Friday, 19 April 2013

Archive: Notes from Stephan's Database

Notes from Stephan's Database

Odd Quotes & Descriptions

More details about special Wals
W1111Trevor Raggatt writes: "Real audio clips of W1111 (and presumably other early JG's) can be heard on the Gordon Giltrap albums "Visionary", "Perilous Journey" and "Fear of the Dark" on and John Gustafson's early Wals can be heard on GG's "Live at the Oxford Poly" and "Peacock Party" on Amazon and on "Clear Air Turbulence" by the Ian Gillan Band, also on Amazon."
Bass of the month September, 2002: ""
Triple NeckThe original bass nowadays can be found in Hard Rock Cafe in New York. Live Chris Squire uses a copy by a japanes luthier.
The third neck was a 'normal' guitar neck and changed by Chris Squire into a three sets tuned in octaves.
Trevor Raggat (our man for the details) notes: "I only realised recently that on the original the centre pickup (middle neck, neck pickup) is mounted on a metal plate. (This means some photos show the replica.)"
According to Chris Squires Website the tuning for the triple neck is as follows: " Top Neck- AA,DD,GG Middle (fretted) Neck- E,A,D,G Bottom (fretless) Neck- E,A,D,G"
Steve Weston has a story for us: "For those of you who may be interested, I do know a little of the history of the triple neck. The Bass itself was originally owned and commissioned by Rick Wakeman. He was always looking for ways to upstage other acts and was at the time just preparing to record 'Journey to the centre of the earth' His Bass Player at the time was Roger Newell (now asst editor with Guitarist mag in the UK). According to Rog when I spoke with him some years back. Rick was, and still is very good friends with Pete Stevens, and between them they decided that a real show stopper would be a triple neck Bass. Twin necks (Guitar / Bass) were popular at the time so Rick being Rick wanted to go one better. Rog spent a lot of time with Pete working on the layout of the beast but a real problem which was never really solved was the weight. Apparently it was so heavy that it could only be worn for short periods. (this was another reason that Chris retired the Bass later). Apparently the copy was considerably lighter. Anyway to return to the story, Rog used the triple neck on the 'Journey to the centre of the earth album and tour' but although he hoped for a continuing association with Rick it wasn't to be since Rick rejoined Yes shortly afterwards and took the bass with him. As we all know Chris used it afterwards and eventually Rick gave it to him. As Rog told me, 'I was f*****g amazed. I loved that Bass since in reality it was built for me and I was so involved in the build. But since I couldn't afford it at the time it went out of my life, only to find that later Rick had given the bloody thing away. I was absolutely gutted' That's life as they say. As you correctly point out, Chris has given (on permanent loan) the Wal to the Hard Rock Caf� where it remains to this day If anyone is interested in further information don't hesitate to e-mail Roger Newell at Guitarist. I'm sure He would be pleased to answer any questions."

JG1122In April 2001 Percy Jones writes: "Yes, that does look like my old Wal, but it's hard to tell from the pic. I know it had a leather scratch plate which would probably make it unique, so that would be the way to tell. I let it go a long time ago and I can't even remember who it went to, I think it was one of my old students but it was definitely someone in this country. I do remember Wal telling me it was originally for Johnny Gus but he wanted fret lines so they gave it to me. I had several Wal basses over the years and I still have a 4 string and a 5 string here."
One more statement by Percy about his first Wal: "Then we did "Masques", that's when Wal gave me their first bass. This was funny, because I remember putting it on, and it sounded and felt really good, but if you let go of the neck, it would just drop... it was neck heavy. So I said to them, it sounds very good except it's out of balance. So they took it away, came back like the following week with a perfectly balanced bass and I started playing it again. They left it with me, and just after they left it just cut out, it went dead. I opened it up and saw that the chip had fallen out of it's socket - the op amp, in the preamp, one of those 8 pin chips. So there was a sort of back and forth thing, and in the end they had some really good instruments."
JG1123Leigh states: "The bass was bought privately from a friend in 1998 and is in exceptional condition."
JG1125Steve still hasn't found what he's looking for: "I'm interested in tracing a Wal bass owned by John Glascock of Jethro Tull. Any ideas?"
JG1126Leigh remembers: "I bought the bass in Oct/Nov 1979, second hand, in a shop called Rhodes Music on Denmark Street (AKA Tin Pan Alley) in the west of London. The bass was played on all of Bow Wow Wow's albums and singles in the early 80's."
JG1128Obtained May 13, 2003 Sotheby Estate Auction.
JG1132Mike says: "I used to play in french hard rock band "Shakin Street" and I had these two basses made in 1979 or 1980, can't remember!!."
JG1133Build for distributor "Barrats of Manchester"
JG1134Peter says: "Recently refinished in black poly, originally clear. Made for some sort of promo sales tour of the States in 1978. Has the usual big toggle switch for pickup selection and individual coilsplit switches for each pickup. Also has tiny toggle switches in output plate which I believe originally were part of an experimental remote control system for effects that Pete and Wal were developing at one point, but eventually abandoned. Wal, Pete or possibly Percy Jones told me about that a long time ago, but I'll have to ask Pete about it again at some point to make sure I have the facts straight. Neck was refretted, re-shimmed and signed by Wal in 1986. No photo currently, but will send in a few months. My first Wal, I bought this used in 1983 from Sam Ash Music in New York City. Very twangy and bright, a bit heavy."
JG1139Paul says: "I own a Wal Custom Bass s/n JG 1139. Its a double cutaway in a tobacco finish with a leather scratch plate. I purchased the guitar in Portsmouth back in 1980 ish. Any idea where I could find any history?"
JG1146Owned it from new, first met Wal at a trade show, while they were still operating out of some place off of Bond Street I think. I've still got all the receipts and specifications of the order somewhwere. And it still sounds great.
