Up for sale, a 1982 Electric Wood Limited Wal Mk1 Pro left-handed bass in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case and documentation. First developed in 1976, Wal basses were the brainchild of Ian “Wal” Waller and Pete “The Fish” Stevens, who sought to combine the best features of the ubiquitous Fender and Gibson basses of the time. The first Wal bass was built for first-call session player John G. Perry, but it was immediately apparent to Wal and Perry that the unique instrument was too good to keep to themselves. In 1978, the Electric Wood company was formed to produce and distribute Wal basses at scale, and bass legends like Percy Jones, John Entwistle and Alan Spenner were involved in the design process for the production models. Known for their top-tier craftsmanship, hand-selected tonewoods, and powerful proprietary electronics, Wal basses have remained largely unchanged since their introduction; with the philosophy of building the ultimate instrument, designed by professionals, for professionals.
This particular 1982 Mk1 example features a Brazilian mahogany core with a flamed African hyedua top and back sandwiching thin slices of maple, a five-piece maple/hornbeam/mukulungu neck, and a thick slab Indian ebony fretboard. Originally a fretless model, the bass has been professionally converted to a fretted instrument, with pristine narrow/tall fretwire.
At the heart of this bass are the revolutionary Wal pickups, unrivaled in terms of the sheer range of detail and power they provide. These pickups have excellent upper definition and a huge, thunderous low end, with active EQ and push/pull Volume knobs to engage “Pick Attack” mode, which adds a narrow band of high frequencies to the overall tone for dynamic, percussive note attack. At 10lbs 2oz, this Wal bass has ample natural sonic authority and heft; it’s been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 45-105 groundwound strings, easy-playing action, and spot-on intonation.
The five-piece neck has a central maple core, flanked on either side by English hornbeam, with mukulungu stringers in-between for optimal stability. The neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve, with modest shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, bordering on soft V-shaped at the nut and gaining a hair more roundness in the upper registers, measuring .835” deep at the 1st fret and .920” at the 12th. The thick slab Indian ebony fretboard has a 12” radius, and the bass plays cleanly up the 34" scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1 5/8“ in width. The headstock has fairly prominent, limited vertical finish checking on both the face and the back, and the heavy-duty Schaller tuners turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with clean chrome plating.
All of the electronics function as intended, with the proprietary Wal humbuckers wired to the stock harness and governed by independent pairs of Volume and Tone knobs, with push/pull Volume pots to engage “Pick Attack” mode. Additional tonal flexibility comes via a pair of mini trimpots in the harness; one trimpot dictates the amount of “attack” frequencies generated in “Pick Attack” mode, and the other controls the overall volume output of both outputs (the Wal bass has both a 1/4“ output jack and an XLR for easy DI functionality). The active circuit is powered by a 9V battery, and the inside of the cavity cover retains the handwritten tonewood information label and Electronic Wood Limited information sticker. The black hardware is notably clean, including the rugged Wal-branded toploader bridge and the machined aluminum knobs, with knurled grips for easy on-the-fly swells and adjustments.
The body sports a smooth satin finish, highlighting the unique wood coloration and flame figuring of the bookmatched top and back, and there's also a bit of subtle cloudiness in the finish. This is a well-kept example, with cosmetic wear limited to some light buckle rash and a few minor nicks on the back, as well as a small area of wear on the bass-side of the top adjacent to the bridge pickup. The finish on the neck profile is pristine.
The original Wal-branded hardshell case with form-fit gray plush interior is included, along with the original handwritten electronics information sheet, signed by Pete “The Fish” Stevens.