1977 Colorsound Supa Wah-Swell

Model Description:

The famous Marcari’s, Sola Sound and Colorsound names are the key movers behind a prolific English effect pedal industry that began in the mid‑1960s through to the mid‑1970s. The Colorsound Supa Wah‑Swell covered here was only made during the 1970s. The workshop at Macari’s of London spawned the Sola Sound enterprise which went on to become not only a maker of pedals under its own name but also the in‑house brand Colorsound. Sola Sound also produced effects for numerous other companies including VOX, Marshall, Carlsboro, Rotosound, CSL and many others. While the majority of historical interest in this area focuses on the classic Tone Bender fuzz, Sola Sound also made a very wide variety of effects, including the Colorsound swell and wah‑wah, as well as combined effects like the wah‑swell, wah‑fuzz, wah‑fuzz‑swell and wah‑fuzz‑straight. These were, arguably, the forerunners of today’s complex multi‑effect units. To me, I have always wondered why one might have separate wah and swell pedals when they can be easily combined into one effect. Also, cramming more than that into the admittedly oversize enclosure (at least at the time) doesn’t seem to make sense either. Possibly the best of both worlds is the wah‑swell combination. Switched off, it works like a normal volume pedal, while switched on, it works like a normal wah‑wah pedal. Furthermore, the Colorsound Supa Wah‑Swell has a fairly long rocker travel, giving quite a wide sweep from silent/mellow to full‑on/treble frequencies. In addition, the pedal provides a signal boost when in wah mode, giving it an added kick. The colourful Supa Wah‑Swell pedals came in either brazen blue (rare) or fetching purple (common) with chrome foot treadles. The ‘Supa’‑less Colorsound Wah‑Swell came in a slightly smaller, more practically sized enclosure, usually in blue and with a simpler circuit board. The vintage values of these effects is always going to be lower than the Tone Bender, however the Supa Wah‑Swell does attract fairly high prices, partly because of its rarity and the fact that it hasn’t been reissued to‑date. In comparison, the straightforward, discrete Colorsound swell or wah‑wah effects tend to be cheaper while the ones incorporating fuzz tend to be more expensive.

Pedal Description:

Here’s a fantastic one‑owner vintage combination effect pedal, a glorious blue, chrome and black 1970s Colorsound Supa Wah‑Swell, complete with its original box. There are no obvious signs to date this example definitively, however the features, along with original owner stating that he acquired it c.1977 from guitar shop J.P. Dias in Carlisle, England, UK, so I’m going to go with that. This one proved quite expensive by the end of the auction but it was worth it to bring it into the family, at least hinting at its rarity and healthy vintage market value. That’s a far cry from the relatively low price point when these pedals were sold new back in the day. The footswitch toggles between volume and a boosted wah‑wah. The tiny circuit board sits inside the unnecessarily large enclosure and uses two stacked potentiometers, one for the volume and the other for wah. The long treadle travel for which these pedals are known, gives great control over the signal, whichever mode it is in. It also sounds great with a seriously aggressive edge to the boosted wah. The passive volume effect works smoothly and doesn’t seem to affect the tone too badly. The wha effect with its hefty boost and significant sweep from bass to treble can be quite extreme with muted lows and some nasty, biting highs – one to be used either with subtlety or all‑out abandon I reckon. At first, I thought the wah pot was scratchy but I think it is part of its inherent aggressive tonal sweep and, boy does this baby scream when pushed. To me, having both wah and volume effects in the same pedal makes perfect sense, even if it does take up disproportionate (and unnecessary) amount of floor space; it is still far better than two pedals though. According to the original owner, the pedal has never been gigged and it has spent a lot of time in its original packaging – that accounts for its superb condition. It has a single scratch on the baseplate next to the battery compartment but that’s the only thing that stops it being classified as mint. The accompanying box has ‘Colorsound Super Wah‑Wah’ printed on it but, seeing as I got it from the original owner, that’s what it came with from the original shop. With both supa wha and supa volume in one pedal, it is all round… well… supa duper! Nuff said.


  • Colorsound‑branded wah/volume pedal made by Sola Sound in London, England in c.1977
  • Foot treadle controls either the volume of the output or the sweep of the wah‑wah depending on the footswitch
  • Standard footswitch under the treadle turns the wah‑wah effect on and off
  • Standard ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • No LED status indicator
  • 9V battery operation only – no DC power supply input
  • Original box (no instruction manual)

Detail Gallery:

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