Wilkes Basses???????

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Theexploitbass, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. I've got a bass which I bought about a year ago, i was told it was built by Wilkes an English guitar maker who tried his hand on basses.

    The bass is either Oak, or Walnut body with Ash thru-neck!! (this is what ive been told so it may be wrong, not too good with recognising woods) The fingerboard is rosewood, it has Shaller bridge and tuners, Reflex active pickups - with "the black box" It was once fretted but someone has ripped the frets out and is now fretless, the design is quite unique. It has that pointy bottom like the Alembics, the headstock has a "W" on the top designed like a eagle with its wings spread!! Im guessing mid to late 80's!!

    I will post a pic as soon as i work out how!!

    Ive found a maker by the name of Wilkes but nothing about basses?? If anyone knows anything please share with me!!
  2. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Hmm haven't heard of Wilkes basses. A picture will help quite a bit- Oak and Walnut have significantly different grain- I would bet it is walnut due to it both being a more common wood for instruments, and oak not being terribly common in the UK, but importing isn't anything new....
  3. I worked it out!! Its the beast onthe left btw

    Attached Files:

  4. more!!

    Attached Files:

  5. dBerriff


    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
    Hi. I had a Wilkes fretless for a while many years ago (c. 1992). It was well made but I really need a fretless at that time so it had to go.
    I bought it in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK, and without being certain I think Wilkes had his workshop in Stoke. I suspect he was a one-man builder. I'll see if I can find out any more; if not and you are really keen I can give the address of one dealer who may know a bit more. He is a bit of traditionalist though and I don't thiink he has e-mail in his shop.
  6. dBerriff


    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
  7. Cheers guys, so my bass is a Wilkes bass then?? If you could dig out the address I'd much appreciate it!!
  8. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    I'm not so sure; it's not one of his regular production instruments from the '80's and just looks all wrong to me. That logo is like nothing I have ever seen on a Wilkes bass from that period - it should read "Wilkes Guitars" with an enlarged and stylized "W" and "G" (see attached). I believe Doug stopped building guitars and basses about a decade ago, apparently to tour as a pro musician. I was told that he has come off the road now and may have started building again. He built TBasser, lewibassist, an instrument quite recently (scroll down in this thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=142350&page=2&pp=20). Hope that helps.
  9. Doesnt look like it is a Wilkes then?? I dont see why he would have different logos!! Ah well, the search continues!!
  10. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    Not necessarily; don't go by the picture of the recent instrument built for Lewibassist, as that doesn't look like his 80's instruments either. Send Lewibassist a PM and ask him to put you in touch with Doug; that should settle it once and for all. The two things that might be in your favor are the use of the Schaller bridge (and tuners?), since Doug used these on most of his instruments, and believe it or not the shape of the tailpiece. That particular part of the body (and the position of the strap button) does look a lot like Doug's shape (I have owned two Wilkes and tried several others over the years). The P/U choice, logo, control lay-out no, but these two features maybe. Also, Doug offered two styles of headstock, the Fenderish one I posted and another more conventional 2+2 shape that was not a million miles away from yours as I recall (I should change my name to bass anorak!). Good luck either way.
  11. dBerriff


    Oct 2, 2004
    Oakham, UK
    Sorry about the delay - I have been away.

    Write to:

    Don Clayton
    "Route 66"
    7-11 Hope Street
    ST1 5BT
    phone: (0)1782 286217

    Don is a really helpful guy who is extremely knowledgable - he has had his shop in the area for well over 15 years.
  12. carlosmoreton


    May 19, 2005
    I came across this thread a few days ago. Doug is a friend of mine and both myself and many friends have had Doug build some superb instruments for us. I actually play guitar and doug has recently built me a Gibson 335 style semi acoustic and a telecaster'ish type guitar.

    They are both built to a standard of workmanship that I could never get from gibson or fender.

    I own several guitars (fender, jackson etc) but fancied a new one, I looked at some genuine gibsons, PRS etc and was very let down. My main guitar up until this point was a Fat Strat, which I still enjoy playing and second-hand at under £1k is value for money.

    But, after chatting to a friend of mine who has had about 5 basses of Doug I thought I'd go for something custom.

    As a result I now own two Wilkes guitars and they are superb instruments. It's a wonderful feeling popping in to see Doug every now and again and see your guitar at various stages of being built. There's no conveyor belt production line at Doug’s workshop, it's all by done by hand and the result is that you have a guitar / bass that embodies the character and love that Doug really has for making these fine instruments.

    I know you guys are into basses, but I have attached a quick photo of my two Wilkes guitars. The photo doesn’t represent a 10th of what they look like in the flesh.

    If you fancy something different that is totally bespoke built to YOUR requirements give Doug a ring, you will not regret it.

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