Ever since Ian Waller started building Wal basses in the early ‘70's, the excellent quality and distinctively recognizable tonal character of these instruments have inspired many bassists to want to own and play a Wal bass. After Ian Waller's untimely death in 1988, production has been continued for a long time by his partner Pete Stevens, while today Paul Herman in Cobham, Surrey, UK continues the tradition.
A large number of famous instrumentalists have managed to own one, such as Percy Jones, John Entwistle, Kim Karnes, Jonas Helborg, Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee and others.
While production has always been manual labor and a Was is made to customer specification, availability has never been abundant and nowadays a waiting period of two to three years after ordering is not uncommon. As a result, there is a large crowd of Wal enthusiasts (referred to among themselves as Walnuts), who often own more than one Wal and eagerly look forward to a Wal popping up at one of the online instrument marketplaces or reputable music stores.
It hardly ever takes more than a few hours for these instruments to find new owners, even though the imbalance in supply and demandcan push prices up to unprecedented heights.
The official Wal website https://walbasses.co.uk/ provides an overview of the possible models and a wide range of exclusive woods these basses can be built from, while Steven Raggat has published an extensive history of the brand and its players at https://walbasshistory.blogspot.com/.
In addition, this new year Dutch Walnut Tony Tabasco has revived the Wal reference database at http://wal.nedcom.nl, which describes a growing number of Wal basses. Initially set up by Stephan Kueler, this database is publicly accessible to anyone who wants to enjoy the beauty and splendor of these wonderful instruments.
But beware - there is always the danger of being caught by the Wal
virus, so you won't rest until you can call a Wal yours.