JG1147Outputs: mono jack, xlr, ground switch and loop switch on cast-housing
Very detailed page at Bunnybass:
JG1150Description at Christies: "A 1979 Wal Pro 2E PJ Custom Bass Guitar, Serial No. JG1150, in brown finish, double cutaway body, Maple neck, fretless rosewood fingerboard, two pickups, selector switch, three slide switches, five rotary controls, combination bridge/tailpiece and black pickguard; and a brown hardshell case with brown plush lining; accompanied by a letter confirming the provenance "
According to Pete Stevens of Electric Wood, this bass: "was built and finished by Electric Wood on 23rd August 1979 for John Entwistle....He allowed Electric Wood to use his photograph and assisted in the advertising of the guitar. "
In fact, Entwistle said in an interview published in International Musician magazine: "I sometimes sit down and practise for half an hour on a fretless and then do a couple of hours on a fretted bass. I use a Wal fretless because somehow they've designed the neck so it's still got plastic fret marks but you don't actually have to play on the frets... "
PB1116According to Pete Stevens: " This is an early Pro Bass from the first batch supplied to our then distributor 'Barratts of Manchester'. [...] 1116 was the 4th production model and was invoiced to Barratts on 30th March 1979. It has a plain headstock: the striped headstocks were introduced a few weeks later in May 1979 "
Tim White says: " You may notice the similarity between the Wal mkII/III and the Jerry Bix bass. I wanted a fretless bass. A new Wal was out of the question on cost alone, but I wanted something that balanced more like the Aria SBR80 that I had at the time. The resulting bass that I designed and Jerry made for me is a Wal / Aria cross which although it looks similar to the MkII/III Wal, was made in 1984/5 well before the Wal MkII appeared in 1986. So the similarity is just bass players thinking along the same lines - rather than plagiarism!"
PB1117Mike says: "I used to play in french hard rock band "Shakin Street" and I had these two basses made in 1979 or 1980, can't remember!!."
W1118Falk says: "I have a fretted wal pro bass serial no. W1118 which I bought 10 years ago from the Manson guitar shop who were selling it on behalf of John Paul Jones. I was told it was bespoke and that it was given to john along with a twin fretless version to test in 1979. It has four microswitches on it which I think are, on switch, two bass boosts and a out of phase switch. I have opened the cavity and the only writing I could find was pencil on silvered paper stating "jonesey" which I took to be confirmation of its origin."
PB1120Ron says: "Originally this bass had a fretless rosewood fretboard, the former owner had it replaced for a fretless ebony fretboard. When I bought this bass it was in very bad shape, all screws were rusted, loose contacts on the circuit board etc. Dutch Luthier Jan Knooren replaced the fretboard again to a rosewood fretted one, including 8mm mother of pearl dot inlays, he did a perfect job on this one."
?Bob Pedrick sighs: "I was the original owner, I think I got the bass around 1979 or so. As I said I worked in a music store in Bath [...] I think that XTC were recording the album ' The Big Express' at Crescent Studios in Bath during 1984 and the owner of the studio rang the shop inquiring whether we had a Wal Bass for hire. I was skint so I saw this as a way to make a few extra pennies. Unfortunately I didn't considered the fact that Colin wouldn't let me have the damn guitar back!! We eventually settled on an ( as previously stated) obscene sum of money and I bought my sycamore faced custom with the proceeds. This is how I know the dates!!!"
PB1141Stath says: "I've owned the bass for about 8 years. The bass has just been overhauled by the guys at Electric Wood. Before the overhaul i was ready to sell the bass. Since it has come back I am delighted with it."
PB1174Peter says: "This bass had fretlines installed by a third party, but the lines were in the wrong places and thus my attempt to have Pete install frets was aborted. Instead, he made a new modern-style Wal fretted neck for the bass, which you can see in the enclosed photo."
PB1232JMJ speaks about the electronics: "The controls are numerous, but really basic. Two volumes, two lowpass filters (with less sharpness and a more natural sound than new Wals), a master volume, a three-way selector, and these three little switches under the pickups that basically add different degrees of high-mids or highs. The only useful one for me is the middle switch, which seems to add somewhere around 4-5k. And, as Pete says, the 5 rotary knobs all go to 11! "One louder"! "
Comparing his Mk I with the Pro IIe: "I'm in the studio with Macy Gray today (on a dinner break now), and have been comparing my Mk I to the Pro IIe in depth. The Pro IIe is not only louder, it has more low-end and less glassy transparency on the top. It may get more use in the studio for me than the Mk I. Yet it still retains the same Wal character, which to the uninitiated I might describe as a Music Man meets a Thunderbird meets a Jazz Bass. Very interesting. "
PB135xThis bass does not exist anymore. All parts have been sold separately.
George Lambro said: "This is the Pro IIe I got off ebay as a project bass. Happily I have it working pretty well now!. There was no neck plate but I did find a date written on inside of neck. Wal Pro IIe, no serial number, date 27-11-79 written on leather shim on neck. Body was modified to either look like an Alembic or to look like the very first Wal circa 1974. Back plate has been replaced with Fender style replacement part. Mono Jack looks like it replaced another assembly as it is not a clean fit yet an original Electric Wood part. Body cavity pick guardscrew hole poorly drilled so some screws can not even stay in the wood. Original green 'NAT' on body neck socket confirmed with Pete Stevens that this was an original Wal body however."
PB1354Words of a preowner: "Oh yes, I played a new Wal bass at The Gallery in London a few months after I originally bought this, and I didn't think it came close - in feel or sound - to the Pro II!"
