1970s brochure for Pro Series basses
This brochure was produced by Electric Wood in the late 1970s to promote the newly launched Pro Bass series. These basses included a number of pretty revolutionary features - particularly for a UK built production bass.
Among them were:
- balanced XLR output as an option (this became standard on the later Custom Bass series)
- sophisticated active tone shaping circuitry
- carbon fibre inserts within the neck
- heavy-duty die cast bridge
- laminated necks...
A New Beginning...
...from ELECTRIC WOOD
THE Wal Pro Bass
A professional quality bass guitar, designed by specialists for specialists and the satisfaction of everyone. Not only does it incorporate the advantages of new innovations in technology, materials and modern production techniques but is capable of satisfying all the varied, yet exacting requirements of today's professional bass players.
You may be excused for being sceptical of the above claim! After all, doesn't every new instrument claim such things?
Sure. That's exactly why Electric Wood adopted the slightly unusual approach to designing and decided that the musician himself should be the one to tell us what he or she wanted in the perfect instrument - who else matters?
Through the specialist services of design engineer and custom guitar builder, Wal. several of today's most eminent and accomplished bass players became involved in the design and the ideas began to flow. (See back of brochure).
Our problem was then simply to interpret these ideas in the best possible way, build prototypes and submit them to our specialist judges for appraisal and comment. Some of the ideas are so simple! Naturally. The best things usually are! Taking the concept one step further, we invited other specialists in materials, audio sound and engineering to proffer their opinions and ideas on the best way to realise the player's visions. Even road crews chipped in, until each and every feature of the final design would do everything that was required of it, in whatever situation it was to be played.
We think we've done it, but what is more, the experts are satisfied too! When some of the finest players, engineers, recording studios and producers in the world are using your instruments. you must have got it right!
So we'll just sit back and allow the Wal PRO BASS speak for itself.
- The PRO BASS is available in two basic forms: The PRO BASS I, with a single Wal Bass Pickup. The PRO BASS II, with two selectable Wal Bass Pickups. Each model can be obtained:
- In one of four standard colour finishes. Custom colours can also be obtained to special order;
- Either with fretted or fretless fingerboard;
- Either as a standard high impedance output model with passive controls;
- Or, as an `E' model with specially designed, low noise electronic circuitry with low impedance output and providing the utmost in subjective and versatile sound output.
- Electronics can be fitted into standard passive models, if and when desired as a factory conversion facility.
- Any PRO BASS can be optionally fitted with a 600 ohm Balanced Line Output in addition to the standard jack output, for direct injection to studio and PA mixers. This facility is available either factory fitted, or as a simple plug-in kit for converting yourself.
- For the protection and prolonged high performance of your PRO BASS, a superb range of quality accessories is available. This includes light weight cases, flight cases, low noise leads and strings.
Each pickup has its own graduated volume and tone controls and in addition, a special pickup response selector switch positioned on the scratch plate immediately below the pickup.
The tone controls alter the treble response of the pickups and when fully off (o) they enable those thick `woolly' bass sounds which many players desire, yet with no lack of clarity or punch.
The two pickup PRO BASSES in addition sport a master volume control and a three-position pickup selector switch. These enable complete intermixing of the two pickups whilst retaining overall control over the instrument's output level.
Together with the pickup response switches, this mixing facility on the PRO BASS II and PRO BASS IIE provides no less than eight subtly different output tone settings at the flick of a switch.
PRO BASS I and PRO BASS II standard models contain straightforward high impedance, passive circuitry. No batteries are required.
The pickup response switches connect the coils of the pickups in two significantly different ways to provide two distinct output tones. In Position 1 the output sound is solid and heavy whilst in Position 2 the high frequency end is extended and the bottom end rolled off. This gives a more `middly' and cutting response.
The standard jack output is high impedance and will drive any standard guitar or bass amplifier. PRO BASS IE and PRO BASS HE are active electronic versions of the above instruments enabling even greater quality and variation of sound output.
Our resident electronics expert, Ivan Bozicevic, with years of specialised experience in the music audio field, has subjectively designed special ultra low noise, low power, FET pre-amplifiers which shape the output frequency spectrum and provide a low impedance output.
The pickup response switches in this case switch in or out filter networks. These, determined from intensive research with bass players and engineers, boost or cut specific frequencies to provide tonal shapes which alter the punch, timbre and attack of the instrument. For the Pro Bass IE and the bass pickup of the Pro Bass IIE the response switch gives lift in the lower middle frequencies. For the bridge or treble pickup of the Pro Bass IIE, upper middle boost and bass cut are provided.
In addition, both E models have an extra switch filter which boosts a narrow band of high frequencies, to add percussive attack to the output sound. This enables the player to achieve those `thwacky, clicky' sounds so popular with modern solo players and will cut through despite the environment or accompaniment.
The low impedance output enables the instrument to be used with any amplifier regardless of input impedance and cables of unlimited length can be connected without even the minutest loss of top and without mechanical noise.
The pre-amplifiers are powered from a standard PP3 size battery and only draw an incredible 0.3 milliamps. Using an alkaline type battery (Mallory Duracel or similar) 300 hours of use can be expected which, under normal professional use even, could mean a new battery every Christmas!
The battery is switched off normally and is switched on by insertion of the jack plug lead.
DIRECT INJECT (D.I.) BALANCED OUTPUT OPTION
The 600 ohm balance line, Direct Inject or DI output is what is used by all professional recording and stage mixing equipment to ensure correct matching and frequency response. These days with professional bass players almost invariably using DI via external transformers both in the studio and on stage, it makes sense to include this facility on the instrument. This eliminates the necessity to use dubious external converters and always ensures consistent performance.
