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.

I used them in 83 and 84 and the live Alchemy CD was recorded using my black Wal. I found them very consistent and the sound engineer loved them. I suppose I used them on stage for two or three years and, boy, were they heavy. You really knew you had played a gig carrying a Wal round for a couple of hours! Then in ‘85 I found a 1961 Jazz in Rudy's Guitar Store in New York that was it; I fell in love.

The guitars are really well made and I still get them out from time to time and have a play.

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