- bass guitars
Wal bass guitars began in 1976 when session bass player John G. Perry asked Ian Waller (“Wal”) to make him a custom bass. This first bass turned out well and Wal and his business partner Pete Stevens made a short run of Custom basses, the “JG” series and a short-scale “JP” sister model. From the beginning Wal talked to top bass players and recording producers, using their feedback to shape the evolution of his bass designs. In 1978 Electric Wood Ltd. (based in High Wycombe) was formed and began making the first production Wal model: the Wal ‘Pro’ Bass. The early models had passive pickups and controls, and a front mounted scratch-plate. Soon a new active circuit was developed, and in 1980 the first 20 prototype Wal Custom basses were produced. This model became the Mark 1 with electronics were designed to be ultra-quiet and housed in a shielded cavity in the back of the body. The Mark 1 was favoured by players like Geddy Lee, Mick Karn and Paul McCartney. The mid 1980s saw introduction of a 5-string model and a newer shaped Mark 2 model. In 1988 Ian Waller died of a heart attack aged just 43. Pete Stevens continued production, along with his dedicated team, including Paul Herman. In 1994 work on the first Wal 6-string bass began. The Mark 3 model was introduced with 5 and 4-string versions also available. Pete Stevens died in 2011 following a long illness - but their legacy continues with Paul Herman and his team.