Leland Sklar

Leland Sklar

Sklar performing live in 2007
Background information
Birth name Leland Bruce Sklar
Born (1947-05-28) May 28, 1947[1]
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Origin Southern California, U.S.
Occupation(s) Session musician
  • Bass guitar
  • Guitarrón mexicano
  • vocals
Years active 1962–Present
Associated acts

Leland Bruce "Lee" Sklar (born May 28, 1947) is an American musician. A prominent electric bass guitarist, Sklar has contributed to over 2,000 albums as a session musician. He has collaborated with a number of well-known performers and recorded soundtracks to films and television shows.

Early life and career

Sklar studied at California State University, Northridge. It was during that time he met James Taylor, who invited him to play bass at some venues. They both thought that the work would be short-term, but soon Taylor's career took off with his first hit records, and Sklar came into the limelight. He was soon asked to record with others, and his long career began.[2]


Sklar's favorite instrument is a bass put together by parts and consists of a P-bass body, a J-bass neck with mandolin frets and two P-bass pickups. It has been used on 90% of his recordings and he refers to it as the Frankenstein bass. [3]

"I had a bass built in 1973 by John Carruthers. What happened was, I had a Precision neck – no body, but the neck was real nice – and we took a template from my '62 Jazz and reshaped the Precision neck into that.

"When Charvel first started, I went out there and saw a bunch of nice alder bodies, and I hung them on wires and tapped them until I found the one that really resonated. So I took that body to John and we made a bass out of it. It's kind of my Frankenstein.

"I've got first-generation EMG pickups on it. Also, I have two sets of Precision pickups, and I have them where Jazz pickups would've normally gone. But I reversed their position, which totally evens things out. In redoing the neck, we had to strip the frets off, and we ended up replacing them with mandolin wire, which is very small fret wire. We didn't know if it would work, but it turned out great. So that's been my main bass since about 1983." [4]

In 2004, Sklar began playing a signature model 5 string bass made by Dingwall Guitars[5] of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. This was his main bass on tour and he used them in various recordings. The bass uses fanned-frets which result in longer low strings and shorter high strings.

In 2010, Sklar began playing the Warwick Star Bass II which has since become his main bass in the studio. [6]

In 2010, Sklar joined the Troubadour Reunion Tour accompanying James Taylor and Carole King.

In 2013, after years of having been a Warwick Star Bass II user, he became an endorser of that instrument.[7][8]

At Winter NAMM 2016 Warwick announced their Lee Sklar signature bass based on the Star Bass but with an offset body shape and a forearm contour.[9] Dingwall still produce his signature with them which he still uses for 5 string purposes.

Selected discography

Selected albums

Selected film and television soundtracks

Selected film appearances


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