Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 130
VG APPROVED GEAR
TO A T
The Walla Walla Maverick Pro Series
alla Walla has carved a niche in
the world of highly customized
guitars and basses in the tradition of
those time-honored Leo Fender archetypes. Their Maverick Pro Series
offers up one model with classic
single-coils and a tremolo bar, and
another with humbuckers and a
hardtail. You might want to strap a
bib on before handling these beauties,
though, as sudden drooling is possible.
First axe on the block is from Walla
Walla's Vintage Wood series - a Teleshaped body with a piece of reclaimed
wood as its top. This one uses the logo of
Gibsonton Mills, an 1800s whiskey distillery once located south of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. The top gave the guitar an
immediate vintage flavor and sense of
the past. While every Walla Walla plank
can be customized to the buyer's tastes,
this Maverick Pro sported a chambered
poplar body, 22-fret bolt-on neck (25.5"
scale), deeply flamed maple fingerboard
and neck with a soft-V profile, Seymour
Duncan APT single-coil pickups,
Sperzel tuners, and a Joe Barden bridge
with Bigsby trem. Its unusual Volume
and Tone knobs were made
from the ends of shotgun shells,
while a bullet casing formed
the three-way pickup selector.
Another unique feature was
the Sound Tunnel Port, located under a metal star on
the north side of the upper
bout. Occasionally these are
seen on high-end acoustics, but
it's a novel idea for a chambered
electric - indeed, the port delivered a nice acoustic resonance
Prices: $2,395 (base, Vintage
Wood), $2,995 (base,
when playing unplugged. For
pickups, Walla will install models
from Seymour Duncan, Fralin,
Barden, EMG, and TV Jones.
Best of all, this Vintage Wood
weighed under seven pounds.
The other Maverick Pro tested
was from the T-Top Crystal
series, which can have objects embedded in
their resin tops - think coins, keys, badges,
medallions, and other metal ornaments.
This model has a 22-fret neck of flamed
maple with a rosewood board, fullchambered poplar body. Hipshot
non-trem bridge (Barden, Wilkinson, and others available), and
Duncan Pearly Gates humbuckers.
Also look for a NuBone 1.625" nut
and different fret-size options.
Plugged in, both guitars displayed
fast playability thanks to those slim,
speedy necks and compound radii
(9" to 12"). Fitted with its Tele-style
pickups, the Vintage Wood was suitably
twangy, while the humbucker-laden
Crystal model rocked like a good Status
Quo record. You can only imagine that
each will sound better as you play them
through the years - they play great now,
but in a decade or two, they could sound
even better as the wood opens up and
the already-fine necks begin to play in
to that exalted standard.
As every Walla Walla guitar is oneof-a-kind, both the Vintage Wood and
Crystal models tested were original,
fun, and exuded an old-school vibe.
One key attraction is that you get that
kind of "custom shop" attention and
detail at a somewhat lower price. It's
still higher-end, but nothing like the
astronomical numbers often seen these
days. And they're brimming with history
and Americana. - Pete Prown