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NEW BARKER BASSES! (Sneak preview)

Discussion in 'Barker Bass Forum' started by IotaNet, May 9, 2006.


  1. Close friends of the Barker Musical Instruments are aware that we've been working on a new model.

    Well, it's here!

    Before we do any formal presentation to the larger bass playing community, we are honoring our loyal forum readers with the very first public view of the Barker B2.

    A few facts:
    * Initially it will be available only in a four-string fretted version.
    * Electronics are passive P-bass pickup configuration.
    * Further information will be released during the week of May 15, 2006.


    We welcome your thoughts/impressions/feedback!

    ___________________________________________

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Wow, it is pretty. Is it a neck through? I bet all that wood and the p-bass pickup make for a great sounding bass! Congratulations, guys! Cheers!
     
  3. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    I'll bet it sounds great with the P pickup. My initial impression was that I prefer the 2+2 headstock as it seems to fit better with the upright vibe of the instrument. If you do 4 inline, would it actually be easier to tune with a reverse headstock?

    Also, I think the Barker bass would be a good match for Dave Wendler's MagPi system (Magnetic Piezo). He takes a piezo and magnetic pickup and blends them and you end up with a passive system that needs no batteries like the typical piezo. There are some bass MP3 samples on his site also.

    http://www.electrocoustic.com/magpi.htm

    Normally, I wouldn't post another manufacturer's "stuff" on a sponsored forum, but since he doesn't do uprights, I hope there's no conflict. If so, please feel free to delete this post with no hard feelings on my part. I just think there would be good synergy between the Barker bass and the Wendler MagPi pickup config.

    Very nice!
     
  4. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    I like this bass very much. I would put the d & g string pickup closer to the neck and the e & a pickup closer to the bridge. regards, ron
     
  5. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    Thanks for the thoughts, impressions, and input. All is welcomed here, all is absorbed and, eventually, when a decision is to be made by somebody, it's usually me. (Notice how carefully I stepped around using the word "decider.") : )

    I am currently in the process of installing another company's peizo bridge product in a Barker B1 testbed. I'll use that as my personal bass for a while before I post my reactions. I like the idea of the switchable/blendable stuff but don't want to get too deeply into knob farming.

    On we go!
     
  6. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    Just a couple of quick clarifications:

    1. The B2 does not replace the B1. It is an addition to the line.

    2. It will sell for less than the B1.

    Lee
     
  7. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Costs less, looks good, sounds great ... well done, Lee!

    I hope my Barker B1 will arrive this evening ... the rest of my week is busy and I probably won't have time to goof off with it until next week otherwise!
     
  8. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Is there any place in the New England area where I can try a Barker bass? Failing that, can you recommend some family vacation oriented sites near Redmond, OR? This way the missus wouldn't be too mad once I actually made it to your shop. ;)
     
  9. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    Wow, talk about lobbing one low and slow over the outside corner of the plate...
    Just yesterday a family from Wisconsin stopped by--he to see and play the Barkers, they to act interested (they really were!) because they all knew the roles would be reversed eventually.

    If you PM me your snail address, I'll see that you get adequate Chamber of Commerce stuff to make your planning easy.

    We have a lot of stuff to do here in Central Oregon, and not always enough people to do it.
     
  10. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    Glad to see the bass!! It looks great, and I'm sure it sounds even better. I can't wait to play one of these. Great work, as always.


    This is a good suggestion. Most people say that this allows for a more balanced string-to-string tone.
     
  11. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    This is a good suggestion. Most people say that this allows for a more balanced string-to-string tone.[/QUOTE]

    Lee Sklar is a proponent of that pickup layout. He's usually in the Dingwall booth across the way from us at NAMM so I will have an extended conversation with him about this at some point.

    I would think it would tighten up the E-A pair and round off the D-G. It's a pretty small distance change, but one must bear in mind that the distance is effectively doubled by swapping the positions.

    I've not spent much time with the Pbass layout in this part of my life (the other part being in the photograph of the really awful green jacket on the web site) so experimenting with the B2 is going to be an adventure.

    I'm still testing a variety of pickup brands for the B2--a very tedious process and Lou, our tech, is being a darned good sport about it. I suppose I'll have to give him the Tech of the Month award yet again.

    BTW, if you ever have really hard technical questions about the Barker Bass, he's the one to talk to. Or boatbuilding. Or Pietenpol airplanes. Or multihulls. Or flyfishing.

    Kindly,

    Lee
     
  12. Lee,
    Congratulation on making another Good looking instrument. And I have no doubt that this one is as sweet sounding as those I have tried.
    Nice work!
     
  13. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Certainly looks like a fine instrument.

    Just a few quick questions (no offense intended)

    What kind of pickup are you using?

    Why did you opt for a four inline headstock?

    And is this to be seen as a more budgeted model (noting the lack of "tailpiece" and chrome hardware instead of black) or simply a different model that's priced lower because of the relative lack of electronics?

    I look forward to trying a Barker one day.
     
  14. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    Thanks kindly.



    Open communication is our goal here, and you're helping us achieve it!



    Currently I am auditioning three different pickup brands, which I won't mention out of respect to the manufacturers. In the first two A-B test, it's a dead heat.



