Bill Wilkat luthier

Is a self-taught luthier, bass player and guitarist. His interest and fascination with stringed musical instruments began early at the age of 10, and by the time he turned 12, he was regularly playing guitar and bass for many hours each day, and like so many others, soon found himself forming a band with his drummer brother and neighborhood friends.

Bud LeCompte in shop

Bill buffing finish on one of his instruments

Despite not following a career in music, he never stopped playing and tweaking his instruments, and always dreaming of building stringed instruments. 
Over the years, Bill found that something was lacking in the commercial instruments he owned and longed to follow in the footsteps of pioneers like Leo Fender, and design his own instruments. 

Inspired by Fender, he believed he could make improvements and subtle changes to increase the enjoyment of playing, and this further fueled his long time desire to build his own bass and guitar. 

Having established the goal of building custom instruments that were both unique and still affordable was a lofty dream, but passion drove him to persevere and he eventually took the big step in that direction. 

With a 10 year architectural design and drafting background, and 22 years of mechanical design, he felt ready to tackle this challenging endeavor, even if it was not directly related to these fields. 

Bill's education includes studies in electrical engineering, mechanical design, computers, and lutherie, which he undertook at every available free moment. In 1997 he began building his first instruments, and he finally launched Wilkat Guitars in 2001. 

Among Bill's specialties today are headless instruments, which he fell upon simply by a chance request from a client, which later sparked keen interest from many others, and today Bill builds more headless basses and guitars than conventional models bearing head stocks.
Bill Wilkat basses

Although he is now semi-retired, Bill is continuing to produce custom instruments (although at a reduced pace), and often provides advice and opinions to the many musicians and would-be builders that regularly contact him. 

Still, he is the first to tell you that nobody knows everything, and he continues to learn something new every day, and that's what keeps his world of lutherie fresh and exciting! Like all custom instrument builders, he enjoys contributing to the art, and hopes to have made a few people happy by doing what he enjoys, and the satisfaction of the special reward of thanks from the many clients that have expressed their appreciation of his efforts. 

Despite having developed a number of allergies to wood dust and adhesives that almost brought him to close up shop, Bill still retains a foot in the door and continues to further his goal while he still can.

For more information please visit 
Wilkat Guitars at:

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