PB1474Chris, a former owner, says: "Serial number PB1474 is an original natural finish with original case. It is passive and has never been modified. Every thing is original on the bass apart from a new input socket. The bass has custom bass on the head stock and a brass nut,which im not sure is original. There is a slight chip out of the scratch plate. It has original frets and plays like a dream. Check out the photos. "
PB1498Rob says: "I am the proud (first) owner of an Wall Pro II, I think the serial number is 1498, such as stamped on the metal plate on the back of my guitar. I bought him in 1981. The first months he played very well, but suddenly the neck bended a bit. At that time I called Ian Waller and he told my to bring my guitar to the company were i had bought it, and let it be shipped to england. So I did, and after a few weeks i got it back. With a prototype neck, with new electronics as a spare, with new strings, and the excuses from Ian!!!! I told him I had never had such a good service. From that day , and all those years, my Wal never let me down. The only thing i changed was a hipshot bassextender. The sound is still as good as 20 years ago. The neck has never been adjusted!! It came back from England and that is it! I don't think that there are many bassplayers in Holland with a Wal."
PB1504Kees says: "Hi Steph, Proud to announce that I'm the owner of the PB1504. I've had the bass for about 25 years now, and it has definitely shaped my way of playing. It was fretted, originally, but the former owner removed those, and I can only be too happy about that. I think it makes the best tonal qualities come out. It plays like a string bass, only much easier on the fingers. I've played all kinds of music on it: reggae (for which it defeinitely got the "bassy" qualities, at some settings), world music (it's got amazing accurate response), 10 years of bigband (where all the "string bass" sounds come in), and presently salsa in Cuba Libre, in which it's the ultimate versatile bass you want. I even developed a three finger technique, that's hard to distinguish from slapping (pretty hard on a fretless), that serves me well. The neck suffered a bit from using Rotosounds on it. At the time I just loved the sound, but it improved alot when I started using flatwounds. Now I wouldn't go back to Roto's, because the flatwounds make it into a nondiatonical instrument, where you can do just about everything. Cry, roar like a lion, play quarternotes, whatever. Sum it up, that bass ought to be buried with me. But, I'm trying to give it an overhaul since it's been with me for so long. And I run into a couple of problems. Modifications I did: I changes the way of switching the battery on from "putting a jack in" to a separate switch, that I put in the place where the original "two pickups or one" switch used to be. That still works fine. Also: I changed a few capacitors to give me the sound that I wanted. Which turned out to be Ok,less aggressive sound, more bass, more subtility in couterphase setting. Problems: The jack input has got a bit lame, I found out it's really hard to replace, because it seems to be welded in rather than bolted in. How the hell did they do that? The XLR output works fine (at the proper setting of the switches), but I'm not sure whether it's using the trafo, since I got some bad readings on that. (by the way, I've been looking for replacement of that trafo, but there was no way I could get hold of such a type of trafo, since it's welded on board of the mainboard, it has to be exactly the same type) Solutions Can anyone help me to find a layout of the possibilities of the output unit? It's got so many connections and switches it dazzles me. Any technical information would help me. Also information about the type of trafo used. I heard that the Wal company still services instruments, how can I apply for that service?"
PB1533Richard says: "Looks very much like PB1291, only a paler red. Currently fitted with Hipshot D-Tuner."
PB1558 Refitted with a Custom (Mk1) neck
PB1559It's a natural bodied version with a black scratch and it's a 2 pick up passive.
PB1573 Custom Headstock
PB1631Bassist Magazine wrote in an Embassy Special: " The Pro 2E fretted 4-string with early 'oversized' spoon headstock has become very collectable and is the forerunner of Wal's Custom bass. A sophisticated tone circuit supports two Humbuckers, each with its own Volume and Tone, controlled ultimately by a Master Volume, a pickup selector switch on the lower horn, and three pre-set EQ switches just below the pickups. These pre-sets offer Low/Mid boost, High/Mid boost and an Attack Filter (similar to pick attack on current models). To cap it all, the 600 Ohm balanced line output is equipped with two ground switches on the output plate This type of Wal embossed scratchplate proved very problematic, and was finally ditched Note: Very early Wals have multilaminations in the larger headstock. A typical arrangement at that time would be Maple/ebony/Maple/redwood with hornbeam in the centre, then the reverse of redwood/Maple/ebony/Maple to complete the picture! This adds strength to the neck as well as being visually pleasing. "
David is puzzled: "The strange thing is that the effect of the switches doesn't seem to be the same as every explanation I have seen. When the switches are off - bridge facing - both pickups have a wonderful deep, round tone with bags more bottom end than a moderm Wal. I'm comparing to a Mk I Schedua custom. It's a wonderful old, big, round, more traditional tone (although still quite "Wal-ly"). Switching in the tone filters on each pick-up cuts out a lot of the rounded bottom end making for a much more cutting, punchy, middly, Schedua-custom-with-the-tones-pulled-up, more modern, active sort of sound. Certainly there's no boost in the low end. " unbelievably gorgeous rosewood-faced early fretless Custom. This bass is one of the few in that transitional period between the Pro Bass and the Custom. It features the three laminate layers between the core and facings rather than the single layer that has become standard. It also has an awesome 7-piece "skunk stripe" down the center of both front and back facings.
JG1153Duncan has a note: "I am the 2nd owner of JG1153 which bought around 1985. It was originally a clear finish lined fretless and completed 30-Mar-1981. At the time I got it there was a fairly large ding around the bridge pickup vol knob and all of the knobs were missing. Since I didn't really want a fretless at the time I had the body repaired and refinished in trans white and the neck fretted by Greg Curbow who was doing repairs in Atlanta at the time. This became my main bass for several years and then was put away for the next 15. In late 2003 I started playing again and for the first time contacted Pete looking for some original knobs. Surprisingly, Pete was able to find me some. Pete also looked up the bass in his black book and remembered it as being 1 of 2 or 3 ProIIe's that he built where the electronics were rear loaded, one of his first experiments before switching to the current style. The early SN was due to a leftover neck plate."
