Visiting  Electro-Harmonix in New York was one of the coolest experiences a gear head could hope for. Meeting and interviewing the founder, Mike Matthews, was the cherry on top. Listening to the mogul, who started producing distortion pedals in the 1960s, talk about his passion for rock ‘n’ roll, tone, and electronics made it clear why Electro Harmonix persists as an innovative leader in the guitar and bass pedal industry.

Among the company’s newest creations is the Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight Plus, a hybrid talking wah fuzz pedal. The “wah wah” effect dates back to 1920s when jazz trumpet players manually moved a mute in and out of their horn to create a “crying” sound. Flash forward through the decades and hear that same undulating effect electrified by Jimi Hendrix, the iconic “wacka wacka” of rhythmic funk music, the modern work of Runaways lead guitarist Lita Ford, heavy metal guru Wata from Boris, and by Melissa Etheridge, who confirmed via Twitter that she uses a wah pedal on tour and in the studio on her songs, “Be Real,” “I’ll Take You There,” “Chrome Plated Heart,” and “Lover Please.”

About That Wah…

The EHX Cock Fight Plus contains three effects to play with—a traditional “wah-wah” sound when you flip up a switch to CRY, an “oh-oh” vowel sound when you flip the switch down to TALK, and an adjustable FUZZ knob that affects drive and tone for either option.

The utilitarian black rubber, plastic, and metal case measures 9-inches long by 3.4-inches wide, which are the approximate dimensions of a ladies’ size 7 shoe. Like a conventional wah pedal, the Cock Fight Plus uses a “rack and pinion operating mechanism,” which means you “cock” the pedal up and down with your foot to create the wah-wah effect, or leave it in a fixed position to maintain your tone. The “talking wah fuzz” is modestly priced at $123.50 compared to its competition, widely available at guitar stores nationwide, and includes a 1-year mail-in warranty.

The Cock Fight Plus in Action

As a professional guitarist obsessed with the cult of the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, the Cock Fight Plus offers next level tone complexity for fuzz-fans, with the addition of “wahs” and “ohs” to rip your leads. I played the device through my ‘70s Gibson SG-1 and Orange Rockerverb 50 to gain a sense of the action and tone. What I appreciate most about this pedal is the smooth mechanical action, responsive overdrive versatility, non-slip design, and easy-access door that makes swapping a 9V battery painless.

Speaking of which, there is a neat phenomenon called “dying battery” that you can control with the BIAS knob. This provides a machine-gun, punctuated wah fuzz (versus a long sustain) that works well for bass and other single-note string parts. I appreciated that EHX released this super helpful tutorial to uncover these nuances.

My favorite setting to play the introduction to Black Sabbath “N.I.B” with the Cock Fight Plus is: VOL 12 O’CLOCK, CRY SWITCH UP, FUZZ PRE SWITCH UP, BOT 3 O’CLOCK, TONE 12 O’CLOCK, BIAS 2 O’CLOCK, DRIVE 2 O’CLOCK. 

In Conclusion…

Like all Electro-Harmonix products (which I learned during my visit are assembled by female electronics operators in their Long Island City manufacturing facility), the EHX Cock Fight Plus pedal achieves it’s purpose perfectly.

The pedal is versatile and packs a lot of punch with three effects included in its durable case. It’s super fun to cycle through different switches and knobs to explore the tone perfect for your axe and amp combination. Manipulate the “wah” or “oh” and fuzz to suit your tone needs, then let it wail!

Alex White of White Mystery with Electro-Harmonix founder Mike Matthews