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What happened to WAL?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lil'bass, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. Im dying to get my hands on a Wal fretless, but cant find one anywhere! Does any one know where i could get one....i cant even find a website. Do they still exist? or do i have to track down a used one? Thanks TBers x
  2. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Wal are definitely still in business.

    http://walbasses.homestead.com/index.html is a site created by a man called Steve Chesney, who owns a lot of beautiful Wals - this website has pretty much become the "official" Wal site.

    I did see a Wal price list somewhere within the last two years I think - to order straight from the factory, I seem to remember that you wouldn't get anything for less than £2,000.

    New and used Wals seems to turn up regularly in the Bass Centre and Bass Gallery in London. The Gallery has a 4-string fretted custom model in stock at the moment for £1,930:

    I recall that they had a used 5-string fretless on their site recently for around £1,500.

    Remember that they have been two levels of Wal basses over the years. The custom models, which are pricey, and the "Pro" models, which were cheaper - I have seen these used for between £600-£1000, depending on spec.
  3. Man. I wish Wal's weren't so expensive. And so hard too find too.

    I'd probably own one by now if they were cheaper, and more of them around.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    As David said - they are reasonably priced and turn up quite often over here - but I don't really like them - bulky, heavy and didn't like the sound on any I have tried over the last 5 or 6 years.
  5. I happen to love Wal basses, as do many others. Don't let the inevitable BL "I dislike Wal" posts discourage you.

    One will turn up when you least expect it. They're hard to find, but worth the wait. Ordering a new Wal involves a long wait and a large expense, but they are available used from time to time. If you want to order one new call Gard at Bass Central.
  6. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    Yeah, they're pretty touch to come by. Every now and then one will show up on bassnw.com.

    I would love to get my hands on a Wal. I'm planning a trip to England some time in the next year or so, and I'd like to visit the Wal shop, if the guys over there would let me.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think the point is that the orignal poster is from England and they are much easier to come by over here and we haven't got this "mystique" about them that seems to be caused by their rarity in the US!! :meh:

    I would say, make sure you - play before you buy - as they are fairly "blunt instruments" in my experience and while the y look nice from a distance, I was very disappointed when I actually got to play a few of them! :(
  8. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    In follow-up to my earlier post, I endorse everything Bruce said - Wal basses look great, and they have some big-name endorsers, but they are not for everyone! I tried a pair of used 4-string models in Birmingham about 2 years ago, and, I'm sure Bruce will agree with me here, the "custom" models have very complex electronics and are certainly not "intuitive" to use, unlike many basses out there.

    I will try to dig up an old 'Bassist' magazine that contained a guide on how to buy a used Wal bass.

  9. I missed that the original poster was situated in the UK - sorry mate. No point in calling BC then, but Pete (Stevens) would certainly be accessible.

    I traded some unused gear for a fretless five a while back and that bass has become my #1 first love... certainly a bit of a fluke that it fit me so perfectly. That said, as you can see they're clearly not for everyone. The suggestion to "try before you buy" is very good advice.

    David's comment that the preamp is very complex is also correct. Again, not everyone is going to be comfortable with this setup. It clicked for me but having said that, it's tough to dial in your settings on a dark stage if you haven't got a real handle on things.

    Anyhow, best of luck in your search.
  10. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i only acquire basses by their looks anyway, so...

    looking forward to my first Wal.


  11. hippiesandwich


    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
    I would be carefull about using the term "endorsers" too loosely here - AFAIAC it implies that somehow Wal players are either getting paid to play Wals, or getting free instruments, or both. To the best of my knowlege, Wal does not do endorsements of any kind, and all players (up to and including Sir Paul) pay for their instruments.

    Tone is a very subjective thing, and Wal electronics ARE very complex. I would suggest that before anyone auditions a Wal they read up on how the electronics and controls work, who knows, you may even find some useable tones hiding in there somewhere! :p Wal Electronics & Controls
  12. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    I know a guy who had a Wal, and I've played one before. He got rid of it for the same reasons I personally wouldn't get one...

