Philip John Kubicki, 1943-2013

June 4, 2013

RENOWNED GUITAR BUILDER AND BASS designer Philip Kubicki passed peacefully March 18, in Laconia, NH. His grandfather’s guitar and Segovia’s playing fascinated him. At 12, Kubicki felt a “mysterious connection” with the instrument, and he built three guitars while in high school. After attending engineering classes at Fullerton Junior College, he took an eye-opening tour of the Fender factory in 1963. Learning of their plans for an acoustic division, he applied for a job. Two weeks later, Roger Rossmeisl took on Kubicki to develop Fender’s flat-top Kingman series, the Coronado, and fancy LTD archtops. Kubicki made a rosewood Telecaster for George Harrison, and he nearly jumped out of his seat seeing it in Let It Be. During his tenure, Kubicki was truly Fender’s ’60s Custom Shop artisan.

Moving to Santa Barbara in 1973, Kubicki pursued an independent career building acoustics and electrics. Seymour Duncan collaborated with him in the early ’80s, and introduced me to him, resulting in the Wildwood ’50 Esquire seen here. In 1985, Kubicki’s progressive masterpiece, the X Factor bass, debuted a truly advanced bridge-tuning design.

Kubicki’s genius was in creating simple yet sensible, ergonomically perfect instruments. Always a wonderful friend with admirable enthusiasm, he had the kindest of hearts. He will be dearly missed by the many who had the great pleasure of his warm friendship. Hats off to those playing the lasting legacy of Kubicki instruments.

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