product types: 

  • acoustic guitars
  • electric guitars


W.G. (Bill) Barker started making guitars in the 1960s, having learned guitar building from Carl Albanus Johnson, a violin maker in Chicago who also made archtop guitars. In the early seventies Bill Barker and his brother Jack opened a workshop at 6100 S. Adams Street in Bartonville, IL where they built and repaired guitars.  William G. Barker probably made no more than 120 guitars in total so you will rarely find them for sale, although you have a better chance of finding one if you live in Illinois as many of his guitars stayed in the Midwest. Bill Barker sold his business to Bill Cook in 1987 and Cook carried on making archtops. Barker died in 1991,

The earlier Barkers have a name-plate "W. G. Barker" on the headstock and from the 1970s on they have an inlaid "Barker" logo. Barker's 9th guitar made in 1964 or 1965 can be heard on Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender" as well as film and television soundtracks (including the Batman series of the 1960s) as played by session guitarist, Johnny Gray. It was later owned by Ike Issacs (who played with Stephane Grappelli in the early 1970s) and was eventually presented to Martin Taylor as a present on his 21st Birthday. Taylor plays his Barker on his 1982 release, Skye Boat.

Source: Vintage Archtops - Barker


Barker Guitars
6100 S. Adams Street
Bartonville , IL
United States
Illinois US