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So, my old Wal Pro IIE....

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John Taylor with a Wal Pro on TOTP:

Although I remember reading that JT  had only borrowed the bass and was not at all keen on it. 

 

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2 hours ago, Misdee said:

John Taylor with a Wal Pro on TOTP:

Although I remember reading that JT  had only borrowed the bass and was not at all keen on it. 

 

Mark King said he tried one too, when he was looking for his first proper bass, but wasn’t keen. Then he found the Jaydee, and the rest is history. 

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Posted (edited)
On 12/05/2020 at 21:38, roger said:

I have never played a Wal and the only urge I’ve ever felt to own one  is because of its value (sad I know!) I’m sure they play great but what I struggle to get a grip of is they’re just ‘bolt on’ and the headstock isn’t even ‘angled’ back, cosmetic maybe but that doesn’t justify the prices, whereas if you look at something like a NT thumb bass, it looks stunning👍 And probably at least half the value of a Wal (S/H) construction/cosmetics wise the thumb appears a better buy (btw, haven’t played one of those either 😆)
 

It could be that they are priced a little high. But if it's "that" sound you're after nothing else will get you close (at least nothing I have tried).

I'd guess a lot of hours goes into making one and also the cost of the materials. They don't seem to hang about long when one is for sale, I guess the used market and long waiting list for a new build affects the price as well.

Go try one :)

Edited by Highfox
smelling

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15 minutes ago, Highfox said:

It could be that they are priced a little high. But if it's "that" sound you're after nothing else will get you close (at least nothing I have tried).

I'd guess a lot of hours goes into making one and also the cost of the materials. They don't seem to hang about long when one is for sale, I guess the used market and long waiting list for a new build affects the price as well.

Go try one :)

I would love to try one, see what it’s all about👍 

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Posted (edited)
On 12/05/2020 at 19:38, roger said:

but what I struggle to get a grip of is they’re just ‘bolt on’ and the headstock isn’t even ‘angled’ back

...I would struggle to see either of those as an inherently negative factor... a well done bolt on neck is no worse or better than a set neck or through neck... just different. And an angled headstock often demands a scarf joint at the end of the neck (unless you’re going to be very wasteful with wood..). The stepped approach used by Wal allows the same laminates to run through to the  end of the headstock with no jointing across the axis of the neck. Again, not worse or better just a different and perfectly valid approach.

A thought on the Warwick comparison... all the hardware on a Wal is proprietary and made by Wal from string guides to knobs to bridges... let alone the pickups and electrics. The Warwick (like most luthier built basses, even) will mostly feature off the shelf hardware. And there will be significantly more man hours and hand carving from just two luthiers going into a Wal, which costs. Even the best Warwicks will probably start their lives on a series of CNC routers before being hand finished by any one of a few dozen workers in the factory.  Not better or worse, just a different approach.

It’s like wondering why a chair from an artisanal craftsman builder costs more than a top of the range chair from a  high street store. You can sit on both of them but they are different animals built to a different philosophy.

And admittedly, very expensive...

Edited by TrevorR

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46 minutes ago, TrevorR said:

...I would struggle to see either of those as an inherently negative factor... a well done bolt on neck is no worse or better than a set neck or through neck... just different. And an angled headstock often demands a scarf joint at the end of the neck (unless you’re going to be very wasteful with wood..). The stepped approach used by Wal allows the same laminates to run through to the  end of the headstock with no jointing across the axis of the neck. Again, not worse or better just a different and perfectly valid approach.

A thought on the Warwick comparison... all the hardware on a Wal is proprietary and made by Wal from string guides to knobs to bridges... let alone the pickups and electrics. The Warwick (like most luthier built basses, even) will mostly feature off the shelf hardware. And there will be significantly more man hours and hand carving from just two luthiers going into a Wal, which costs. Even the best Warwicks will probably start their lives on a series of CNC routers before being hand finished by any one of a few dozen workers in the factory.  Not better or worse, just a different approach.

