Barrie Midford-Millership

The son of a Royal Air Force Pilot Officer, Barrie was born in Oxford in 1945. Following the return from his 1964 German recording tour with The Shamrocks, the emergent British R & B boom bass player joined Dr K’s Blues band and created bass guitar history by ordering a Telecaster Bass in early 1966; his visionary idea led Fender to produce the now legendary Telecaster/Precision Bass Hybrid. He has a son and daughter by his first marriage, and seven grandchildren. Happily married to Lesley for thirty-nine years, Barrie has remained a true Bluesman, loving the sound of a wailing harp and boogie-woogie piano. He has had a varied and interesting career, as well as being a professional driver he is a true Artisan. Honing inherent hand skills, he worked at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for seven years as a conservation technician. During that time he qualified as a mature student with distinctions for a City and Guilds 205 as a toolmaker, notwithstanding winning the Chaplin Trophy for the best restored boat at the Henley Regatta in 1988. As well as becoming a marine historian through research for his own projects, a 28-ft motor cutter, a 60-ft launch tug and two 45-ft admiral’s barges steeped in royal tour and royal yacht history, he became a journeyman shipwright/marine engineer working at the yard of the legendary Peter Freebody at Hurley on Thames. Barrie spent some of his happiest years working alongside Peter, daughters Melanie and Katie and son Richard who run the business today. After satisfying his love of restoring old steam and motor launches he returned to conservation and restoration work. A self-employed consultant antiquities engineer, Barrie worked on major restorations for the National Trust such as Uppark House and made mounts for the Crown Jewels when the Jewel House was refurbished at the Tower of London. Working alongside leading London restorers, he conserved anything from ancient Cycladic art to Dong Son bronzes and gold. Conservator and mount-maker extraordinaire, his work can be seen in London, New York, and Japanese museums and private collections worldwide. Since 2000 Barrie’s love of old cars and boats has smouldered on. Through the restoration of his own motorcar, he has restored dashboards and refurbished many instruments on vintage Bentleys. Several Merlin aero-engined specials display his work. Recently, he has completed the restoration of a beautiful Lake Windermere whiff gig, built in 1899. Seemingly unstoppable, since retiring he has now completed his original 1964 design – Bats Bass. An author of incisive recall and vivid descriptive ability, Barrie, the keeper of the slabs secrets, at last turns the cypher key unlocking the mystery surrounding the mighty Hybrid.

Books for Sale by Barrie Midford-Millership

Reviews

5
Great read
I bought this to complement Barry Matthews' book on the same topic. However, where Barry's book is a lovely, Sunday afternoon drive through the beautifully fascinating countryside of Fender arcana, Barrie's is a high-octane rush through the electric neon sunlit streets of the British Blues Boom, 1964-1968 ... as well as beautifully fascinating Fender arcana. It's obviously a matter of great pride for Barrie to have inspired a huge guitar manufacturer to set upon a very profitable path. But the best parts of his book don't concern that. The best parts concern his journey through the coal face of British pro & semi-pro R&B bands. He was never a famous musician, his bands never made the charts nor sold millions of records (or even made many). But that's the thing. He played at the business end of the scene, slogging through overseas tours and one nighters on the club circuit ... I would say the first part of Barrie's story lies there. The second part is a detective story. In 1967, Barrie sells his bass gear ... Nearly 30 years later, he wants it back … This is a great story, well told, but I'd like to have read more about his experiences on the road, his experiences tracking and tracing Hybrid basses ... and how his fascinating work outside music feeds into his life within the bass clef.
A review written by Shelley Di Capri on 11 Jan 2018 for The Mighty Hybrid and The Keeper of The Slabs
5
This book is a must own for every Fender Bass collector
If you collect Fender basses as I do, and enjoy researching the history as to how and why a certain modification took place, or a why a change in material or manufacturing specification was needed, or even why a certain model was developed, you will enjoy this book very much. Having collected every electric bass model produced by Fender in their first fifty years (Bass Guitar Magazine #97 & #147) the 1966 slab body Precision/Tele Hybrid holds a great fascination for me due to both its rarity, and because it was a bit of a mystery. Previously, if you tried find the history of this wonderful, short run instrument, you would have found many opinions, but a real shortage of verifiable facts. Even the few published articles and pamphlets I found did not stand up to simple fact checking. It was most frustrating, but also added to the mystery surrounding this tone monster. Now Barrie Midford-Millership, the bassist that started the ball rolling with his custom order, has told his story from the very beginning. This book is a wonderful read as it is primarily written in the first person. It is more than just facts and figures, it is a story of the time, of the music, and one man's quest to find that era once again. Through his written word and photographs I traveled his musical path, joined him in the blues clubs, and even rode in a couple of his cars! Thoroughly entertaining, and yet a much needed reference work for the collector/historian. Buy it! Read it! Steve Schlueter Fender Bass Collector and Historian
A review written by Steve Schlueter on 18 Jul 2017 for The Mighty Hybrid and The Keeper of The Slabs
5
The ultimate book about the Fender Precision Hybrid Bass from 1966
This is the ultimate book on the holy grail of bass guitars: the 1966 Slab Bodied Fender Precision Hybrid Bass. And this simply because as the author of the book, Mr Barrie Midford-Millership is the inventor of the bass as he originally placed the order back in 1966. Highly recommended for Hybrid lovers and everyone who interested in stringed musical instruments. This is the best book on this matter. It is a solid 252 page hardbound book with numerous photos and facts on the Hybrids. And M. Midford-Millership not only shares the info on the basses, he also gives us insight on the UK band scene and his personal bands at that time and with that gives us all the knowledge to understand why he decided to place the custom order in 1966 with Fender for the Hybrid Bass. And in the second half of the book he takes us on the Quest to find the Holy Grails, not only John Entwistle's old main Three-Knob-Hybrid, but also prototypes, exhibition models and also his original bass, which he had sold in 1967 and bought back in the nineties from the USA. Highly recommended - the best resource on the market!
A review written by Oliver Baumann on 04 Jan 2015 for The Mighty Hybrid and The Keeper of The Slabs
5
The Perfect Book on the 1966 Fender Hybrid Bass
This is the ultimate book on the holy grail of bass guitars: the 1966 Slab Bodied Fender Precision Hybrid Bass And this simply because as the author of the book Mr Barrie Midford-Millership Is the inventor of the bass as he originally placed the order back in 1966. Highly recommended for Hybrid lovers and everyone who interested in stringed musical instruments
A review written by Oliver Baumann on 31 Dec 2014 for The Mighty Hybrid and The Keeper of The Slabs
5
Fascinating and informative
A fascinating and informative story about the birth of a legend and the British Blues scene in the sixties... In 1966 when young Barrie ordered a Fender Telecaster Bass from his local music store, no-one could have imagined the impact that request would have. Somewhat mystified, Fender's R&D department assembled an original Precision slab body, a P-Bass neck with a maple 'board and a tortoiseshell scratchplate. While the electronics were regular, the punchy sound was not, and as soon as UK distributor Sound City saw it, it ordered two dozen more! This is Barrie's bass story from purchase to sale and getting it back some thirty years later. A fascinating and informative story about the birth of a legend and the British Blues scene in the sixties. A review written by Roger Newell, Guitarist magazine September 2013, published in issue 376 January 2014 under Guitarist Books - The pick of the best guitar tomes.
A review written by Roger Newell, Guitarist magazine on 23 Jan 2014 for The Mighty Hybrid and The Keeper of The Slabs