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Clyde McCoy

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Clyde McCoy (December 29, 1903 in Ashland, Kentucky – June 11, 1990 in Memphis, Tennessee), a famous jazz trumpet player, is best remembered for his themes song, Sugar Blues, and popularity expanding seven decades.

Introduced in 1967, the Vox Clyde McCoy Wah-wah pedal was the most significant guitar effect of its time. Invented by a young engineer named Brad Plunkett, who worked for the Thomas Organ Company — Vox/JMI’s U.S. counterpart — the wah circuit basically sprang from the 3-position midrange voicing function used on the Vox Super Beatle amplifier.

Vox cleverly packaged the circuit into an enclosure with a rocker pedal attached to the pot (which controlled the frequency of the resonant peak) and named the new device after trumpeter Clyde McCoy, who was known for the signature “wah” sound he created with a mute in the bell of his horn. Early versions of the Clyde McCoy featured an image of McCoy on the bottom panel, which soon gave way to his signature only before the name of the pedal was changed to Cry Baby. Thomas Organ’s failure to trademark the Cry Baby name soon led to the market being flooded with Cry Baby imitations from various parts of the world, including Italy, where the McCoys were originally made.

McCoy has a “Star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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