PB1656Seller says: "2 laminates sandwiched between the core and top and back. It has flame in the grain too on the top. Just incredible. I think the wood combinations are , and I may be wrong, walnut I think overe a rosewood veneer, over a Maple veneer, over purpleheart core, or a mahogany core. the side marker lines are just inside the fretboard. "
PB1680Alan tells his story: " I bought the bass second hand about 20 years ago from the shop that the drummer one of the bands I was in at the time ran, but I do not think that it was very old at the time. I believe that before the conversion to active there was a note in the original control cavity which said Mar or Mat 1982. When originally bought it was a single p/u passive Pro1 bass with volume & tone controls and a coil tap switch between those. on the small control plate. A few years later I had a second pickup made by Kent Armstrong and fitted inside a Wal p/u cover. This was put to the rear in front of the bridge. The tone control was removed (because I tended to always have it full on) and both controls were replaced by push/pull pots running volume for each p/u and coil taps when pulled up. The Hipshot D Tuner bass extender was added shortly after this. In September 1996 I took it up to Wal just for an overhaul, but while there saw another being converted, so instead of the overhaul got it converted up to 2 pu active. It always played and sounded great, but the conversion up to active u can see from the control cavity picture that it has an ash body with maple face. Prior to the conversion it only had a string guide for the A & D strings, but this changed to all 4 strings on the conversion. It is still going strong, and getting compliments on the sound regularly though slightly dinged on the front. The slight marks on the back are only tape marks where I tape dusters to the back to save that from getting knocked about."
PB1700Pete Collins said: "This chap replaced the neck with an ebony lined fretless , as i had sold it to him as a defretted rosewood board."
PB1731Nick says: "The bass came from Manchester (via E-Bay) and was in a terrible state when I got it. Looks like it has been defretted (badly),used as a fretless for a while and then refretted (badly!). I have spent hours stoning it, cleaning it, oiling it, re-soldering it, setting it up and generally nursing it back to health and I absolutely LOVE it - it sounds awesome and plays great now."
PB1748Phill says: "I won the recent fretless that was on ebay and got some history from Pete: PB 1748 was part of a batch made for a shop they have bookmatched facias on the body with black trim and no dy contours. This one is unusual because it is fretless and the pickup should be in the bridge position but it is actually at the neck- this must be why it sounds so much fatter than usual."
PB1757Pete 'The Fish' Stevens of Electric Wood, the company that makes Wal basses, provides more information: " Mick had a Wal previously, but he wanted something different. We had a piece of tulipwood that had been kicking around for years, so we decided to go with that for the top, mostly because it was a one-off piece of wood more than anything else; normally we use American walnut for our fretless tops and backs. The tulipwood is only six millimeters thick, laminated on the frontand back." Pete says he fields requests for tulipwood basses from players all over the world who hope to cop the Karn tone. "But when Mick comes down to the workshop for a set-up or for service, it doesn't matter which bass he picks up--it always sounds just like Mick Karn." The core wood of the body is Brazilian mahogany, a less dense stock appropriate for fretless instruments. The humbucking pickups and heavy cast hardware--except for the tuners--are made in-house at Electric Wood, as is the instrument's active preamp."
Mick in action : Budokan 1982, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1994, 1997, with his cherry Wal
Geraint remembers: "Just brain dumping now, there are some interesting marks in the finish on the rear caused by the previous owners (a studio in Fulham where i bought the bass 13 years ago) who lent it to one of their acts for an appearance on 'top of the pops'- how embarrassing! anyway, i've seen the clip and the bassist was wearing a bloody great studded belt! that explains the markings ;-) can't for the life of me remember who the band were or who the bassist was :-("
PB1840Former owner Mike Gutierrez states: "It was made by Wal when the company was going into laminate bodied bass's from the "Pro" series, the then custom series. It was made to test the stresses and strains of the laminates and different types of wood, and so its one of the (maybe many) forerunners to the then classic MK1 custom. 21 frets."
Bass of the month September 2003
PB1859Pre-Owner Mick Cookson says: "PB 1859 was an old schedua Wal with 14 piece laminated body/spacings. Pete only made about six I think in this configuration. I have only ever seen two of them in the flesh."
Also Pre-Owner Chris Hogarth counts: "It is made up of 39.. yes 39,,separate pieces of wood,,= 1 B/mahog core ,,11 centre lines on both sides =22,, 4 bookmatched padauk faces (as normal) 3 sandwich cores under each face=12.....TOTAL 39. The fret dots are a very good quality oyster shell with some great colours. The bass has amazing sustain and is very heavy. The string tree has been changed at some point from the normal pro bass A/D to the full one."
W2023 One curious feature of the bass is a switch between volume knob and tone knob. Apparently it sounds to switch between single pick-up and humbucker but no information was available regarding the switch either.
W2046Sam says: " I am the proud owner of an '83 4 string Mach 1 with a partial-lined fretless fingerboard. Unlike almost every other Wal i have a single humbucker pickup in the bridge position. There is one Volume and One tone pot with a pickup selector switch in between. Also unlike most Wals its Passive. Schaller Tuners, bolt on neck, lift out strings from the bridge (not like pulling them all the way through on a P-bass which really annoys me). What else can i say? It has just about all you could need. "
W2049Marco looks into the control cavity: "i opened the control cavity today, and that's what i found out... the stripe where normally is written the model and features have been removed, but i can still read the marks that the pen left on the cover: It says W2042 jan 83 wal brazilian mahogany core wenge faces indian rosewood fingerboard mine is W2049, so this one must have belonged to another bass, or maybe pete was drunk that night (wich is difficult ) "
W2053Pre-Owner J�rgen Dehmel was the bassplayer with Nena, one of Germans most successful pop bands in the 80s. The Wal can be heard on some of their albums.
W2091Trevor says: ""
W2092drumbeli says: "That bass is S/N W2092, used to be fretted but has had a v. nice defret done. It was built in '83 as part of a range of lower priced basses (one p/up, slab body, passive) as a fretless however, it sounds & plays fab, the best sounding bass I tried at the Gallery the day I bought it!"