    As mentioned here, the electronics are too complicated. I don't see the need/benefit when you can do so much with your fingers and a good quality 3 band like on an MTD.

    They're pretty darn heavy. I know, I know, but I've played lotsa' basses lighter with just as much life or maybe even more.

    Again, IMHO, I know Wal's are great instruments... just not for me.
  13. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Any of you Wal dislikers are welcome to ship yours to me!
  14. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Hey man, I'd take one for free too!!! Like I said, they're great... just not my thing, that's all. :)
  15. You are correct about the 'endorsers' having to pay for their Wals. When I got my 5 string fretless, Sir Paul McC's was in the shop waiting ot be picked up. His bass roadie did the ordering as it was a birthday presant from his late wife Linda and yes she had to pay for it. Pete let me try it, and as far as I was concerned it had a wonderful tone, but then again I love Wal's. Only got rid of my 2 as they were too heavy for my bad back.

    They do have a fairly unique tone which will cut through any mix, but I agree that they are not for everybody. Try them out, like Warwicks you will either love em or hate em. Most people do not sit on the fence with Wal's However if you do like them buy one and it will last you forever.

    Pete Stevens will also happily give it the once over for you every few years. I had mine serviced by him and I always left the shop in the knowledge they were as good as new again.

  16. Lil'Bass, I have a SeiBass with WAL pickups and circuit which sounds really wonderful and is a lot lighter than a traditional WAL bass. It is potentially available for sale in the U.K. If you're interested do get in touch by pm.

    Picture of this bass 'stolen' from the SeiBass site:

  17. Further to my earlier post, I would disagree that the EQ is complex.

    You have 4 controls.

    1x Master Volume - which controls the overall volume of the bass. Simple.

    1xpickup control - which allows you to have all bridge pickup or by turning the knob gradually you bring in the neck pickup so that at its centre position both are on then by continuing to turn the knob you eventually go to having just the neck pickup. This allows you to have as much or as little of both pickups as you wish. Simple.

    The last two knobs are tone controls, one for each pickup and you can use them to tune the relevant pickup to sound how you want. Both of these knobs have an independant active function which you bring in by pulling the knob outwards. Simple.

    The whole concept is very simple but give you an incredible range of tones/sounds. Perhaps those who do not like the sound never had it explained to them properly so they did not know which control did what when they were trying them! ;) :D


  18. Matthew, I agree that with a small investment of time and armed with a basic working knowledge the Wal preamp is easy to master and the payoff is huge. No fence-sitting here. The closest alternative would probably be Alembic q-filters, so if one wants or needs the simplicity of traditional 2 or 3 band the Wal might not suit.

    I find it more coincidental that both of my Wal basses seem to be exceptions. :rolleyes: Both weigh in reasonably; the Mach II five-string fretless is just under 10 pounds and the four-string fretted is 8.5 pounds. This may be due to the fact that both are "black poly" models with solid mahogany bodies, as opposed to "coffee table" basses. Perhaps those lovely wood finishes might contribute to the weight of some. Also, I love the necks on both. The neck on the fretless 5 is the finest I've played; better-suited to me and more comfortable than my early Tobias Signature 5 asymmetrical neck.

    Not for everyone? True enough. Wal is my personal first choice. YMMV. No interest in "mystique" or what Geddy is playing this week here.
  19. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    That's a fair point and true in my case! ;)

    Also, when I referred to "endorsers" earlier, I accept that it was the wrong word. I knew that Wal doesn't give away basses - I was trying to subtly hint at the one or two well-known bassists who have inspired a number of threads on Wal basses over the last couple of years. What works for them may not for work everyone.
  20. I could be wrong, but I believe that the biggest mistake one can make with the Wal controls is not realizing that you have to "finesse" them. A small adjustment can make a fairly big difference compared to traditional controls. Combine this with the fact that in many cases you will use the balance knob more as your tone control... (Wal players will understand this statement). After that it comes very easily.

    PS - that's a fairly nice looking SEI up there.... ship to Canada?? *hint, hint*

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