On Wednesday I had some spare time in the afternoon and happened to be in London. Knowing this in advance, I contacted the fine people at Wal aka Electric Wood and scheduled an appointment to stop by.
I've always loved the Wal sound, but had yet to ever play one. I've been thinking for some time about buying a new Wal and this seemed like an important step in that process.
First, it started with a train ride from London to Cobham and Stoke. It's a wonderful rural town, about 40 minutes from London's Waterloo station.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Paul Herman. Paul is the master luthier responsible for carrying forward the fine tradition of building Wal basses at Electric Wood. He's also a gracious host and I appreciate him affording me the time to visit.
We enjoyed a cup of tea, and I spent a little time in the back of the shop playing a black MK I.
After a few minutes of playing I was convinced that buying a Wal is the right thing to do. I spoke with Paul, and we took a tour of the workshop.
Paul explained that at any given time there are a number of Wal parts sitting in various phases of construction. In particular, the neck pieces are allowed time to settle after each significant cut. Each cut releases tension from the wood, and it takes time for the piece to adjust. I'd never given the matter much thought, but it makes a lot of sense now that I think about it.
After the tour we sat down at the computer in the back and spec'd out my new Wal. I'll keep the details to myself for now.
I am back home in not-so-sunny California today. I sent along my deposit to Electric Wood, and will someday (hopefully less than 19 months out) become a member of the official Wal owner's club.
For the record, I am now officially envious of all of you present club members.