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Name this Geddy Lee Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jsegovia, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. jsegovia


    Oct 5, 2006
    These images are from a youtube Rush concert video from a 1988 show in Birmingham, England. I've never seen this bass before - my first thought was it's one of those Ibanez RoadStar basses with the huge pickups but the body shape and knob configuration are wrong. 'Anybody have any ideas? And apologies for the poor resolution - it's a youtube screen capture.



    Frankly this bass sounds just like Geddy Lee on a Jazz Bass or on a Rickenbacker - fantastic! :)

  2. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
  3. duckman


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ghent Belgium
    Jesse this bass is a Wal mk1. British basses still produced today. Great instruments, but I'm biased (see avatar)
  4. jsegovia


    Oct 5, 2006
    Dang, that was fast! I'll have to try something more difficult next time. :)

    What do these basses sound like? Are they active? What kind of pickups?

  5. ModuMan

    ModuMan How many is too many? Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bristol, CT #19
    It begins... start saving now.
  6. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Generally they are fairly aggressive sounding, but the electronics allow for a lot of flexibility. When Geddy was using them in the late 80's early 90's (starting with "Power Windows" through "Roll the Bones"), he was using very light strings so they have a distinctive "twang" to the tone.

    They are active, with custom made multi-coil pickups and lowpass filter preamps.

    Wal Basses and Electric Wood Limited Home Page

    Wal Bass Club, Part 4 | TalkBass.com
    Osztertag2112 likes this.
  7. scourgeofgod


    Aug 17, 2006
    No offense, but if you didn't know what a Wal even was or what they sound like, this is not the site for you to try and stump people on. The collective bass knowledge here is vast. Kinda surprised honestly seeing as you've been a member since '06.
    SilGarzaJr likes this.
  8. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    my "Geddy" style Wal. So you can see the details in a non-blurry pic....
    Yes they are active, but with a filter preamp rather than a conventional boost/cut style. The pickups are complex, each pair of poles is one coil, and the poles are adjustable, as are there's trim pots for various things on the preamp. The knobs are: volume, pan-blend, and one tone knob for each pickup which feature a pull-up for boosting the frequency at the Q.

    JPBassMan, JollySpudd and jsegovia like this.
  9. Not my sonic 'thang' but sure as heck is purdy! I can sure envision myself rocking that bass under different conditions. Very impressive.

  10. bassmachine2112


    Mar 23, 2008
    Very nice I was offered one in 2001 for £400-yes I could kick myself ad nauseum.
    If I remember they were heavy and had a lovely growl and it was a mahogany type wood that,s dark brown to me,oil/satin finish
  11. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    Geddy also had a red Wal he used in 1991. Paul McCartney used a Wal 5 string for a while there. If you listen to the Beatles song "Free as a Bird", from the mid 90s 'reunion' (I use that term lightly), that's Paul's Wal. He even hits some low C's during Georges slide solo. I've always wanted to play a Wal.
  12. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    Every pole-piece has its own coil, there are eight coils per pickup

  13. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Right eight coils, but they're wired in pairs, the coils are mounted on a pcb.
  14. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Best sounding bass Geddy has ever played.. By a huge margin.

    He used Wal basses on:
    Power Windows
    Hold Your Fire
    Roll The Bones

    After that he quit playing basses and switched to a rusty chainsaw with no bottom end. Pretty sure that's right.
  15. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Well everybody's entitled to their wrong opinion :p
  16. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Including you.

  17. jsegovia


    Oct 5, 2006
    Hey, thanks for all the great responses including the very nice pics. Awesome bass, er, Caca. :)

    Does anyone know why Geddy came back to the Jazz Bass? I've been really enjoying all the great Rush concert videos available on youtube. Geddy has to be one of the very best bassists ever in rock - technically he seems on a par with the best jazz fusion players; although he doesn't take all the solos and play in crazy jazz chord progressions and modes it seems he easily could.

    Oh, and is that a Jazz Bass on the 'Moving Pictures' album?

  18. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    The producer of the Counterparts record had a strong influence I motivating Geddy back to the Jazz bass. Moving pictures is about 50/50 Jazz and Rickenbacker.
  19. jsegovia


    Oct 5, 2006
    Thanks for the quick reply! A friend of mine who has both a Rick Paul McCartney bass and a Jazz Deluxe says he can't play both of them anymore. He says the scale is different enough that when he goes to reach for the low notes on the Rick it's just not the same so it's just the Jazz for him now.

  20. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Hmmm, I've got a Jazz and a Ric (and a Wal for this win!) and don't have the same issue. To me the difference is negligible.

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