In Memoriam: Bill Conklin
It’s another sad day in the bass community as we mourn the loss of Bill Conklin of Conklin Guitars. The renowned luthier was an innovator and pioneer in the world of extended range instruments.
Conklin began as a bass player when he was 12 years old. His imagination led him to start sketching radical guitar bodies and he built his first guitar in high school. Playing it live garnered so much attention that others wanted him to build one for them, so he started Conklin Guitars in 1984 – just three years out of high school.
He first focused on repairs and modifications but switched to solely focusing on building his own original instruments in 1988. Aside from his own unique designs, customer requests led to Conklin designing extended-range basses including seven, eight, nine, and even eleven-string basses. His work also included incorporating exotic woods, onboard parametric EQs, and other forward-thinking elements. In addition to all his custom work, the company teamed with the late Jack Westheimer to create an import line called Groove Tools by Conklin that incorporated many of his designs into more affordable packages.
Conklin’s signature artists include Shaun Munday, Jozef Bobula, Jason Everett, Ron Pacheco, and more. Check out one of Conklin’s more exotic basses with Everett’s OM Bass:
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Bill Conklin.