Eternal Guitars’ Dave Walsh – World Class UK Luthier
In 2012 I had the fortune of meeting an incredible guitar maker, while living in West Sussex. Based in Chichester, his name is Dave Walsh, but he goes under the name Eternal Guitars. I’m not a massive gear head, but I feel that this guy really deserves wider recognition, as not only is he incredible at what he does, but is a lovely bloke as well.
After entering the shop behind which Dave has his workshop, I was confronted by one of the loveliest basses I have ever used. An exact copy of a 1951 Precision Bass, with added relic finish, as seen in the image at the bottom of this review. After a chat with Dave (which resulted in both my other basses being taken to him for setups, as he is amazing at those too), he very kindly lent me that bass for a short tour and recording with Jodie Marie.
I’m not a big reviewer, and my tastes seem to differ from a lot of peoples (I like a higher than normal action, and a few other quirks), but I’ll endeavour to give a quick run down on this beast of a bass.
For the official Eternal Guitars information page about this bass, click here
Looks-wise, this bass is cool. Vintage, retro, whatever you want to call it, it’s a classic. There is a reason that the P Bass has been around so long, and this style was where it all began. Essentially the Eternal Guitars T Bass is a giant 4-string telecaster with a double cutaway and small headstock, made of an ash body and maple neck. Coupled with the lovely colour (Butterscotch Blonde), the aged relic finish and the pin up girl decal (optional, but I loved it), this bass looks great on a stand in a room or on a stage round your neck. When it’s worn on a strap it has great balance and isn’t heavy at all. The setup was lovely, but that’s done to each customer’s taste so you will definitely get what you want there. So far, so good.
But how does it sound? Well……..in my opinion, awesome. Very different from my 1979 P Bass, and not in the way I expected. Until I played this, I had to plead ignorance to the differences in Fender designs over the years. I was working under the assumption that the older the design, the more thuddy and clunky the bass would sound, primarily based on old records I had heard. That, it transpires, is more down to the recording techniques of the time, and a few other variables.
In reality, when plugged in, the hand wound ’51 single coil P-Bass pickup resulted in the bass having a lovely, open, clear yet woody sound, without lots of any particular frequency (I mean that in a REALLY good way). Everything was incredibly well balanced sonically, and when put into live band and recording contexts it just sat really nicely in the mix, to the point where the live engineer and studio producer commented on how nice it was. My 79 P is a lot thicker, fatter and is sometimes hard to control cause of the size of the sound, but this just worked in the band sound perfectly. I would imagine this to be better for certain styles of music, certainly anything where you need a more “old school” vibe, as an active modern monster this is not……but its perceived lack of versatility is its greatest strength, certainly not a weakness.
As far as I’m concerned, this is hands down one of the best basses I’ve ever used. It’s not what I would consider a “classic P bass” sound (although it can get VERY close), nor is it a Jazz Bass sound. It has a sound of its own: unique, usable and musical, and would be a welcome addition to any bass collection. It’s a real beauty, and Dave at Eternal Guitars is such a great luthier that I feel everyone should check him out. Now, if only I had £1700 knocking around……