W2111Ian Leese knows a depressing story: "The story of the ebony neck is that it was attached to W2111, a rare bodied Mach I, which a previous owner decided was too heavy and cut the body up to make it lighter. The body was also revarnished (with a brush) and some of the varnish found it's way onto the neck, which is why the neck now has a waxed finish, I had to use a fine sand paper to remove the solidified drips of varnish! A replacement body was made by an amateur builder before I purchased it for the Wal case that came with it. The replacement body was not very good, the bridge and pickups badly installed and the electrics were damaged, hence the reason the neck was removed, being the only useable part left. The stupid owner didn't realise that W2111 was an extremely rare mach I Wal, the body was solid Berlinia (no mahogany core) with Australian Walnut centre stripe and signed off by Wal himself. I still have the body for reference, but unfortunately it's totally unuseable. Such a shame."
W2180Mark says: "I have Wal W2180, a Pro I sunburst Wal which I bought in 1983 from A1 Music in Manchester (I'm the first original owner)"
W2266Previous owner description: "Serial number W2266. It was made in 1984 and was owned by a recording studio (they were very popular for recording at the time because they have a balanced output so you do not need a di box) Anyway I don't think it was ever used because there is absolutely not a mark on it. It was traded in for recording gear in a local music shop who contacted me and I bought it some years ago. Although I am a gigging bass player I have a workhorse bass which I use for gigs and some nice basses which I collect. I have not ever used the Wal on a gig so it is still pristine. It has a Brazilian mahogany core with Canadian Birds Eye Maple front and back which is laquered with a light violin colour. It has the usual laminated neck with rosewood board. There is a Wal case which is metal with a plastic covering with WAL embossed on it. It has a leather handle and a piano hinge. The original tools are in the case."
W2330Tim says: "Purchased in August, 2006 from The Bass Centre in London. Looking for a fretted neck to buy. If someone has a maple blue Mk 2 fretted 4 built from the late 80's to early 90's, might be willing to trade. E-mail is . Thanks!"
W2336The fretless is a Mk 1 from '84, and was the only Wal actually made for me by Wal himself. I went over to the UK in summer '84 (I was 19 at the time) and explained to Wal what I was after. He watched me play various basses around the workshop for awhile, then told me to come back in a couple of weeks. I did, and at that time he'd made a couple of bass bodies, both of which had American Walnut facings. I picked one, he took it down off the wall of the workshop and tapped it with his knuckle, and it produced a clear, loud F#. It just felt like the one, so that became the body of the bass. He also lowered the nut so that the strings were just about lying on the fingerboard, to get more "growl". He assured me it would take a bit of time to play in and develop its real tone, and he was right- it was a bit stiff for a few months. Eventually it developed the most outrageous, singing quality one could imagine and it's been brilliant ever since. Totally irreplaceable.
W2396Options selected and ordered directly from Wal.
W2399Cameron (then Ron) remembers: " I was working in Germany when I bought the bass, I chose the body as I came over to England on holiday to see my family, and collected the completed bass on my way back to Germany 2 weeks later. Very exiting two weeks! [...] When I bought the bass I was looked after both Wal and Pete, it is still a memorable experience of my life. I used the WAL as my sole bass for many years, at one stage I had the fretbord shaved at a guitar workshop in Dortmund as I had worn grooves in it."
W2411Chris thinks: "this was Howard Jone's "
W2423Owner's page in Japan
W2453Owner's page in Japan.
W2478Jaymi Millard says: "Needs some major help but I am in process of getting it back to serious bassplaying. I also want to find out the history on this. "
W2500Colin says: "I've owned this bass from new and it is totally imaculate, no scratchs or marks whatsoever. When I brought it in 1985 it cost �725, which was a lot of money back then.. I will never sell this bass... "
Colin says: "Strange story... Six months after I brought this bass (W2500), my freind GRANT YOUNG (Bexhill-on-Sea U.K.), came down to the factory to buy one for himself... The serial number on Grant's bass is one below mine,W2499, and he still owns it today... "
W2601 Review
W2648Michael says: "I bought the bass from new in 85 , part exchanging it for a Rickenbacker 4001 and an Ibanez Blazer and I've played it ever since although other basses have come and gone. In 1991 I moved to Ingolstadt in Germany and brought the with me. you can see it on our websites "
W2705Chris tells us: "W2705 started life as a lined fretless I sent this back to Pete 6 years ago to convert to an unlined fretless I think you have a pic of this already submitted by my friend Pete, this one now really is the best fretless I have ever used this thing SINGS no flat spots all, ALL the notes swell ,and I would never get rid of it,,my daughter has clamed it,plays it and loves it."
W2710Pete Collins states: "the Fretboard looks like rosewood but feels harder than usual rosewood i've encountered.At first i thought it had neck swapped in bass centre or fretboard is macasser ebony. "
W2714Ian (the preowner) says: "I initially spoke to Ian about the fretless sound I was looking for and he advised me to go for a rosewood fingerboard because it has a warm, woody tone. I took delivery on June 15th 1986, one day before my first son was born. This bass can be heard on the albums "After the Satellite Sings" by Bill Nelson, "Excellent Spirits" by Channel Light Vessel and "Lost Lady Found" by Vikki Clayton."
Ron says: "Special: In April 2006 I traded my W5398 (MKIII fretless 5 string) for this MKI fretless 4 string with British session player Ian Leese. I wanted to go back to just 4 strings but selling my bass and ordering a new Wal wasn't much of an option due the fact Pete isn't taking any new orders these days and there's a long waiting list, so trading was the only option. I really wanted a Wal with american Walnut facings and a ebony fretboard like W5398, Ian was willing to trade and had a MKI (I prefered the MKI body style) with american walnut facings but this bass had a rosewood fretless fretboard. Luckily Ian also had an ebody fretless neck lying around which he included (this neck used to belong to W2111(1983), a totally damaged MKI which some previous owner decided was too heavy and cut the body up to make it lighter. The stupid owner didn't realise thatW2111 was an extremely rare MK I Wal, the body was solid Berlinia (no mahogany core) with Australian Walnut centre stripe and signed off by Ian Waller himself. Ian bought this damaged bass with the idea to build a new body for it). W2714 now has the ebony neck attached to it. Later I bought the rest of W2111 from Ian with the same Idea Ian had, someday I will have Dutch luthier Jan Knooren make me a replica "wal" body for this bass (with the rosewood neck). The trade looked almost like a drug deal, I took the ferry from Rotterdam(NL) to Hull(UK), we met, opened our cases, checked each others instruments and swapped basses on a parking place!"
