|Jimmy sticks his neck out|
His passing, reminded me of an article from the July 1980 edition of Beats International which I had picked up a few years ago on eBay. In the article Bain gives his opinion, as an experienced player, on the passive Wal Pro II bass. The article is reproduced below and I hope is some sort of fitting tribute to him as a bass player. Rest in Peace, Jimmy.
Hi-Res scans of the original article can be found here:
WAL Pro ll Bass
Price: £529 inc. VAT
Reviewed by: Jimmy Bain
ALL PRO'S - NO CONS
What we have here is the second in a range of four basses made and distributed by Electric Wood in High Wycombe (Tel: 0494 442925/6). In all honesty it's one of the most powerful basses I've ever tried out. I normally turn the bass up full and set my Marshall on about 6. With this bass full on, 2 on the Marshall is easily loud enough.
The neck is a lovely piece of work. The centre section is hornbeam and the outer section is maple. The neck is inlaid with red stripes which are made of a sympathetic wood from the Amazon called mukalunga. It's chosen because it's totally non-porous and remarkably straight. On top of all this lies an Indian rosewood fretboard which is shipped from Bombay to Germany. In Germany the wood's cut (Germany have the best cutting equipment) and it's then shipped to England.
So with so much effort put into its construction, how does it feel? Actually, it's very good. It has the accuracy of a Rickenbacker and the feel of a Fender. The way the action was set up when I got it was perfect. It lets you play fast and it's very decisive. The action remains true even in the higher registers. It's medium in width so it's OK if you've got short fingers, and the rosewood fretboard makes it very easy to the touch.
The body is crafted from ash, which is a very dense wood giving the bass a good sound even without amplification. Overall it's quite heavy, though not too heavy, and , is perfectly balanced.
The pick-ups are their own design, and they both have eight individual coils in them, giving a fat spectrum of sound and equal string response. Each pick-up has a plastic sliding switch under it. When the switch is pushed towards the neck, the two poles (each containing four coils) are wired in parallel. This effectively produces an extended top end.
When the switches are pushed away from the neck the poles are series wired, which loses some top and boosts the bass end.
The controls are all secured on the plastic scratch plate that hides the electronics. There are individual volume and tone controls for both pick-ups, a master volume control and a three-way pick-up selector switch. The set up gives you a lot of variables to play with.
All controls are very responsive, and well positioned, though perhaps the three-way selector switch could be moved a little closer to the rest of the controls. The master volume control effectively overdrives the sound to give you that little bit more sustain without having to go to the amp.
Although there are a lot of controls they all serve a purpose and are not just added for the sake of it.
Strings fitted to the bass are the twenty quid a set Rotosound RS77's, which have an adjustable ball on the end. The wire that runs through the coil of the string is the bit that actually touches the bridge which again gives the bass more sustain.
So right down to the jack input (which is also extremely sturdy) you have a real pro's guitar. At £529 (a custom case is available for an extra £75) the Pro 2 is not cheap, but you are getting a lot for your money. There are cheaper ones, the Pro 1 is £439, but I think everything they've put on this guitar was well worth the effort, and I look forward to playing it some more.