same.  And much like all cola beverages came to be associated with one iconic brand name, the world knows wah wah by the name Cry Baby®. To find out how we got to this funky, expressive, Cry Baby place, however, we need to back up.
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