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Ant_On_Bass

So has anyone cloned a Wal?

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Since I was at it, I decided to make a series of short samples:

https://soundcloud.com/ballpointmusic/sets/lets-see-if-it-sounds-like-a-wal-spoiler-it-doesnt

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Percy Jones sounded great on a Wal. Chris Squire's 'Awaken' on a Wal triple-neck is amazing. Geddy Lee on a Wal was flappy and sounded awful. Down to the production presumably.

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IMHO the Wal sound has very little to do with the filter preamp... Whilst I find it an intuitive and versatile control system, for me it's the multicoil pickups that give the instruments their distinctive voice.

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[quote name='CamdenRob' timestamp='1434870175' post='2803361']
IMHO the Wal sound has very little to do with the filter preamp... Whilst I find it an intuitive and versatile control system, for me it's the multicoil pickups that give the instruments their distinctive voice.
[/quote]

I absolutely agree. I think it would be possible to approximate that sound even further by employing different pick ups, yet I believe this simple experiment is interesting in that it shows that esoteric preamps results are actually rather easy to mimic, if not to achieve altogether.

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[quote name='biro' timestamp='1434878792' post='2803448']


I absolutely agree. I think it would be possible to approximate that sound even further by employing different pick ups, yet I believe this simple experiment is interesting in that it shows that esoteric preamps results are actually rather easy to mimic, if not to achieve altogether.
[/quote]

Yes definitely, a low pass filter in the signal path is a low pass filter, be it onboard the bass or a software equilivent.

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Hi folks,

I've read all this topic and just can't agree with all I've read.

Put it simply : Can anybody tell why Mick Karn had the same sound on Travis Bean and Wal, or why Paul McCartney had also the same sound playing his Höfner, Wal, Rickenbacker or anything else ?

The answer is not in the instrument itself but more in the sound one wants to hear, in fact when you have been starting playing, you had a very precise sound in mind and you always try to tend to THAT sound.

I also bought a fretless Wal many years ago as I'm a big fan of Mick Karn and in my hands it sounded always a bit nasal with a huge growl, and after a decade I realised that this is MY sound.

Anyway, I discovered the ACG basses thanks to this topic and I'd like to put my hands on one.

And Joe Leitner is so close to Mick Karn that I thought it was Mick Karn himself playing : congratulations !


Tony.

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Biro, The problem with doing the filter processing outside of the bass is that you miss out on one of the most import aspects of the sound which is that there are separate filters for each pickup.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1434918062' post='2803878']
Biro, The problem with doing the filter processing outside of the bass is that you miss out on one of the most import aspects of the sound which is that there are separate filters for each pickup.
[/quote]

Yours is a very valid point. I wonder if I could mimic that by using a dry / wet control on the low pass filter plugin.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1434918062' post='2803878']
Biro, The problem with doing the filter processing outside of the bass is that you miss out on one of the most import aspects of the sound which is that there are separate filters for each pickup.
[/quote]

[quote name='biro' timestamp='1434973894' post='2804249']
Yours is a very valid point. I wonder if I could mimic that by using a dry / wet control on the low pass filter plugin.
[/quote]

it is a very valid point and one I hadn't thought of... whatever you do you will be effecting the combined signal from both pickups rather than an independent filter in the signal path from each pickup, which can only be done from onboard the bass.

I like to use a sound under acoustic songs where I roll the filter for the neck pickup down to give a nice plump round tone, but I keep the bridge pickup filter fully open to add some deifnition and clarity. You couldn't achieve this by just applying a filter to the entire signal.

Edited by CamdenRob

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Very much the point of having the two filters is the ability to use the bass in the way CR mentioned and once you used to this setup I find it hard to go back to the global EQ and treating both pickups in the same way. This also makes the blend one of the most powerful controls on the bass.

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[quote name='skelf' timestamp='1435311857' post='2807477']
Very much the point of having the two filters is the ability to use the bass in the way CR mentioned and once you used to this setup I find it hard to go back to the global EQ and treating both pickups in the same way. This also makes the blend one of the most powerful controls on the bass.
[/quote]
Absolutely agree

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On 26/03/2013 at 16:26, Ant_On_Bass said:

I'm Interested to know if anyone has managed to clone a Wal or at least clone the pickups? I really love the way they sound but could never afford the prices these go for, so was just wondering if anyone has managed to get a replica made and whether they do actually sound like the original?

I'm currently in the process of creating a Wal Mk 2 replica that Justin Chancellor uses. I'm getting the body custom made and using the electronics and pick ups from a G&L Tribute L2000 bass I have. It's the closest sounding to a Wal bass without the crazy price tag. I'll be having these made for sale soon. Takes 3 months to get them made compared to the Wal waiting list of 3 years. If anyone is interested in purchasing one let me know. There are plenty of custom options. My name is George hit me up on fb.com/georgemgiraldo

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On 26/06/2015 at 12:44, skelf said:

This also makes the blend one of the most powerful controls on the bass.

I know, this happened five years ago, and I am on the same side of the topic...

Blend is usually the first pot in the signal chain after the pickups in an active or a passive bass. Most of the basses have a hi-Z ("passive") mixing. There are only few exceptions, like Audere, EMG and John East. How do you see the difference with a mixer stage compared to the passive mixing?

I put a Noll MixPot to my Modulus Graphite Quantum SPi and the active blend turned the sound different. I liked the result of the modification. Tone (treble & bass) was handled by bartolini, but it was - as most "activities" are - the only battery powered part of the circuitry. I think that the active mixing has not been talked so much. But it is a detail that serves our purpose in finding better sounds from our instruments.

