Sunday, 14 April 2013

Video Vault

The Video Vault

Here's a not quite random selection of tunes played on a variety of different types of Wal bass. Hope you enjoy then. Feel free to suggest your own favourites in the blog comments...

If you want to see even more Wal basses in action you can watch a YouTube play list of some of the best of Wal performances here...

There is also a Spotify playlist here...

In the meantime here are a few tasty videos to whet your appetite...

Paul McCartney - Figure of Eight, 1989

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Wal players discuss their basses - John Illsley (Dire Straits)

John Illsley

I started out using a 59 P-bass which actually worked very well in the studio, because although it had some loud spots you could graphic them out. On stage however I was looking for a more even, punchier sound and my roadie at the time suggested we look at the Wals. So we visited the factory and talked to Pete and Ian about what we wanted. I ended up with two fretted basses and a fretless one as well.

Wal players discuss their basses - Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree)

Colin Edwin – Porcupine Tree

Along with tub-thumper, Gavin Harrison (and before him, Chris Maitland), Colin Edwin lays down the solid foundation on which the Porcupine Tree build their neo-prog soundscapes. Over much of the band’s 10 album career the bass element of that rhythm section has been powered by Wal basses.

So why did you particularly choose to get a Wal bass?

Really, I didn’t know much that about Wal basses when I bought my first Wal - a fretted four-string, from session bass player Martin Elliott [best known for his playing with Michael Nyman] in 1989. He was a friend of the family who had been helping me out by teaching me when I first started playing bass. I used to play his Wal sometimes when I visited him and I always really liked it. He offered it to me first when he wanted to sell it, so I was very lucky.

Martin’s old bass is a Wal Custom made from solid ash, and I believe it quite unusual in that respect. He had it made for himself, and told me he was very insistent on the material he wanted used in it’s construction.

Wal players discuss their basses - Peter Gee (Pendragon)

Peter Gee – Pendragon

When did you first get turned onto Wal basses?
When I was 17 I went to a Brand X gig, with Jeff Berlin's band supporting. What a line up! Percy Jones was using a 4 string fretless Wal and constantly adjusting the parametric EQ as he was going. He got some incredible sounds out of it. Then there was Colin Bass, the Camel bass player (Camel are still my favourite band) who used both fretted and fretless 4 strings, and got an amazing deep rich tone out of them. Finally I heard Mick Karn's playing on the Japan album and the great sound he got on his Wal fretless.

Wal players discuss their basses - Justin Meldal-Johnsen

Justin Meldal-Johnsen

Although probably best known for his playing with Beck, over recent years Justin Meldal-Johnsen has become a sought after sidesman and session player – with a CV as diverse as Michele Branch, Air, Turin Breaks, Marianne Faithful, Macy Gray and Seal. However it might surprise some that he is a fully paid-up fan of Wal basses, especially given his penchant for unusual, lo-fi squeezes – from Fender Coronados and Guild Starfires to Gibson Thunderbirds. We caught up with him to chat over his love of the basses.

You’re well known for using a range of pretty quirky but lo-fi basses – one wouldn’t immediately think that a Wal bass was up your street. What first made you consider getting one?
I was enamored with the sound the day I heard it. That was in the hands of Greg Edwards, formerly the bassist for Failure, now guitarist for Autolux. You can hear it all over those three Failure records... a sound that inspired Justin from Tool as well, apparently.