– A quick note about Gene Baker Guitars. Each of our instruments are FULL-CUSTOM, meaning the owner has full control over choices such as body woods, electronics type and configuration, top woods, etc. Each of our models; the SL, Phoenix and Ringmaster start with a silhouette or body shape, neck type (bolt-on, neck through or set net) and electronics route, either front or rear. From there, each choice is yours, and each custom build is a collaboration with you and Gene… a partnership in the creation of your ultimate tool of musical expression
About Gene Baker
Sometimes, as children, we make choices which seem inconsequential at the time, yet mark the beginning of a journey which shapes the whole of our lives. The choice of giving up youth hockey in favor of playing guitar in garage bands and working on his buddies’ instruments after moving to sunny California from Detroit Rock City marked this turning aside from the mundane and the expected for an 11 year old Gene Baker
Just 8 years later and at only 20 years old, Gene had built a fully functional guitar repair shop in his parent’ garage, created his own lead guitar instructional book, spent his free time giving lessons and continued to play lead in several local bands.
Notions of chance and fate are province of those engaged in rash or passionate undertakings, and having begun to build and sell his own “Mean Gene” custom guitars, was the beginning of series of events which shortly found Gene apprenticing under fabled luthier Roger Giffin, head of Gibson’s West Coast Custom Shop in those days, so impressed was he with Gene’s work.
With 2 years under Roger, his passion fully ignited and his skills finely honed, Gene moved to the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, California in 1993, known as the “Golden Age”, there mentored by the likes of George Amicay, Jay Black, Larry Brooks, Jason Davis, John English, Kenny Gin, Alan Hamel, Yasuhiko Iwanade, Mark Kendrick, Todd Krause, the great John Page, Alex Perez, Steve Stern, Fred Stuart, and John Suhr, some of which he later joined in other ventures.
Gene rose to Senior Master Builder at Fender. Highlights include his close collaboration with Robben Ford, Jeff Rivera and others included the first contemporary carved Strats; the reissue of mid-late ‘60’s big peg head Strats, the production of round-lam necks, twelve strings, double necks, bajo sextos, the Showmaster Strat and the John Jorgenson signature model.
The next decade saw Gene overseeing production, Master-Building and partnering with companies like Ernie Ball, D’Angelico and others, but in 2003 Gene made yet another decision which, at the time, seemed of little consequence but was to bring into focus his lasting and true calling -the decision to craft his own fully custom guitars and offer them to players of all kinds
At the summit of skills as master builder of stringed instruments, he wanted to offer players, without limitation, the very finest in what could be done with an electric guitar.
Drawing on his own experience hand-building some of the most storied guitar models in history and having been in many cases present at the their genesis, Gene created the B3 Line – two of the most iconic silhouettes in guitar history, the Phoenix and SL, and a modern instrument of completely contemporary design; the Ringmaster.
Having gone through several iterations and business models on his journey, and having overcome the challenges often faced by small independent builders, Gene is proud to announce the reformation of Gene Baker Guitars, thanks in part to new partner, Mike Rinkenberger.
Bringing more than 25 years of MI industry acumen to the partnership, Mike began his career at the ripe age of 15 and has thrived in a variety of progressively prominent positions. This includes key accounts buyer of a leading national retailer and manager of two highly respected Illinois fretted instrument dealers. He brings an experienced, diverse, and well-rounded skill set to the table and is truly passionate about and well versed in all things guitar, bass, amps, and rock n’ roll. Having seen literally everything there is to see in the world of boutique instruments, Mike jumped at the opportunity to work with Gene and bring these guitars to the public’s eye in a very big way, venturing into the 40th anniversary of Gene’s guitar building career with a boom.
“2020 is going to see some amazing things happen in the boutique guitar world and b3 is going to be a big part of that,” said Mike. “At winter NAMM 2020 we’re giving the industry a peek at what b3 Guitars is bringing to the table; truly unique hand built instruments of the finest quality, each built to order for a passionate player.”
“Building these instruments, each one of them unique to the player I’m building it for, is really all I want to do… and now I can finally do it! Be good humans, live, love and play more guitar! Life is too short not to!!”
– Gene Baker