Article from the UK's The Guitar Magazine on the Wal
Pro Series basses from the early 2000s
Wal Pro-1 Bass
Review category: Basses
A great opportunity to get your
hands on a genuine Wall fora fraction of the price you may have expected
Founded in the mid-'70s with a commitment to high-quality design and
construction, Electric Wood (the company that made Wal basses) was responsible
for some of the best machines ever to grace the woofers of your hi-fi.
The Pro range of basses, from the entry-level Pro-I, to the
top-of-the-line Pro-IIE, encapsulated all the ideas and innovations that Wal
was known for.
You may not be able to buy a new one, but all the Wal Pro series are
excellent second-hand buys. Of the four instruments in the range, the Pro-I
offers the least in the way of refinements, though you still get a handmade
pro-quality bass guitar. The others in the range are the Pro-II (two pickups),
The Pro-IE (active), and the Pro-IIE (two pickups, active circuitry).
In action, the Pro-I is a beast of distinction, easy and comfortable
to play, with a lovely thick, woody tone. It gives a very chunky 70s sound, but
with some adjustment to the pickup, a wider range of sounds can be achieved.
Throughout their history, Electric Wood were known for their custom builds alongside their production models. Whether it was the iconic triple neck or a tweak to the established formula, if you could convince Ian or Pete then the world was your oyster. However, they had to be convinced it would work. They remained craftsmen, dedicated to building beautifully crafted working tools for working musicians. The weird and wonderful but frankly silly basses could be left for other builders.
When visiting their workshops in High Wycombe it was not so unusual to see the odd Strat shaped guitar (albeit sporting the characteristic Wal laminated body) hanging from the guitar rack. Alongside might be a Jazz bass in for renovation. However, despite that their passion remained for the basses for which they had become known.
There were a few oddities, though. This page showcases a few of Wal's more unusual creations.
Over the years Electric Wood have made a number of double-necked basses. Although not exactly common there are a good few examples out there.
The original idea for a Wal double neck came from renowned bassist, Jonas Hellborg, who approached Wal in 1983 with the idea of building a unique bass which combined fretted and fretless necks. Of course, Wal had some history with multi-necked basses having built the iconic Wal Triple Neck for Roger Newell in Rick Wakeman's band in the early 1970s. The triple neck was, however, somewhat "agricultural" in its lack of finesse. It predated the development of Wal's proprietary pickups, electronics and bridge using off the shelf components. Hellborg's double neck was to be a rather slicker affair.