It’s like wondering why a chair from an artisanal craftsman builder costs more than a top of the range chair from a  high street store. You can sit on both of them but they are different animals built to a different philosophy.

And admittedly, very expensive...

Thing is though, the early Warwicks are also hand made so far as I’m aware, and you can pick up a used early Thumb for less than half the price (a third even) of a used Wal. In my considerable experience of both, the Warwick will typically be better built. The Wal sound is unique & great, and obviously I’d like another, but none of the many Customs or Pros I’ve played have really stood up build-wise compared to many of the more recent top luthiers. Neither of mine was close to my early Warwicks, or my Seis, and compared to my custom Alembic they looked like I’d built them. It wasn’t even remotely close. Now I’m sure they’re better built now, but tbh they would have to be, because on build quality alone the competition had left them behind. 

Probably the closest UK luthiers in terms of having almost all their own parts made more or less in house would be Overwater, Status and Jaydee (with a nod to ACG and GB re electronics), and all of those are far cheaper than a Wal. You can get a Starchild Jaydee, which contains a considerable amount of work, for less than half the starting price of a Wal.

As pointed out earlier in the thread, the fact that they are so much more expensive now than they were, comparatively speaking, speaks volumes. 
 

 

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8 hours ago, 4000 said:

Thing is though, the early Warwicks are also hand made so far as I’m aware, and you can pick up a used early Thumb for less than half the price (a third even) of a used Wal. In my considerable experience of both, the Warwick will typically be better built. The Wal sound is unique & great, and obviously I’d like another, but none of the many Customs or Pros I’ve played have really stood up build-wise compared to many of the more recent top luthiers. Neither of mine was close to my early Warwicks, or my Seis, and compared to my custom Alembic they looked like I’d built them. It wasn’t even remotely close. Now I’m sure they’re better built now, but tbh they would have to be, because on build quality alone the competition had left them behind. 

Probably the closest UK luthiers in terms of having almost all their own parts made more or less in house would be Overwater, Status and Jaydee (with a nod to ACG and GB re electronics), and all of those are far cheaper than a Wal. You can get a Starchild Jaydee, which contains a considerable amount of work, for less than half the starting price of a Wal.

As pointed out earlier in the thread, the fact that they are so much more expensive now than they were, comparatively speaking, speaks volumes. 
 

 

4000, so you really believe Wal make everything? The bridge is probably cast by someone in slough, saddles turned by a small engineering firm up the road and assembled by Wal, I think the tuners ate Schaller? The knobs are injection moulded from anywhere etc etc (I’ll give you the electrics though👍😆)

Wal use lovely looking bits of wood though, but then so do the guys on the forum that make their own wonderful basses too, it aint hard to source a nice bit of wood👍

I used to own a couple of very expensive early panerai watches, I loved them but over the years thought about it and it came to me that the movement was a $300 generic ETA (modified and engraved by panerai) with is what the majority of what we think of as ‘high end watch makers’ use, 

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The way Paul makes them these days Wal basses are up there with the very best for craftsmanship.

A couple of touches on my 2017 MK3 standout for me as examples of going the extra mile.

L0jOGaf.jpg

For example the Figured Maple facing I choose was slightly too small. So Paul went with a triple laminate to make up for the tiny shortfall rather then go with a different facing.

zeX70vU.jpg

And to keep things even, he also did it on the back face.

mvS2z7A.jpg

As much attention goes into the back facings as the front.

Mh15ARR.jpg

Similar level of detail on the headstock facing as well.