W2730passive EMG p-bass pickup added
W2755Sammy has something to tell: "An odd story to that is that the pickups in it are upside down. I figure that they were gonna make a right handed and a left handed 5-string but they got orders for two right handed ones and went with the pickups they had already cast. "
W2758 Review
W2814Marked up as demo bass on the inside.
W2817This is Ady's story: "I bought it new from the Bass centre 24.7.87 (I still have the reciept) for �770, after 3 days trying every bass in the shop, and whilst there enjoyed a virtuoso performance from John Entwhistle who was practicing in one corner!!!"
W2865Scott's comment: "A very resonant and punchy bass that sounds amazing even unplugged. "
W2866Todd Mossby says: "The bass itself is awesome (although I need to get it setup after the transatlantic crossing!); it has the most amazing clarity and sustain on the low end that I've ever gotten out of a bass. The mids are very punchy, and the highs are bright, but still have an amazing degree of warmth to them. "
Todd Mossby thinks: "European Burl Maple is also known as Sycamore. "
W2876Dave says: "My Wal is an '87, serial no W2876, that I believe was originally supplied with both fretted and fretless necks. I have both necks, and they both carry identical markings on the body end - hand-drawn in blue Biro, it's a cartoon-like sketch of a man's head in profile, plus the words 'Carl March 87' "
Dave remembers: "I also had another, earlier model, which I unwisely sold some time ago. This was serviced for me by Pete who looked it up in the Wal book while I was there, and was interesting because it carried a serial number configuration of which he had no recollection (and of which I have no record now). I believe it had zebrano facings, and I recall it was very heavy. It too had seen a hard life, with quite a lot of wear on the front in the 'slapping zone'! It had gold hardware, what Pete referred to as a 'school tie' stripe down the front of the body, and the volume rotary included a notched 'off' position at the end of its travel, a useful feature. The lost bass together with W2876"
W2945It was originally sold as a fret-but later augmented with a fretted neck (as it is now used) and I had Martin Sims put red leds along the side of the neck (handy for those dark gigs!) - all dets from the masking tape inside the electrics compartment. This was bought second hand in April 1996 in Suffolk.
W2996 Originally fretless, Fretted @ Electric Wood Dec. 93 by Pete
W3006Jeffrey speaks: "This is the twin of W3059, with Honduran Mahogany Facings from the Old House [...] Graham (Gillett) really played this bass, and it's got some cool wear on it, though the neck is close to factory perfect! The sound is as described on the other one; amazing, frankly, and rather light to boot. "
W3017 1 humbucker - centrally positioned, passive Volume & tone controls and series-parallel (?) switch. Neck & headstock black lacquered. Minor damage on headstock otherwise very good condition.
Gary says: ""treble-cut" switch on control panel. For the woods used and the date, I am dependent on the previous owner. "
W3024Gold fitments. Originally fretless but altered to fretless.
W3059Bassist Magazine wrote in an Embassy Special: "A Custom, this one a fretted 4-string Standard, with a Rosewood fretboard and one of only two produced with a Honduras Mahogany facing to the body, which in fact was previously a step from a stately home! This instrument belongs to The Embassy's David Shields, and is tonally very impressive, giving Dave his own sound. It's been toured, gigged and recorded with, is full of character and not for sale. "
W3066Michael's proud: "Tigerwood is evidently very unusual and not very easy to get by. I think I was lucky to get hold of this one. "
About the sound of it: "The tigerwood is really amasing. It has a very rich and warm tone; a round low end, a distinctive mid, and a warm and clear sounding high end (not the cold, bright, metallic sound that many players like). This bass has a more '70s sound than the schedua faced which is more to my liking. "
W3074Some history of the bass: "I'am the second owner, bass was made for Laurent Kinckel who ordered to refinish the bass in High black gloss by luthier Patrice blanc (grenoble fr.) , very well done, although in the future it may return to it's original facings."
? Review
W3131Michael says: "I bought this Mach1 about five years ago, still wrapped in plastic. I will never sell it, nor will I never play on anything else than a wal. "
W3167Lowell's basses
Pete wrote "specially made for Clive 'the eyebrows'"
Lowell says: "The MIDI bass is indeed Padouk (facings over Mahogany) under that "interesting" colored paint. As expected, it sounds a bit brighter than a shedua / walnut model. Also, because of the fret system you really can't bend notes very well - but it is what it is - unique! Also, the MIDI portion is fully functional. "
W3176Bassist with Michael Nyman. Martin with his old 4 string ash (the matching fretless twin now belongs to Colin Edwin)
W3285Olli remembers: "Bought Nov 89 in K�ln, Germany "
W3299Atakan remembers: "My other Wal, a 5 string which has had a bit of a history. It started life as a midi bass but was changed to a fretless in April 1994 at the factory. I bought it from musical exchanges in Birmingham during october 1996 and by that time it was fretted. I assume that it was made around sept 1989 and the cavity plate looks to have been signed off by carl. I was told that it did a 'Take That' world tour although that aint why I bought it!! "
W3306 According to the original owner, Gareth Morgan, the bass was featured in the UK's Bassist Magazine in their "My Bass Is" feature.
W3530Pete Collins says: " It's my favourite of all the Wals I've owned. "
Bass of the month July, 2002
W35341 pickup wired using 2 pickup electronics!