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I bet Mc Gyver could build you one out of a broken tennis bat, the wire and magnets from the burned out motor of a propeller hat and a piece of discarded barbwire.  

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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2 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

What's Would be the point of a wal clone without the electronics? Something that just looks a bit like a wal? 

Pretty much.

There's a few basses out there, where the tone is largely down to the electronics. GB, Wal, BBNE2, Schack... without those bits... well...

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1 hour ago, Woodinblack said:

What's Would be the point of a wal clone without the electronics? Something that just looks a bit like a wal? 

Which is what many people seem to want 🙂 🙂 🙂

I fiddled around for years trying to replicate the Wal electronics:  buffer for each pickup, active low pass filter for each pickup and THEN an active blend (mixer) - It's not that hard really (though the Wal "pick attack" function is a bit more complicated ....).  The buffering, separate filters and "mixer" effectively put the pickups in series as their filtered signals add, and they don't load each other the way the pickups in, say, a passive Jazz bass do. Also as the pickups don't conduct any current, they don't filter the signal themselves, so you get a very flat frequency response.

Later on I bought some John East ACG-EQ-01 electronics which do what my own design did (only better and more reliably); they do the same as and far more than the Wal electronics as everything is adjustable (filter Q, pick attack filter etc).  The bass with that setup now overlaps in sound with a Wal but sure as hell can't do all the things a Wal can.

I eventually gave up and just bought a Wal... and there is no comparison really; the real thing just works "as a whole" and has a huge range of sounds (there is no "Wal sound" really).  The electronics certainly play a part; they have a pleasingly organic fuzziness when driven hard - which the ACG-EQ-01 doesn't (it's clean until it clips).  But I still think it isn't "just" the electronics.

I think if you built a mahogany bass with a stiff and stable neck, added some Bass Culture "Wal Buckers" and John E's electronics, you would have something very like ... but still  not quite the same as it wouldn't do that slight fuzziness the same way.   

This one for instance; which the maker (MPU) says wasn't 1:1, but close:

image.thumb.png.d45dd22aac3171856981ced81a02cda7.png

 

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2 minutes ago, NickA said:

I fiddled around for years trying to replicate the Wal electronics:  buffer for each pickup, active low pass filter for each pickup and THEN an active blend (mixer) - It's not that hard really (though the Wal "pick attack" function is a bit more complicated ....).  The buffering, separate filters and "mixer" effectively put the pickups in series as their filtered signals add, and they don't load each other the way the pickups in, say, a passive Jazz bass do. Also as the pickups don't conduct any current, they don't filter the signal themselves, so you get a very flat frequency response.

Later on I bought some John East ACG-EQ-01 electronics which do what my own design did (only better and more reliably); they do the same as and far more than the Wal electronics as everything is adjustable (filter Q, pick attack filter etc).  The bass with that setup now overlaps in sound with a Wal but sure as hell can't do all the things a Wal can.

Surely that again is not the point? You can stick any old pickups through a couple of preamps to eliminate the interference between the picksup, or even just buy some EMGs which have that already done.

But that doesn't give you individual string buffering to get rid of inter string loading. That is the wals main feature. Not knocking wal at all, I am sure there basses are nice, played one once, it was pretty good, seemed a bit like an overwater really, too much for me to be interested in (and also too heavy). Unplugged, nothing hugely different. But plugged in, elecronically, unique.  

I think the idea of doing a 'wal clone' would have to be about the electronics.

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The Wal pickups do have separate coils for each string (two for each string in fact), but they are not then separately buffered; they are connected in parallel within the pickup.  The earlier Pro IIe basses had the option to switch the coils in series or parallel (there is a little switch on the pickup body), but it was dropped on the Customs (don't know why).  So the individual coils do indeed load each other (string to string).  

As you say ... just like having individually buffered active pickups (like the MECs in my Dolphin). 

I don't honestly know what the advantage in all those separate coils really is.  Anyone?

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7 hours ago, NickA said:

I don't honestly know what the advantage in all those separate coils really is.  Anyone?

USP that adds to the Wal voodoo.

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14 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

What's Would be the point of a wal clone without the electronics? Something that just looks a bit like a wal? 

 

11 hours ago, NickA said:

Which is what many people seem to want 🙂 🙂 🙂

But there's plenty off people who want that sort of thing. 

Think about the numerous Rickenbacker threads where it turns out that what most people want is not a Rickenbacker, but a P-Bass with a Rickenbacker holographically overlaid on it.

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21 hours ago, itu said:

There are only few exceptions, like Audere, EMG and John East.

And the now rarer than rare EBS Pre or Leduc EL-5 (the EL-10 being a twin EL-5).

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17 hours ago, NickA said:

The Wal pickups do have separate coils for each string (two for each string in fact), but they are not then separately buffered; they are connected in parallel within the pickup.  The earlier Pro IIe basses had the option to switch the coils in series or parallel (there is a little switch on the pickup body), but it was dropped on the Customs (don't know why).  So the individual coils do indeed load each other (string to string).  

OK, that makes no sense. I assumed they were individually buffered. Well that removes the only bit of interest I had in them.

See the first time I was actually 'blown away' by a sound was the hexafuzzz on the original Roland Guitar Synths like the GR300 (was that the blue one)? Where the sound from each string was taken, buffered, distorted and then put together, it got rid of a lot of 'noise' and gave it an amazing sound.

So I always wanted to do a separate string buffer pickup on a bass, but unfortunately I am just incredibly lazy so I haven't had a chance to do it yet.

17 hours ago, NickA said:

I don't honestly know what the advantage in all those separate coils really is.  Anyone?

Can't see any point at all.

What are these pickups you spoke of?

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