Saturday 9 May 2015

My Basses Part 3 - Wal Fretless

When I started my hunt for a good fretless bass, I had already been playing a fretted Wal for a couple of years, a solid ash model, originally made for my bass playing friend Martin Elliott.
At the time,  I was looking to replace a cheap and cheerful Westone Thunder 1A fretless with something a bit more serious. 
I opted for another Wal for two main reasons, one being that I was already comfortable with the string spacing and fretboard feel, so making the leap to playing fretless was, I reasoned, sure to be less problematic, and secondly, I was confident that in choosing another Wal I could be sure the craftsmanship and materials would mean I was going to find another really great instrument.

Wal basses have become very sought after in recent years, but at the time, a secondhand Wal could be found fairly regularly in the pages of Loot (…now replaced by Ebay and the like) for somewhere around the £400 - £500 mark, which seems amazing today given the prices they go for.

Made in 1984 at Electric Wood in the UK, my Wal fretless has a Brazillian Mahogany Core with American Cherry wood facings and an Indian Ebony fretboard.

Wal's own design active pick-ups, extremely flexible in terms of tone. Note worn varnish above the pick-ups, I  had the bass revarnished by Electric Wood some years ago.

XLR output socket next to the main output visible below the controls. This only works when there is a jack in the main output, it's very useful when recording for taking a signal direct from the bass.

Currently strung with D'Addario Flatwounds.
View of the Bridge.

Headstock, Hipshot D- Tuner not visible.

Serial number on the backplate.

This is probably my most played bass, I used it almost exclusively for a number of years, below a selection of tracks, old and newer:

I am lucky enough to own three Wals, my most recent acquisition being another 80's era fretted which was previously owned by Jack Monck and given a thorough working out on The Incident tour and album with Porcupine Tree.

Bye for now,


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