W3616Owner's page in Japan
W3646There are two strips of tape on the control cavity cover, one on top of the other. The first has written on it - W3646 Dec. 1991, Schedua facings, Mahogany core. The second (top) strip of tape has written on it - PB1476 Rebuilt May 95, Schedua facings, 5 string Midi Bass. Both strips of tape are signed by Pete Stevens (using the distinctive Fish ideogram).
W3648Bassist Magazine wrote in an Embassy Special: "A pair of 5-string basses built for John Vanaman, depicting his name on the headstocks, from a batch of wood that John himself provided. (Note similarity of facing grain.) This is English Elm, a protected wood which cannot be normally used but originates from a tree that blew down during the October 1987 gales, so became available. The fretless features an ebony fingerboard with unusual top edge lines and dot markers. It possesses a soft tone with sweet upright bass overtones. The fretted features a rosewood board with dot markers to the face. Both instruments provide two octaves, have brass nuts and gold fittings. Incidentally, top-edge lining can be provided to order at extra cost. "
These scans were taken from Bassist magazine. They did a two part Wal Special and included a feature on The Embassy.: " In search of examples of Electric Wood's historic production of Wal basses, we travelled to Mansfield's Embassy to view their famous 'Wall of Wals'. It turned out to be even more impressive than we could possibly have anticipated with quite a few recent additions. The basses are spaciously presented and look like the works of art they undoubtedly are as you ponder their appeal over a cup of welcome coffee from Embassy ambassadors John Vanaman and David Shields, but their true worth as top class working instruments is only fully revealed on plugging them in. The power and diversity of tone is then unleashed as beauty makes way for the beast. With so many instruments to show, we'll try to do the collection justice with a Walfest pictorial gallery depicting the evolution of a modern classic. Extra comments from Pete 'The Fish' Stevens of Electric Wood.
The Embassy are true devotees of the Wal tradition. As the top collector bar none in the country, they are adamant about not devaluing Wal basses by succumbing to reducing retail prices, whether new or second hand. Their price guide is set by Wal's Pete after each and every bass is returned to Electric Wood for refurbishing. this way they can guarantee that every second-hand bass is as good as it can possibly be. It's also important to note that they always have a good selection of vintage Wal cases in stock, too. Treat yourself to a visit, and find out why these instruments rightly hold such sway in the bass world.
Gallery, Wall of Wals, Text page 1, page 2"

John Vanaman himself corrects: "The wood used for these basses is English Walnut. "
W3703 Ron has posted some photos of the bass
W3710 Bass of the month May, 2002
No SN Review
W3841Former owner Steve Chesney says: "This bass has an extremely funky twang to it. It sounds simply awsome."
W3861Peter remembers: "The fretted 4-string is a Mk II from 1994. I was about to go on the road with Seal, and needed a modern 4-string Wal (my other one was the '78 Pro Bass mentioned above, which wasn't really roadworthy at that point). I phoned Pete and said "Make me a nice-looking 4-string fretted bass. Whatever you think is cool is fine, I'm sure I'll like it." A while later, this lovely flamed-Schedua thing turned up in the post, and I was pretty awestruck. It has a ton of bottom end and plays like a dream. Also, as Pete said, it "looks nice on the tele"."
W3866Hipshot Bass Extender key. Custom brass nut with narrower string spacing. All specials specified at time of construction.
Victor thinks: "First Wal four-string to use inserts (as used in six string) rather than standard neck bolts/plate."
W3867 Bass of the month January, 2002
W3882Peter says: " The black 5-string is my main baby. It's a Mk II from 1994, built by Pete. The main unusual thing about it is its neck width. I asked Pete to use the same string spacing as the 4-string models, rather than cramping the strings together a bit like usual on the 5-string basses. As a result, Pete had to make a one-off new string retainer to accomodate the extra width, and apparently the guy who sprays the necks phoned up and asked "What's this cricket bat you've sent round?!" I do 99% of my work on this instrument- it sounds and plays like nothing else. It's truly irreplaceable- I've played other 5-string Wals, and none felt or sounded like this one. "
W3886Pear wood sidemarkings and a real "singer".
W3898Owner says: "This bass was used during recording by Lusk, which featured ex-Tool member Paul D'Amour. "
PB1476There are two strips of tape on the control cavity cover, one on top of the other. The first has written on it - W3646 Dec. 1991, Schedua facings, Mahogany core. The second (top) strip of tape has written on it - PB1476 Rebuilt May 95, Schedua facings, 5 string Midi Bass. Both strips of tape are signed by Pete Stevens (using the distinctive Fish ideogram).
W3937Olli says: "Blue LEDS installed in the fretboard -00 by myself. Gold fittings. Matching headstock (white) "
W3939Bassist Magazine wrote in an Embassy Special: "A 5-string fretless, with a brass nut and superb flame maple on both the headstock and outside sections of the 5-piece laminate neck. The classic plain ebony board is from Pete's stash of speecial woods and contrasts well against the beautiful and unusual cross-grained olive ash facing. Black pickups feature wood grain effect and the bridge is in black anodised finish. "
Ebay Text: "Made in 1995 for the owner of The Embassy music store in Mansfield, and sold to its present owner in 1996, this beautiful instrument has a body of Mahogany sandwiched between two lovely pieces of English Olive Ash, a 5-piece neck and, of course, an ebony fingerboard. The electrics consist of a complex and sophisticated active system with D.I. built-in. Serial number is W3939. "
W3941Attila speaks german: "Habe mir den Bass damals extra fertigen lassen, weil es mit meiner damaligen Band 'Maria Lux' richtig los ging. Highlight war dann die Sting Deutschland-Tour als Support Act. Seitdem spiele ich keinen anderen Bass mehr live, denn der Bass ist einfach ne 'Waffe' und hatt mich nie im Stich gelassen. Egal ob auf grossen Buehnen oder bei Club-Gigs, der Wal Bass Sound setzt sich immer durch!!! "
W3950seller says: "This example is a 21-fret, bolt-on neck with an ebony fretboard (I think all Wal's are bolt-on construction) in an ivory white finish. The headstock has a yellowish tint to it, because like an old Fender, the clear lacquer applied to the face of the peghead over the decal has yellowed over time. The hardware is gold plated [...] The bass weighs 10 lb. 9 oz. "
Photo album of owner
W3954 Very nice photos by Bunnybass.
