Luthier Profile: Bob Groat

Way back when in High School, Bob Groat had his eye on becoming a professional musician. It seems that an acquaintance had a Gretsch electric guitar that was, to be kind, a bit of a wreck. Bob bought it for $25 and repaired it. This provided the motivation to start building his own guitars. He still has the second guitar that he made and is still pleasantly surprised at how well it plays!

Northern California in the late 60's and early 70's was an inspiring place for an aspiring guitar builder. Bob recalls fondly being able to walk into the Alembic factory, amazed at how nice everyone was. In addition to being able to go in and chat with the people there, they would even sell Bob parts for his guitar building.

Bob's interest in bass-guitar building got a kick-start about 8 years ago when a friend and fellow luthier mentioned that he thought that there was a good niche in building acoustic basses. Because Bob had been restoring vintage Lotus cars, which had been made from fiberglass, since about 1980, he was familiar with composite methods and structures. This provided the know-how required to design and produce a lighter, stronger acoustic bass using carbon-fiber for the body of such an instrument.

The first prototype was so successful, several Bay Area music stores expressed interest in Bob's basses. The large sound board, and carbon fiber body put it in the gap between the acoustic bass guitars and the stand-up bass. Showing the thoughtfulness that comes when the builder is also a musician, Bob designed his acoustic bass with a rounded back and sides for player comfort.

Through constant and relentless improvement, Bob's acoustic basses are at the pinnacle in terms of design, playability, comfort, sound volume and projection. The highlight of Bob's lutherie career came about when he popped into a music store that had one of his basses, only to have the owner say, "Bob, you know who's been interested in your bass? Joe Satriani (the incredible rock guitarist virtuoso)!" Bob eventually contacted Satriani and confirmed that he was indeed impressed with the bass.

Bob Groat may be contacted at R.L. Groat Instruments, 2110 Crosspoint Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95403 URL: E-mail:

To see some of Bob's instruments, please click here.

To hear sound samples of Bob's instruments, please click here.

Stay tuned to for a review of Bob's acoustic basses.