Barker Musical Instruments, Limited Edition: The Cherry Vat Basses

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Project by Lee Barker posted 10-28-2010 05:39 PM 2203 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Out of the dusty manuscripts come these images of a project inspired by what appeared to be junk wood: Timbers about 5 inches wide, 2 1/2 inches thick and 9 1/2 feet long (see the image of self and bass and “before” board).

Turns out these were staves for giant vats wherein cherries are subjected to bleaching after which they are dyed to become maraschino.

The result, of course, would be red liquid, some of which soaked into the wood—old growth douglas fir—and stained it in delightful, streaky patterns.

I bought everything that looked like it might be pink, and ended up with four completed basses, all of which have since been sold.

These were semi-professional studio shots. I wanted to get some more of the two basses, the taller one with a black bow tie, the shorter one with a string of pearls, but time did not permit. Just looking at them, though, you can see the masculine-feminine effect I was after.

The wood used in these electric instruments does indeed have an effect on the quality of the sound. The best instruments are hardwood, but these sounded acceptable and looked, well, you decide.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

7 comments so far

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4333 days

#1 posted 10-28-2010 06:19 PM

Outstanding work Lee. These are just beautiful and I’m sure they sound wonderful too. Thanks for sharing them with us. Is that the wood they came from in the last pic? If it is, wow!

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View CampD's profile


1742 posts in 3727 days

#2 posted 10-28-2010 06:21 PM

They look great!!
I bet the sound is just fine from this wood for a bass.

-- Doug...

View whitedog's profile


652 posts in 3698 days

#3 posted 10-28-2010 06:33 PM

Stunning … very cool

-- Paul , Calfornia

View tomakazi's profile


686 posts in 3524 days

#4 posted 10-28-2010 06:33 PM

wow!!! these are very cool!!! Great story too!!

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

View Pete Wadey's profile

Pete Wadey

31 posts in 3082 days

#5 posted 10-28-2010 07:00 PM

Very Nice. I bet the new owners of these just love to show them off.

-- Pete Wadey ,

View mcoyfrog's profile


4562 posts in 3835 days

#6 posted 10-28-2010 07:23 PM

WOW those are cool, don’t think i’ve seen anything like em. WOW WOW so neat

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View gurnie's profile


342 posts in 3276 days

#7 posted 10-28-2010 08:38 PM

I like the story behind these. Very SWEET

-- Please visit my Etsy site, or You can also follow me on my artfire blog:

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