    As to the headstock question, there's a long answer and a short one. The latter: To be different.

    The former: The idea that an electric bass guitar layout can be played vertically is difficult to grasp for some people. Time and again I have stood beside a Barker Bass with a curious bassist looking at the instrument and having a conversation with me. After I have affirmed that it is a 34" scale, jazz bass pickup array (B1 model), 1 1/2" nut, all that, and received an affirmative nod, I say, "would you like to play it?" and the answer is, "I don't play upright."

    This is not everyone, nor even half of those who have seen the bass in this setting, but it is enough that I thought a 4 inline headstock might be, in political parlance, a "swing vote."

    And I think the headstock works with the straight lines and curves of the body, making a different esthetic statement from that of the B1.



    The B2 will sell at a lower price point than the B1. That was the overarching goal in the design process.

    The goal was achieved in part by simplifying, but that had to stop before the signature Barker sound was compromised.

    While there are some wider sound possibilities with any two-pickup configuration, there is something to be noted in that, after over 50 years, Leo's great-sounding original pickup design is still used.

    It is an inspired idea, splitting the pickup to buck the hum, and I feel fortunate we can honor the design concept and the brilliance of the man that created it by using it in the Barker B2.



    If you'd care to PM me your location, I'll see if we can connect you with an owner. Thanks again for the questions!

    Kindly,

    Lee
     
  15. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Never thought about it that way. I really like that thinking, more obvious this way that you're bridging the gap between URB and EBG. More of an EUBG. I like it. I'm personally a fan of the 4IL headstock and it seems to blend nicely with this body shape. Well done.



    May I ask what kind of strings you ship these with? Flats or rounds? Old flats with a 15" speaker and high action might come very near to that old school upright thump. I'm really liking where this is going. Very Jamerson-esque...?



    This kind of open communication is what I appreciate in a company. When the time comes and the finances allow, I'd buy a Barker based solely on your help so far, and willingness to go above and beyond.

    Tim
     
  16. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    Thanks for the nice words, Tim.

    I have a set of flats here in the office, and they'll go on one of these first-generation B2s. I'm not sure what to expect. That's part of the fear/joy of prototyping!

    As for setup, we'll probably set these up much the same way as the B1, aiming for middle ground with the option for the owner to go either way as she or he wants.

    I suspect they'll go out the door with roundwounds. My hunch--open to new data--is that punch and clarity are more commonly sought and the flatwound camp is slightly less populated.

    I'll postulate here that many of us change strings right away on a newly purchased instrument partly as a way of bonding with it and partly as a way of assessing how much different it is than what we're used to if we make the string and amplification variables not variable.

    I'm starting to sound too philosophical. Back to the bench.

    Kindly,

    Lee
     
  17. EduardoK

    EduardoK

    Jun 28, 2004
    hi Lee,
    I am glad to see you are developing new concepts and ideas. I am sure this new model will be just as good as the B1. Will you offer a 1 1/2 " nut width?
    Any news on the piezzo-bridge yet?
    cheers
    Eddy
     
  18. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    Hi Eddy! Great to hear from you. The B2--it will eventually get a name--is coming along great. I am really pleased with the sound from the split pickup. The nut width will be 1.5.

    I haven't assembled the peizo bridge in my new B1 yet. I've been consumed with moving the B2 forward and haven't allowed myself time to indulge in that experiment.

    There's always a temptation, when you're building your own instrument, to try more than one thing: "Oh, here's some strings I've never used, I'll use them!" That, however, doesn't yield pure results from anything new. So this one will be just like the typical B1 except for the peizo bridge with a blend pot.

    Stay in touch--always good to know what's happening with members of the "family."

    Kindly,

    Lee
     
  19. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    Memphis
    I played Leos ... Barker ... VERY nice, I do think for me, the P bass pickup would be best ... and the lower prce-point would help "poor" me a lot ... can't wait to see one

    BTW .. as far as headstock design ... I like the one on the 5 ... but as a 4 string.

    Regards ... Kenny
     
  20. Doug Mancini

    Doug Mancini

    Oct 25, 2005
    I had the extreme pleasure of visiting with my dear friend Lee Barker while in Oregon the weekend of 8/26, while there I finally got to play the B2. I had an idea of what to expect since Lee and I had spoken about the B2 frequently on the phone for several months, but I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. Lee designed the B2 with the "budget minded" bassist in mind and I must say he's done an incredible job. The B2 still has The "Barker Tone", although uniquely different from the B1 due to the P-Bass pick-up configuration. I found it extremely easy to play and VERY pleasing to my sonic sensibilities, that smooth Motown R&B tone was a breeze to get and with very little E.Q.ing I could get the "growl" some "Rock" players enjoy. Like the B1, this puppy is extremely versatilel. As far as slapping/popping or picking? (none of which, by the way are what I prefer), but both styles can be played on either the Barker B1 or the Barker B2. Checkout my comments on "The Bass Player Review" on the "Forum" for more on this subject. The bottom line here is that Lee has once again hit the "nail on the head", you have the unique unparalleled "Barker TONE" in an economical and truely quality instrument.
     

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