In Memoriam: Philip Kubicki

Philip KubickiPhilip Kubicki, creator of the Factor Bass, has passed away after a battle with cancer. The renowned luthier spent nine years at Fender in their R&D department before creating his own brand.

Kubicki first realized his fascination with instruments at his grandparents’ house. “When I was young – perhaps 12 or 13 years old – I found an old, handmade acoustic guitar in my grandfather’s closet,” he wrote in Vintage Guitar Magazine. “It seemed funny no one in my family except me had any interest in it. I felt an amazing fascination and mysterious connection with it. Even at that early age, I felt my life pivot around that instrument.”

During his tenure at Fender from 1964 to 1973, Kubicki created several prototypes including the Fender Telecaster Thinline, an electric violin, and the first rosewood Telecaster for George Harrison, which the Beatle used to record “Let It Be”.

The luthier went on to his independent career and came to design the Factor Bass in 1983. It’s unique design and features caught the bass community’s attention and included a unique bridge tuner device, a mechanism for dropping the E-string down to D, a phantom-powered circuit board, and a 32-piece rotary-cut laminated veneer neck. The first production model was introduced in 1985. Notable players include John Taylor, Stuart Hamm, Vail Johnson, Roger Waters, and Victor Wooten.

Here’s a video of Stu Hamm performing solo with a Kubicki Factor Bass:

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Philip Kubicki.

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  1. I talked with Phil about a year or so ago, while he was repairing my Factor bass. He was the nicest guy, and really loved to chat…I mean really! I still have his contact in my phone. I won’t be deleting it.

    • Jay Sewards

      Hi Terry–4-17-16
      Please email me your phone #. I would like to talk with you about Phil.
      I just heard of his passing.

  2. Very sad. Anybody know if that’s it for the Factor bass?

  3. r.i.p. he always answered the phone,, refetted mine twice,, and gave me frees strings! super nice gentleman always,,, thanks for making the best bass possible.. miss ya friend,,,

  4. oh wow, only just seen this, his genius will be missed, I had the pleasure of owning one of his basses (which was also in one point stuart hamms) and its the only bass I regret selling.

  5. Keith

    That smile on Phil’s face is genuine. A super-gifted artist with wood and build concepts. He was very kind and generous to me, and I have played the heck out of his great basses.

  6. James Meggas

    My name is James Meggas. I had the pleasure of working with Philip John Kubicki on Bond St. in Santa Barbara 1984 . I am saddened that it took me a year to find that he had passed. I suck. I loved Phil for the warm guy and brilliant toolmaker he was. I worked with such folks as Joe Barden, Jim Bowers, Anka Ostermann, R.Tripp Estebrook and Mark Morou. My love to Carla, for her friendship. I still make guitars. All that Phil has taught me still lives
    With respect and love
    James Meggas

  7. Louis renga

    Phil Kubicki was my best friend for over 10 years in Santa Barbara California I greatly miss him and think of him often he was my mentor I love him and miss him so much my name is Louis

    • Jay Sewards

      Hi Louie 4-17-16
      I just learned of Phil’s Passing. Phil and I grew up together in whittier in the sixties.
      We were great friends during that decade and beyond. I lost track of him in recent years.
      He was one of the most kind and gentle souls I have ever known. The world was better off for his presence. He will be missed. I would appreciate it if you would contact me so we could talk about Phil. Thank You Jay Sewards 360-301-5509

  8. Louie renga

    Hi James this is Louis I don’t know who you are but I guess you knew Carla is I did I worked right next-door I own the medical supply business next to Phil and we became very very close to me and my family he like I said he was a mentor to me and like an older brother and I greatly miss him and I could tell you story after story of all the fun times we had together

    • I met Phil here in NH, after he had moved here…we looked for some spalted maple on my woodlot. I then deliberately made a curly maple log decay and produce spalted lines, but never got the chance to give him any. He was truly a super n7Ice guy.

      • Hi. Richard could you give me a call or email me your number. I would like to talk with you about Phil.

        Thanks Jay 360-301-5509 [email protected]

      • Jay Sewards

        Hi Richard. 4-17-16
        I see you knew Phil in recent years. I just learned of his passing. I would appreciate it if you could contact me. I would very much like to know more about Phil’s years in NH.
        Thank You. Jay Sewards 360-301-5509

  9. Gene Castello

    Love my Kubicki Factor 4 . GREAT IDEA MAN. You are missed