Monday, 4 August 2014

Wal MB4 midi bass review from Guitarist magazine - February 1990

Wal MB4 midi bass review from Guitarist Feb 1990

Wal MB4 MIDI Bass

As MIDI controllers grow in type and in complexity, one instrument seems to have been overlooked - the bass guitar has always been the 6- string’s poor relation... Review by Ollie Crooke.

AS A BASS PLAYER who works a great deal in a MIDI pre-production studio, I have spent the last few years gnashing my teeth in jealousy as controllers for drummers, guitarists, saxophonists and trumpeters have come on to the market; there just didn’t seem to be much commercial interest in making MIDI accessible in any acceptable form to bass players. I contacted Yamaha, who make guitar and saxophone controllers (both of which I have bought in frustration) to ask if they had any plans to develop something to help me, and was told that although the technology was of course available, such a development was highly unlikely, as there was not a sufficient market to make it worth their while. Well, I hope this instrument proves them wrong.

I am hardly unbiased, but I believe that the potential of a MIDI bass controller is immense - even more so when coupled with a machine like the Simmons SDX and a good drummer. Whole rhythm sections can be recorded into a sequencer, edited, looped, tightened up and generally manipulated, giving whatever balance of human feel and computer precision you require. Exciting, eh? Like drums, although great bass parts can and have been programmed from a keyboard, most of them don’t sound the same as if they’d been played by a real bassist or drummer. Neither is there any of the spontaneity or interaction generated by a good rhythm section playing together. And as there just happens to be a Simmons SDX lying around in my studio, perhaps you can understand my desperation for a decent MIDI bass controller...