Electric Wood have therefore made the facility available either with the purchased instrument or as a conversion kit to be added at a later date.
The output is an attractive heavy duty casting which directly replaces the standard jack output socket in the edge of the instrument. It contains:
- Standard jack output (unbalanced)
- 600 ohm DI output via a standard 3-pin Switchcraft QG (XLR) connector
- Earth Lift Switch to avoid hum loops when using both outputs simultaneously
- Loop Switch which allows effects to be looped onto the DI output via a special accessory lead.
The kit comprises the above socket, which is simply connected to the instrument's printed circuit board by a plug-in connector and an encapsulated transformer which plugs directly into the PCB.
All PRO BASSES are available in a choice of four standard colour finishes:
Sunburst: Cherry Red, Natural Ash, Black
Additionally, to order only, the following finishes can be supplied:
Translucent: Emerald Green, Tangerine, Strawberry Red, Blue
Solid: White, Red, Ice Blue
All PRO BASSES can be obtained with optional fretless necks. The fingerboards are all made from selected, dense rosewood with smooth maple veneer inlays in place of the metal frets.
Plain fretboards can also be supplied to order only.
LOW NOISE BELDEN LEADS
Belden rubber cable is acknowledged as the finest flexible cable for musical instrument use. It has very low capacitance, low mechanical noise and is very, very rugged.
Electric Wood leads are all Belden cable fitted with high quality Rendar turned brass jack plugs, Switchcraft QG audio connectors or as combination leads for dual jack and DI operation.
A very attractive and practical, lightweight carrying case in fibreglass with moulded lip location, lockable catches and stay hinges. The case is presented in a brown simulated leather finish with interior foam filling lined with luxurious gold plush.
A separate well is provided for keeping straps and leads.
Constructed from fibreglass laminated marine ply with all edges and corners reinforced and protected by aluminium extrusions, steel pressings and a piano hinge fitted with stays. Dished lockable catches and a strong leather handle complete the superb fittings. The case has a hard-wearing, simulated leather finish in brown and the interior is foam filled and gold, plush lined as per our lightweight case.
The only professional way to fly.
From every point of view
Wal Pro Bass
The entire internal cavities of the instrument are 100% screened thus eliminating any external interference. Pickups, scratch plate and controls, printed circuits, output socket and the optional DI balanced output are all modular and can be fitted and removed separately via the use of reliable shake-proof connectors.
The tone controls and circuitry are subjectively designed in conjunction with the alternative pickup settings to provide the most solid, versatile sound output.
Smooth, low noise controls with fluted, calibrated knobs. All the controls and selector switches are ergonomically situated for efficient, uninhibiting in-play adjustment.
Laminated neck of Canadian Rock Maple and Afromosia, reinforced with carbon fibre strips: These strips, two in the back of the neck and one under the fretboard, contain no less than 100,000 carbon fibres. A contoured, stainless steel truss rod is also provided for extra strength and long term adjustments ; Close tolerance neck joint, using heavy duty bolts through the body into brass inserts in the base of the neck. This provides vastly improved sustain qualities over other methods whilst retaining the desirable two-piece construction:
Stainless steel truss rod adjustment using standard 1/8" Allen Key. Truss rod nut runs in delrin bearing inside neck for trouble-free, smooth adjustment.
Unique keyhole moulding in scratch plate for easy access to nut:
Internal circuitry utilizes only the highest grade components:
Selected English Ash body, contoured and cut away for balanced comfort and uninhibited playing right to the last fret. Both body and neck are finished in super hard glossy, polyester lacquer.
Accurately moulded top nut in self-lubricating glass filled nylon:
Original, cast bridge tailpiece design providing very simple slot-in string anchorage. No messy threading through holes! The unique design of the cast bronze saddle pieces running on a stainless steel base plate provide completely independent adjustment of string length and height whilst maintaining maximum area of contact with body at a11 settings - a further boost to the superb sustain and frequency response of this instrument. Allen Key adjusted, stainless steel adjustment screws ensure rust-proof and trouble-free operation.
Scalloped head design which ensures against the possibility of head breakage.
Super-smooth, heavy duty Schaller machines. Very low gear ratio and adjustable.
Cast string guides ensuring straight and equal angle string pull across nut.
Dense, hard, Indian Rosewood fretboard, shallow cambered for fast, easy playing. 34" Scale length, E to E with 21 hardened nickel steel frets and mother of pearl dot inlays, or fretless with Maple fret position markers.
Hard wearing, moulded polycarbonate scratch plate, fixed with 14 screws to ensure against warpage and lifting. The scratch plate also incorporates the complete electronic printed circuit board assembly and the battery compartment for E models.
All metal parts, other than where stainless steel is stipulated, are heavily chrome plated for hard wear and long lasting appearance.
Extremely powerful and balanced, humbucking pickups with individually adjustable pole pieces. (1/16" Allen Key). Fully adjustable spring mounting. Due to the unique internal construction of these pickups an almost totally flat, even string response is obtainable over the entire scale length of the instrument. This factor alone has made the Pro Bass an instant `must' with recording studios and sound engineers. Each pickup is capable of being switched into two alternative, equally humbucking modes by means of a small switch situated immediately below it. This provides two sounds with subtly different harmonic structure for more versatility. (See specifications for details).
Meet our design team...
2. Pete Stevens (EW)
3. John G. Perry
4. John Entwistle
5. Percy Jones
6. Alan Spenner
7. Pete Zorn .
8. John Gustafson
9. lvan Bozicevic (EW)
10. Steve York
11. Jack Brand
12. Trident Studios: -
Together we'll make fine music.
Barratts of Manchester Ltd.,
652 Chester Road, Old Trafford,
Manchester M16 ORX
Sole distributors Wal Guitars