Wal Basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jeff Rader, Dec 24, 2000.

  1. I am considering a Wal 6 string bass. I played a 4 string a year or so ago and thought it was a fine instrument. Just wanted the opinions of those who have more experience with this brand.

    I am looking for a very versatile instrument tonally for a 6 string. I have a Sadowsky Vintage 5 fretted and a Zon Lightwave fretless. I love the feel and quality of the Sadowsky and have heard the Wal basses are of very high quality.

    Any comments?
  2. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
  3. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    When I bought my sadowsky I also tried a wal bass.
    I personnaly didn't like it. A lot of mid range. I would have like to hear it with a band though. ANd it was hard to find sound, all those control, push/pull control....
    I guess when you learn how they work the bass must be very versatile. But i didn't like it.
    Nice bass though
  4. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    One of my friends has an older 4 string Wal. I played it and found it to have real "in your face" midrange. Sounded like the Jazz bass that really was on steroids. Might sound great in a band setting. Might not.

  5. LowRanger


    Dec 24, 2000
    I briefly had a Wal 4-string fretless. Beautiful to look at, well made, but I didn't like the bridge at all. I couldn't get the action low enough (and it wasn't all that low to begin with), and if memory serves me right the bridge action adjustment was counter-intuitive (you had to tighten the height adjustment screws to lower the action!).

    The electronics were very flexible, although many of the available sounds were not all that useful.

    Just my 2 cents.
  6. I.'.I.'.Nakoa

    I.'.I.'.Nakoa Guest

    Aug 10, 2000
    Fort Worth.
    tools bass player, justin chancellor, uses them
  7. cole


    Sep 14, 2000
    XTC's Colin Moulding used a Wal on pretty much everything they did from "The Big Express" (1984) to "Nonsuch" (1992). (he uses a Vox Apollo now)
  8. Hallo!

    Wal basses are exceptional instruments BUT they are one of those basses that you either love or hate - they are not the sort of bass you can plug in and get `your' own sound straight away - you have to sit down with it, and go thru the tone filter EQ system until you find whats best for you! I own a very rare Wal twin neck bass which is actually up for sale. Once you get the sound you want, then you will find the Wal invaluable - many Wal owners have found they can't use any other bass and build up collections (most notable is Steve Chesney from walbasses.com who owns 9 Wals!)

    Best Regards - Nick
  9. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    An overlooked but excellent example of "the Wal sound" would be the Rush albums from Power Windows through Roll The Bones. Geddy was playing one on most of those recordings and tours. Great tones for that stuff.

    I've really liked the few Wal basses I've managed to check out, very well made and play great IMO. I was able to get good sounds without much effort, mainly because I dug the tone with everything set flat on all of them that I checked out.
  10. I did not mean to imply that the Wals are not great sounding basses - they are, but they are not an instant - plug in and play instrument - but when you get the tone you want, they are incredible! I have owned 3 over the years and would love to add more to my collection but they are not cheap basses!

    Happy New Year!
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree - I tried a Wal 5-string at the Bass Centre in London and must admit that I fall into the "instant hate" category. I have heard people using them and getting great sounds, but despite using every combination I could find on the controls, I couldn't get one sound that was even "usable" let alone something I liked!

    I also found the 5-string very heavy and bulky - neck too thick to get easy top end access and quite hard to play. It looked amazing, as did the 4-strings they had - no 6-strings in sight! My admiration for players like Mick Karn and Laurence Cottle (a personal fav)went up, but despite extensive playing and help from Grant in the shop, I couldn't get anywhere close to liking the Wals, although I had always drooled from a distance and loved the sounds I've heard, "in the flesh" they were a big disappointment.
  12. I agree with Bruce on this one. I have tried a few Wals over the years because I really did want to like them. I just haven't found one that rings my bell. I find them bulky and sort of primitive. However as Bruce mentioned there are a number of fine players who do get on with them just fine. As always personal choice etc etc.