Integrity... It's one of the strongest words in the English language and it's also our philosophy here at Conklin. We design our instruments so that each component or ingredient becomes an integral part of the completed piece. We build each instrument with the utmost pride and strive for perfection at every stage of the project. We live our lives, treat our customers, and base our principleson sound morals, honesty and sincerity.
Integrity... you won't just read about it on our website. You'll see it, you'll hear it and you'll feel it.
All the best, Bill Conklin
Bill’s love of the guitar was sparked at about age 12 when his best friend got a guitar for Christmas. Within a few months Bill decided to pick up a bass to accompany his friend on guitar. It began with simple three chord melodies, but the love of guitars and making music would be deeply instilled for a lifetime.
Before long, Bill began to design radical guitar bodystyles and had soon filled an entire drawing tablet with innovative and imaginative designs. In his senior year of high school Bill went so far as to build his own one-of-a-kind guitar. Bill received so much interest and attention when he played the guitar live that he decided to turn his passion into a business. Just three years out of high school Bill started Conklin Guitars.
Early on, Bill relied on repair work to supplement the business income while honing his skills on modifications and refinishing, refretting, tremolo and pickup installations and custom inlay work. In 1988, Bill married his sweetheart of 7 years (Michele), moved to Springfield, Missouri, set up a brand new shop and concentrated solely on building his own original line of Conklin instruments. In just six short years Bill and his partner (Phil Goschy) had completely outgrown the original Springfield location and were forced to build the larger shop that the company calls home today. In 2001, Bill’s longtime sidekick decided to leave the guitar-building business to become a full time dad. Just by luck, one of Bill’s local customers knew of a young guitar prodigy named Mike Apperson who had been following the progress of the growing company and was interested in doing guitar set-ups. Little did either one of them know at the time what would soon become of their association.
Mike picked up the guitar at age 13 and became obsessed with the majestic power that the guitar could wield. As soon as he picked up the guitar he knew he wanted to make music a major if not dominating force in his life.
At 15 he began taking lessons from former Conklin employee Brent Frazier. They quickly became good friends and Mike became very familiar and quite obsessed with the incredible guitars that Conklin was producing.
Over the years he dreamt of two career paths. Number one: being a major label recording artist/guitar god. Number two: pursuing luthierie under the ranks of Bill Conklin.
Mike was handed an opportunity on a silver platter back in 2001 when Bill gave him a chance to come and prove if he had what it took to build these incredible instruments. Mike jumped in head first and never looked back! Mike often jokes that while he may have ended up with his second dream job, there are thousands of rock stars out there, but there are only two people in the world building Conklin Guitars!
One of Mike’s main attributes or downfalls (depending on your point of view) is his extreme obsession with perfection about anything he gets involved in. If a customer requests something, he goes above and beyond to make it happen.
You might think that he only builds these custom instruments, but he is also an incredibly talented musician and songwriter in his own right! Although Mike recently decided to take a hiatus from performing and running sound for live acts after almost 18 straight years, he still enjoys writing, recording, and producing whenever time allows.
Mike and Bill work one-on-one with each customer to guide you through the decision-making process so that you not only end up with the guitar of your dreams, but a guitar that will allow you to achieve your dreams.