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Too Shy, a Bass Guitar, and Black Sabbath…..!

September 23, 2011

Too Shy, a Bass Guitar, and Black Sabbath…..!

In an effort to bring you, the reader, the very best in Kajagoogoo content, KajaFax has unearthed this rather unusual tale….

Ever wondered what happens to the various instruments used by famous stars over the years?  Well, we here at KajaFax did.   The ‘Wal Pro2E Bass’ was the instrument used by Nick Beggs back in the 1980’s and was used in the recording of the 1983 No1 hit, Too Shy as well as various other tracks on both the ‘White Feathers’ and ‘Islands’ albums. 

Launched in early 1979, the Pro Series headstocks are characterised by the striking neck laminates which continue through the headstock. The first ever Pros had plain faced headstocks; from then on, the distinctive Wal stripes became standard. Early Pro headstocks featured 10 laminations of maple, mukalungu (an Amazonian hardwood) and English hornbeam.

This is the bass played by Nick in the video for ‘Too Shy’ in 1983.

KajaGooGoo

KajaGooGoo

This photo was taken in 1984 on theKajagoogoo Islands tour at the Hammersmith Odeon inLondon.

KajaGooGoo

Photo courtesy of ‘SFX83’, who as a past owner of Nick’s bass, continues the story:

“I can remember being really disappointed at the (Islands) gig, cos at that time Nick couldn’t sing and play bass at the same time…so they had session player, John McKenzie, playing most of the bass lines. I remember jokingly saying to Nick afterwards, funny how you can sing and play at the same time, when you’re on top of the pops….”

Nick sold the Wal through the Bass Centre,London, on commission, in 1989 which is where SFX83 inadvertently obtained possibly the ultimate in ‘goo memorabilia! 

“I travelled down from Newcastle on the coach to London to collect the bass. I got to the shop to find that they had hired it out to the then bass player of Black Sabbath, Laurence Cottle, who were shooting a video that day for the ‘Headless Cross’ single…so one of the guys from the shop had to go get it back.  I bet Nick didn’t know about that!  It really stood out from all the other basses…I remember seeing the cigarette burn on the head stock.  I knew Nick Beggs used a pro2E because I’d seen him playing one live in 1984…on retuning home forgot all about it.  A couple of weeks later, I was looking through some pictures in the Kajagoogoo lyrics book, and saw Nick Beggs playing his black Wal and straight away noticed the cigarette burn on the headstock…”

KajaGooGoo

KajaGooGoo

KajaGooGoo

KajaGooGoo

KajaGooGoo

KajaGooGoo

KajaGooGoo

Careful examination of the case revealed a further clue as to the history of the instrument:

“On the side of the case was a strip of gaffa tape reading, N. Beggs – Commission sale…I phoned the Bass Centre to get some info and they said they were selling some basses for Nick”

It appears that Nick sold several basses at this time, including his old pre Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay, his 2 white Vigier Arpege’s and of course the Wal pro2E.  He subsequently purchased a Wal Mk2 5-string in 1987, when he formed Ellis, Beggs & Howard.

As for the ‘loan’ to Black Sabbath:

“I saw the (Black Sabbath) video a month later, on TV and there it was”

Video courtesy of ache666:

 
“You can always recognize this bass, by a cigarette burn on the headstock, just above the E string. I tried to polish it out, but it’s visible if you look for it. I changed the original control knobs for the newer Wal aluminum ones, but kept the old ones and gave them to the buyer, when I sold it”

SFX83’ owned the instrument from 1989, until 1992.

So what of the present day?  Well, the bass finally got the attention it deserved when it was placed in the expert hands of Paul Herman who gave it a thorough restoration job back in 2010.

Its current value is £1750, which includes a new Wal embossed Hiscox case! The only non-stock feature is the ebony thumb-rest that has been custom manufactured during the restoration process.

A fine instrument and a great piece of Kajagoogoo history!

* a huge thank you for this story is owed to the contributors at ‘Basschat’ forum –  in particular, forum members Happy Jack and SFX83 who provided KajaFax with the much appreciated source material that made this whole article possible.  Thank you, guys!

2011 KajaFax

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