Pat Wilkins: Guitar Finish Maestro!

At GluBoost, we’re fortunate to have some of the very best people in the guitar build and repair business testing – AND LOVING – our products.

Rock star luthiers, top tier techs and leading repair shops are all joining the GluBoost fan club! While all guitars have different looks, sounds and features, they all have finishes. And true artists everywhere know Pat Wilkins as the “master of the finish.”

This time, we are thrilled to place the GluBoost luthier and tech spotlight on Pat as a true master of his craft. And it’s certainly no surprise that, in addition to his sterling reputation as a master of the guitar finish, Wilkins Guitars also builds fine guitars as well!


The Background on Pat

Pat Wilkins was born and lived in France until the age of 13. In 1966 he moved to the Northern Virginia area and spent 10 years there until 1976 when he moved to the Los Angeles area and has been living and working there since then. From 1977 on he has been involved in the musical instrument industry starting with Schecter Guitars. In 1982 he went to work for the world famous LA Guitarworks where he learned the craft of repair of guitars. He worked right next door to Norm’s Rare guitars and learned much about vintage instruments. In 1984 he started Wilkins Guitar Finishes and has been operating the business ever since.


1. What got you interested in the luthier/guitar tech business?

As a musician in the Los Angeles area, there were a lot of times when I was out of work and looking to supplement my income with work. I had met Tom Anderson at a gig that we were both playing at and he told me about this guitar company that he was working for and that they needed someone to come and work/run the wood shop. That company was Schecter Guitar research and the year was 1977. It was a wonderful opportunity and I quickly realized that I loved what I was doing there. Eventually I moved up and moved over to the guitar shop side of the business and the rest is as they say, history.


2. Briefly describe a favorite build or repair

There are so many favorite builds because each one is a special project to me and since I work directly with the customers most of the times a bond always forms between me, the customer and the instrument. If I had to pick one out of all the builds it would be the bass that I built for Peter Cetera of Chicago. He wanted me to recreate the bass that he used on so many of the Chicago records and tours and so we spent a lot of time talking to each other. He’s told me some incredible stories of his days with Chicago and some of the stories after he left the band. I really enjoyed getting to know him and it made building the bass for him a very memorable experience.


3. Please provide a few Do’s or Don’t’s tips for other luthiers/techs.

Rule number one for me is to always do my best work, no matter who it’s for. Then it’s not about pleasing your customer as much as it’s about knowing that you did your very best. That will make your customer happy and he or she will share the experience with others. When that happens, your business grows by word of mouth. Always look for ways to improve the work that you do. Look for new ways to improve your quality and do the work more efficiently.


4. What’s your favorite GluBoost product?

My favorite product is the Dry Glue Accelerator. It’s so much better than anything else out on the market. I’ve been able to do fills and clear touch ups with the GluBoost glue, hit it with the accelerator, sand it and sometimes polish it without fear of getting white dots or the Styrofoam type reaction that many of the other accelerators have. I have confidence that it works well, every time.


5. What’s a current project you’re working on?

Right now I’m rebuilding a guitar that belonged to Glen Buxton of Alice Cooper. The guitar was used on the Welcome to my Nightmare record and tour. At the end of the tour is severely damaged and has been unused since then. I’ve been working on it and learning new skills.


6. Who are your clients of note?

Peter Cetera of Chicago, Trevor Rabin of Yes, John Fogerty of CCR, Jimi Haslip of Yellowjackets, Doug Fieger, of the The Knack, Elliott Easton of The Cars, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Eric Clapton, Leland Sklar, Bob Glaub, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo of Metallica, and many more.