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Wal basses to start production again soon?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pmaraziti, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. pmaraziti

    pmaraziti Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2006
    Read somewhere in talkbass as side comment in a thread.

    I'd like to start a new specific one about this topic. What people know about this ?

    Tx, Paolo
  2. i think those are rumors
  3. Isn't the guy who made them dead?
  4. Pete "The Fish" Stevens (Wal's main guy) hasn't been well these past few years, but it seems he's going to start work again soon and clear the backlog of orders. Once that's done, apparently he's going to pass the rights to produce Wal basses to another UK-based luthier. There's no comfirmation as to who that's going to be, but lots of rumours are flying around about it. So the good news is that we may well be seeing more Wals soon. Hopefully it'll do something about the ridiculous price inflation of Wal basses in recent years, too.
  5. marcray


    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player
    I respect the builder whole-heartedly and it's not for me to tell anyone how to do business, but when you have the rights to a brand like Wal, even if you are unwell (and I have no idea of the severity of his illness), why you would not do business is astounding to me.

    I'm not saying you should pass the rights to a chop shop, but with the amount of under used luthier talent that is out there, there is opportunity here.

    Again with respect...
  6. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007

    Thats the same story for the last two years. It's all very sad.

    What happens to all the people who put deposits years ago for basses never delivered?

    Either he had to refund them (which I remember he spent the money?) or he has years of orders that need to be filled. He's behind the 8 ball if someone does not bail him out of the financial crisis.

    Great bass builder, legendary basses, but very poor businessman.

    I just wish I would have bought one several years ago. A sure thing investment and one you can actually enjoy and play.
  7. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I agree 100%. The people just on here, myself included, could keep that business very busy for years! I wonder what happens to the rights/patents if Pete is no longer around...? If he just holds onto them until he passes, does it go to his family?

    I think that at some point, someone else will take over the Wal production again. There is just too big an opportunity there and I know that I will be on the list to order one someday (I hope!)
  8. As you probably know Pete's health prevents him for continuing, although he has an agreement with a well-known luthier who has done work for Wal previously. Several forums have a recent post on this from ChrisF, our most reliable source. Hopefully he will not mind that I've posted a copy here:

    Ok guys: here is an update on new WAL production. It is happening but Slow.

    Last autumn Pete introduced me to my “New Friend” in High Wycombe at the time when Pete shipped his woodworking machines to my New Friends workshop. Both of them were keen that the legacy of Wal continue and my NF was keen to preserve all aspects of WALS (custom built bridges, pickups and circuit boards etc.)

    Several aspects need to come together: the easier ones being the investment in parts, followed by taking on of extra labour within NF’s existing business, followed by bringing the old machinery up to current H&S standards.
    NF will also want to cost out the whole thing and come up with a new pricelist. Do not expect cheap.

    But firstly NF has to agree the legal stuff with Pete and his silent partner. This bit seems to be taking time. (I do not think there is any particular stumbling block – it is more about communication and telephone calls!)

    It was great to speak to NF who is very happy for me to call him at any time; however he would prefer that I do not pre-empt anything by giving out his name and number. So please don’t ask. He did however recommend that any servicing on Custom WALS can be done in the UK at Charlie Chandler’s Guitar Experience. You can look them up at http://www.guitar-xperience.com/onlinestore/ . Spare parts are a major problem for older Pro series. There are no pcbs, no transistors, no scratchplates. Bridge parts are on hold until Custom bits are up to speed. Volume and tone pots. are standard RS type spares.

    I have read various postings about back orders etc. My best guess that other than the 10 guitar necks that Pete started in September 2006, all other names will be contacted to see if they are still wish to continue. My guess is that only a hand full will want to.
  9. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Some creative people want total control over everything and do not trust ANYONE else to do anything. I know of another builder who is in this exact same situation. They do not know how to delegate or have any business sense.

    The word eccentric comes to mind for these brilliant people who run on their own set of values or reasoning that seems too obvious to many, but to them off limits. Money is not the prime goal for them, complete creative & financial control is.

    Wal could have and should have grown his business like other builders have by delegating and building a staff to run the shop without the main principals. They can't do that because then they feel they are loosing control or no one can do it as well as they can or whatever the excuse is.
  10. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I have been one to say I would get on the list to order one too. But with the US dollar so weak, and the new builder would re-adjust the cost (ie:substantially raised)...comparing the old prices, I'm certain the price of a new Wal will cost as much as current prices of used Wals (4-6k). They're are not going to be cheap.
  11. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007

    Seeing how the dollar has fallen to less than half of the Pound since he last really sold them, they might cost $7,000- $10,000 now?
  12. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    how much of a wal is spec and how much is tlc??

    could they be built by someone else..

    i was looking thro some old music mags the other day ..1985...and one would cost 695 pounds new.

    so ...with inflation ect ect i would expect that figure to be a lot more...

    but there would be a market ...i know me personally ..a mark1 fretless...with the correct tone woods and electronics....it could be a goer.:bassist:
  13. Well, they were around the £3k mark when they were last being manufactured (I looked into the price of a Mach III 5-string back around 2000), so, with the current exchange rate, that's over $6k, not taking account of inflation since then. So it could be up to around $8k if/when they start being made again.
  14. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I know nothing sounds exactly like it but what do you guys think about a bass with some big humbuckers and one of those ACG preamps? I heard some soundclips of a bass with one of those in it and it WAS close in tone to a Wal, close enough that in a mix it would be hard to tell.
  15. bigsnack


    Aug 24, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Can you point us to those clips? I'm curious to hear.
  16. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
  17. Every part of a Wal, with the exception of the tuners and strap buttons, was completely custom-made - the bridge, the pickups, the circuit and all the other hardware was all made specifically for their basses. They also spared no expense with woods, finishing and custom options for their customers.

    They could be built by someone else who had access to the tools and resources required to make all the custom hardware, not to mention the requisite woodworking skills and knowledge of lutherie.

    In the meantime, check out Overwater and ACG - they've both taken aspects of the Wal recipe and made their own variations.Overwater have taken a good dose of the Wal aesthetic and penchant for custom hardware, and ACG produce great basses with a very Wal-esque filter-based active preamp system. They're both in the UK though, so (for the US readers) you'll run into similar exchange rate issues.
  18. bassnutj


    Dec 26, 2007
  19. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    i acctually owned one of these in the 80s and sold it thinking i could always pick one up later...but to be honest i realy felt like they were totally handmade in the fullest sense of the word...oh well.
  20. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    It would be pretty hard to do that now and sell them for $8,000 US. They would have to sell at least at Alembic prices. Also with old pricing he could not keep his business alive, so, if he were to continue with the same painstaking detail, he is going to have to charge far more or get components made in the orient or India.

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