IUN0aSe.jpg

Along with perfect balance, playability and the tone (which is the real reason anyone buys a Wal), I think they are up there with the very best 🙂

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3 hours ago, roger said:

4000, so you really believe Wal make everything? The bridge is probably cast by someone in slough, saddles turned by a small engineering firm up the road and assembled by Wal, I think the tuners ate Schaller? The knobs are injection moulded from anywhere etc etc (I’ll give you the electrics though👍😆)

Wal use lovely looking bits of wood though, but then so do the guys on the forum that make their own wonderful basses too, it aint hard to source a nice bit of wood👍

I used to own a couple of very expensive early panerai watches, I loved them but over the years thought about it and it came to me that the movement was a $300 generic ETA (modified and engraved by panerai) with is what the majority of what we think of as ‘high end watch makers’ use, 

Oh I’m sure someone makes the bridge etc for them, but I’m sure that’s the case for people like Overwater as well. The point was they’re not just bought in off the shelf. 😉

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, 4000 said:

Probably the closest UK luthiers in terms of having almost all their own parts made more or less in house would be Overwater, Status and Jaydee (with a nod to ACG and GB re electronics), and all of those are far cheaper than a Wal. You can get a Starchild Jaydee, which contains a considerable amount of work, for less than half the starting price of a Wal.

I think Gus have the greatest proportion of their instruments produced in-house. On my black 5-string bass only the pickups (made specifically for Gus by Aaron Armstrong IIRC), the machine heads (Hipshot), the Schaller Straplocks and the electronic components are bought in ready made.

Edited by BigRedX
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3 hours ago, CamdenRob said:

The way Paul makes them these days Wal basses are up there with the very best for craftsmanship.

A couple of touches on my 2017 MK3 standout for me as examples of going the extra mile.

L0jOGaf.jpg

For example the Figured Maple facing I choose was slightly too small. So Paul went with a triple laminate to make up for the tiny shortfall rather then go with a different facing.

zeX70vU.jpg

And to keep things even, he also did it on the back face.

mvS2z7A.jpg

As much attention goes into the back facings as the front.

Mh15ARR.jpg

Similar level of detail on the headstock facing as well.

IUN0aSe.jpg

Along with perfect balance, playability and the tone (which is the real reason anyone buys a Wal), I think they are up there with the very best 🙂

That’s lovely, but not that difficult to do for any decent luthier; I’d expect stuff like that from any of the top builders and many of the smaller ones (Everson springs to mind). There are many builders working to that level of craftsmanship and even beyond, these days. I’ve sat and watched  quite a few great builders making instruments and have spent many, many hours in Sei HQ watching what they do. 

The price of used Wals really sky-rocketed when they became unobtainable new. Then when they became available new again, IMO the bar was kind of set. Well, that and Tool. 😉

But hey, if you’ve got the money and only a Wal will do, then go for it. 😁 They are very nice basses, undoubtedly, and I’d still like another. 

One thing that I’ve found interesting, I’ve seen one or two people over the years who have kind of retired their Wals (too valuable etc) in favour of Stingrays, or who have played both side by side. I’ve never been able to get anything like a Wal Sound from a Ray, so I’d be interested to hear other people’s experiences. Maybe I’ve been doing something wrong.😉 😂


 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

I think Gus have the greatest proportion of their instruments produced in-house. On my black 5-string bass only the pickups (made specifically for Gus by Aaron Armstrong IIRC), the machine heads (Hipshot), the Schaller Straplocks and the electronic components are bought in ready made.

I was going to mention GUS but ran out of steam, for a change. 😂Build-wise, they really are amazing. 

Jaydee also make the bulk of their own hardware and their own pickups etc. 

Edited by 4000

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1 hour ago, 4000 said:

That’s lovely, but not that difficult to do for any decent luthier; I’d expect stuff like that from any of the top builders and many of the smaller ones (Everson springs to mind). There are many builders working to that level of craftsmanship and even beyond, these days. I’ve sat and watched  quite a few great builders making instruments and have spent many, many hours in Sei HQ watching what they do. 

The price of used Wals really sky-rocketed when they became unobtainable new. Then when they became available new again, IMO the bar was kind of set. Well, that and Tool. 😉

But hey, if you’ve got the money and only a Wal will do, then go for it. 😁 They are very nice basses, undoubtedly, and I’d still like another. 