Lowell's basses
W30496 This bass is also known as "Fifi"...
Lowell's basses
W3988Keith says:: "This one I asked Pete to make especially for me (to match W2945) - all details again from the masking tape inside the bass. They are a gorgeous pair of matching basses, and I love them to bits!!"
W12397Bass of the month April, 2002
Lucky Gareth tells: "The story of this bass is quite interesting. My wife had met Pete a few times and thought he was a real character (which I'm sure we'd all agree he is). She wanted to give me something really special for my birthday a few years back and decided a new Mk III to go with "Fifi" would be a great gift (not wrong there!). So, she called Pete and asked what light coloured wood he had in stock, as all my other basses were dark, like walnuts and the like. Pete suggested the beech that he had in, so off we went to check it out. He didn't have a lot, and he cut it as only he knows how to bring out the figure, and "blondie" was born.
"I decided to make the bass my ultimate Wal, so I had a plain rosewood board with no dots, red SIMs (like Fifi), a headstock veneer, and the most important change... the custom pickup position.
"The moved neck pickup cam from esentially from my youth, when one of my favourite players was a guy named Neil Murray - his custom basses always had the pickups biased towards the bridge. I always wanted to position my hand a little bit forward from the bridge pickup, but not as far as the neck, so this seemed like agreat idea.
"To be honest, I don't think it sounds radically different, which I think is mainly because the Wal circuitry shapes the sound so much nayway. It is certainly a very punchy bass, but that may also be down to the beech - which is really close grained and hard." "
W15797Jeffrey says: "This bass plays and sounds wonderful. I really like the gold hardware and the blue finish combo. "
W27997Maurizio says: "I travel a lot and relocate every 2 years or so - many countries in Europe and in Asia - therefore humidity level changes on a regular basis. Among the many basses that I own - all high end, hand made instruments - Wal's neck is the only one that never lets me down. truly the best bass I have ever played. "
W22198 Bass of the month February, 2002
W6398Pete Collins says: "I was shocked how easy to play it was and how light too ;The high "c" felt and sounded nice too. "
Pre-owner Steve Weston says: "That Bass has quite a history. According to Pete it was originally made specifically in collaboration with Martin Simms for display at the Music show in Frankfurt (I think, or possibly NAMM) It was the fist time Martin had used blue/green LEDs and the Paint job was made to match. I'm also told it was the first Wal 6 string to have LEDs. "
Bass of the month June, 2002
W26199SC says: "It is a fairly dense wood, which gives its reflective qualities warmth, clarity and punch. "
W11899Steve says: "The tonal quality is rich and warm sounding. Although this bass has a high gloss finish, the walnut resonance can be heard with ease. "
Kaya/ParatacomaOwner's description: "This bass was built for me just under a year ago and is in mint condition. It has a mahogany core with Kaya facings for the body and paratacoma for the finger board. It is fitted with two outputs, one quarter inch and one balanced XLR. The electronics are active and are fitted with pull pots giving frequency boosts on each pickup. I have used this bass only in the studio and have kept it in superb working order. It has been serviced and taken care of by the builder whenever I'm in England and is a joy to play. "
Pete (Steven)'s words about the fretboard wood (uncensored and unconfirmed): "Ah yes, the paratacoma fingerboard. I remember when Pete first got this wood he called it 'f%^&ed up', then reconsidered and started to call it 'parrot sh*t wood'! The man has a way with words. I must admit though, the piece I saw was wild... "
W4013Owner's page in Japan
W4029Owner says: "Ordered it in December of '99 and received it in January of '00 "
W4056Justin is well known for being the bassist for Beck, IMA Robot, Air, Tori Amos, Macy Gray and others.
W4058Scott says: "Mahogany body, 11 lbs. total weight, ebony fingerboard. Lots of low-end with punch."
W4061Jim says: "It's serial number is W 4064 which according to the paper under the battery cover makes it manufactured in February 2001. It is unique in the fact that there is another note which says it had replacement body and electronics in 2003, whilst retaining the original neck. "
90701Alan says: "I own #907o1, a mkIII with 'crazy' maple facings (some quilt AND some flame), mahogany core, satin finish, rosewood fretboard, gold hardware, 5 string. Not sure of the neck woods, beyond maple on the outside, the stringers look like they could be walnut (not as tightly grained as mahogany), and from what I hear, it seems the two middle pieces are probably hornbeam. She was birthed in July of 2001, I started paying on her a year after that, and just got her this past May."
Ian Gold Hardware. Named after Erik's Son Ian
JoshuaNamed after Erik's Son Joshua.
W10102Lowell says: "This is my "aquamarine dream" Wal that I dreamed up and Pete built. "
Lowell's basses
Bass of the month March, 2002
? Bass of the month August, 2002
W4080 Bass of the month October, 2002
W211102Sascha likes his bass: " Great and also "punchy" tone with a killer B-string and top playability."
W81003 Bass of the month December, 2003
W291204Paul says: "This was custom built for someone, they changed their mind, and it was sent to The Gallery in Camden Town, from whom I purchased it."


  1. how could i include my bass in this list?

  2. I'm really sorry. This is now just a historical document now (and increasingly out of date). It was compiled a number of years ago by a giuy in Germany on his university web space. There was so much interesting info on it that I wanted to make sure that it was preserved before the university cleaned it's hard drives and it was all lost.

    I'm afraid I don't have time to keep it being revised so it isn't being updated. As I said, it's just a historical document now. Cheers Trev