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Lee Barker, Retiring Boutique Bass Innovator Releases Last 10 Authentic Barker Basses

Lee Barker of Redmond, Oregon has been building his unique vertical electric basses for eleven years.

In that time Barker Basses have been sold in Germany, Japan, England, Venezuela and Mexico as well as throughout the US and Canada. The instrument, played by Hussain Jiffry, toured with the Yanni orchestra; appeared on stage with Brian Ritchie of Violent Femmes; and toured the UK in Simon Goulding’s hands. The Barker Bass has received positive reviews in Bass Guitar, Bass Player and Downbeat magazines, as well as being featured in the book Hand Made and Hand Played by Robert Shaw.

Barker’s decision to ease out of producing the innovative instruments was driven by his desire to free more time for playing and performing with his basses. “It has been my life’s privilege to create this instrument and hear it in the hands of amazing people,” he said. “But right now, I want to focus on my playing.”

This, he says, also offers someone else the opportunity to enjoy the same rewards and, at the same time, advance the line of instruments known for their striking stage presence and thick tone.

“I knew I’d enjoy getting to know bassists—they’re fascinating people—but what I didn’t expect was how many friends I’d gain in the process,” he said. Barkers have been made in fretted and fretless fours and fives in the B1 model, and fretted fours in the P-bass inspired Brio. Materials are typically cherry and alder, but custom instruments have “run the gamut of special woods,” he said. Those interested in purchasing from this last release of basses, or exploring a luthier opportunity, can contact Barker at or 541.923.2571.

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