Those high gain bandits among us would know Soldano & the SLO100; it makes other high gain amps feel a little wimpy. Wampler & Weehbo are among other effects manufacturers out there re-creating the SLO voicing in a more wallet-friendly package. However, since the manufacturers mentioned here are boutique proponents, that affordability factor isn't quite it. Nevertheless, these are currently on sale at SV Guitars so here's a little insight on both the SLO units featured here.
Both manufacturers are serious when it comes to durability but the Wampler wins it in terms of aesthetics; its mild glitter finish is a pleasant attraction. The Weehbo on the other hand, sports a pseudo-relic touch which is a current fad. It's a matter of personal taste here but be informed that gloss-finished housing like that of the Wampler is more prone to scratches & cracking upon rough handling.
The Wampler is an outright 2-in-1 distortion unit. It has a central SLO voicing with a boost capability. The Weehbo differs by offering the user a selection of 2 drive channels, the boost function is located at the rear via a flick switch. Both pedals sport a 3-band EQ but the Weehbo offers a middle frequency range option. Both pedals are downright similar in terms of features, it's a matter of slight differentiation. In terms of ease of use, the Wampler is as simple as it gets.
Ah, this is the crucial bit, many of us fork out good money for the tone we are after, details are secondary. Which pedal is a definite SLO repro? My definite answer: Neither the Wampler nor the Weehbo wins it. I came to this conclusion because both pedals contain that harsh SLO push distortion fiends love to hear but the more one tinkers with the controls, the further one gets from the true reference. Don't get me wrong, lads, this is indeed a good thing. The Wampler is able to manifest that saturated crunch which the SLO specializes in but when push comes to shove, the pedal manifests a good serving of throaty crunch, very much like what an SLO would do when cranked up. The Wampler's volume is a little subdued until its boost mode is engaged so this is its Achilles Heel. The Weehbo on the other hand is an angry pedal that stays true to the SLO voicing & it retains that much needed clarity upon switching to the boosted (higher voltage) option. However, things can get a little too treblish when the volume gets dialed up every time so some EQ meddling is a necessary follow-up.
Which SLO pedal is for you, then? It's a matter of personal taste, ladies & gentlemen. This is especially so when both pedals tend to stray from the base reference once more tinkering gets done. Knowing the profile of players here, I'd wager that majority of them won't be too familiar with the SLO voicng compared to a MESA or Marshall tone, for instance. At the end of it all, the final performance of the pedal matters, not that it mimics the SLO character closely, both pedals sport the same price tags anyway.
Thanks to brother Tirmizi @ SV Guitars for his relentless help when these two pedals were being tested. I must say that I was a fussy customer who took time to scrutinize boutique stuff because they are make-or-break products that should not put the buyer in a losing situation upon purchase.