One thing that I’ve found interesting, I’ve seen one or two people over the years who have kind of retired their Wals (too valuable etc) in favour of Stingrays, or who have played both side by side. I’ve never been able to get anything like a Wal Sound from a Ray, so I’d be interested to hear other people’s experiences. Maybe I’ve been doing something wrong.😉 😂


 

I remember reading copies of Bass guitar back in the '90s. You would see used Wals in the classifieds for under £1000 all the time. Yes, they became unobtainable new around the time the whole Tool thing took off; back in the '90s they were just basses rooted firmly in the 1980s, and were no more sought after than Jaydees and so prices were similar. I used to see them at pub gigs all the time back then. 

However, those electronics are unique and if you want that sound I feel too that nothing else will do. Also, with a waiting list like they have, they have no choice but to ask high prices. If they came down to even around the £3000 mark they would be inundated with orders and would either have to outsource production or see the waiting time for a build stretch even further into the future. Also, if you do spend money on a Wal, new or used and don't like it, you won't lose any money if you sell it on (although who knows what COVID might do to the market).  @CamdenRob , your bass looks great; sure it sounds great too.

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8 hours ago, roger said:

4000, so you really believe Wal make everything? The bridge is probably cast by someone in slough, saddles turned by a small engineering firm up the road and assembled by Wal, I think the tuners ate Schaller? The knobs are injection moulded from anywhere etc etc (I’ll give you the electrics though👍😆)

Facepalm! 🤦‍♂️ You know you’re right... they don’t have a drop forge in their woodworking shop... I’ve had a moment of epiphany... the fact that their bridge carcass is specifically manufactured for them and powder coated by a specialist metal shop, exclusively, and to their own specifications clearly means they are just the same as a BBOT* bridge shipped in by the container load from Indonesia and available by mail order from the Allparts catalogue... how could I not have realised this before... 

🙄

 

* before you ask “bent bit of tin”

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8 hours ago, roger said:

The knobs are injection moulded from anywhere etc etc

Actually, the knobs are hand turned solid aluminium, hand stamped with the numerals and then sent for powder coating... but why let facts get in the way of a bit of facetiousness... 😉👍

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11 minutes ago, TrevorR said:

Actually, the knobs are hand turned solid aluminium, hand stamped with the numerals and then sent for powder coating... but why let facts get in the way of a bit of facetiousness... 😉👍

I'll admit to something here......I think the Wal knobs are absolutely gorgeous - titter ye not! ;)- and one of my favourite things about the instruments, along with the pickups. I wish more luthiers would think more seriously about their knobs (stop it!:lol:). 

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1 hour ago, TrevorR said:

Actually, the knobs are hand turned solid aluminium, hand stamped with the numerals and then sent for powder coating... but why let facts get in the way of a bit of facetiousness... 😉👍

Ok ok, You got me, that’s quite cool👍 Out of interest so you play a Wal?

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46 minutes ago, roger said:

Ok ok, You got me, that’s quite cool👍 Out of interest so you play a Wal?

Yes, I’ve got a Mk 1 Custom and an older Pro Series Bass.

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8 minutes ago, TrevorR said:

Yes, I’ve got a Mk 1 Custom and an older Pro Series Bass.

Excellent 

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On 08/05/2020 at 14:47, CPCustomdubwise said:

My Pro cost £350 in 1983...swapped the Custom two years later for a Jaydee that Mark King donated to a competition in One Two Testing whi h I won....the Jaydee was horrible.... then refused to trade the Pro for a 1963 P bass.... then sold it for peanuts....then traded the Custom for a Warwick Thumb 5 in Allbang and Strummit in 1988; I believe I was given a trade value if £350 for that.

A complete litany of daft errors.... amd the Pro was the best bass of the lot anyway.

But we won't be told.

I’ve got a copy of that magazine. My uncle used to play, he gave me hundreds of old magazines about twenty years ago; much to my mom’s annoyance 😆.

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40 minutes ago, TrevorR said:

I also write the following blog... :)

http://walbasshistory.blogspot.com

I went to look at your blog and enjoyed your nod towards Pete Hurley. I used to love watching him and his Wal on the Welsh language scene a long time ago. 

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