Leland Sklar

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.

Equipment

Sklar’s favorite instrument is a bass put together from various parts and consists of a Precision-bass body, a Jazz-bass neck with mandolin frets and two Precision-bass pickups. It has been used on 90% of his recordings and he refers to it as the “Frankenstein bass”.

“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.”

In 2004, Sklar began playing a signature model 5 string bass made by Dingwall Guitars 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.

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.

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. Dingwall still produce his signature with them which he still uses for 5 string purposes.

Selected discography

Selected albums

  • Air Supply — The Vanishing Race (1993)
  • Peter Allen — I Could Have Been a Sailor (1979)
  • America — Alibi (1980)
  • Bronson Arroyo — Covering the Bases (2005)
  • Hoyt Axton:
    • Road Songs (1977)
    • Pistol Packin’ Mama/Spin of the Wheel (1998)
  • Barefoot Servants:
    • Barefoot Servants (1994)
    • Barefoot Servants 2 (2005)
  • Carole Bayer Sager:
    • Carole Bayer Sager (1977)
    • Too (1978)
    • Sometimes Late at Night (1981)
  • Py Backman — P20Y10 (2010)
  • Cat Beach— Love Me Out Loud — (2009)
  • Regina Belle — Passion (1993)
  • Barbi Benton — Something New (1975)
  • Marc Benno and the Nightcrawlers — Crawlin (2009)
  • Louis Bertignac – Suis-Moi (2014)
  • Stephen Bishop — Bish (1978)
  • Clint Black:
    • The Hard Way — (1992)
    • No Time to Kill — (1993)
    • Looking for Christmas — (1995)
    • Nothin’ but the Taillights — (1997)
    • Christmas with You — (2004)
  • Ronee Blakley — Ronee Blakley (1972)
  • Suzy Bogguss:
    • Aces (1991)
    • Voices in the Wind (1992)
    • Something Up My Sleeve (1993)
    • Simpatico (1994)
    • Give Me Some Wheels (1996)
    • Nobody Love, Nobody Gets Hurt (1998)
  • Karla Bonoff — Karla Bonoff (1977)
  • Laura Branigan — Branigan (1982)
  • Sarah Brightman — As I Came of Age (1998)
  • Cate Brothers – Cate Brothers (1975)
  • Jackson Browne:
    • Jackson Browne (1972)
    • For Everyman (1973)
    • The Pretender (1976)
    • Running on Empty (1977)
  • Peabo Bryson/Roberta Flack — Born to Love (1983)
  • Jimmy Buffett — Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads (1992)
  • Steve Camp — Consider the Cost (1991)
  • Glen Campbell — Bloodline (1976)
  • Eric Carmen — Change of Heart (1978)
  • Kim Carnes:
    • Kim Carnes (1975)
    • St. Vincent’s Court (1979)
    • Barking at Airplanes (1985)
    • View from the House (1988)
  • David Cassidy:
    • The Higher They Climb (1975)
    • Home Is Where the Heart Is (1976)
  • Steven Curtis Chapman:
    • Heaven in the Real World (1994)
    • Signs of Life (1996)
  • Ray Charles — My World (1993)
  • Billy Cobham — Spectrum (1973)
  • Joe Cocker “Heart and Soul” (2004)
  • Leonard Cohen — The Future (1992)
  • Phil Collins:
    • No Jacket Required (1985)
    • …But Seriously (1989)
    • Serious Hits… Live! (1990)
    • …Hits (1998)
    • Finally, The First Farewell Tour (2004)
  • Rita Coolidge:
    • Lady’s Not for Sale (1972)
    • Fall into Spring (1974)
    • It’s Only Love (1975)
    • Anytime, Anywhere (1977)
  • Crosby & Nash:
    • Graham Nash David Crosby (1972)
    • Crosby & Nash (2004)
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash:
    • Daylight Again (1982)
    • Live It Up (1990)
    • Carry On (1998)
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
    • Replay (1980)
  • David Crosby:
    • Thousand Roads (1993)
    • Croz (2014)
  • Gene Clark:
    • No Other (1974)
  • Catie Curtis — Catie Curtis (1997)
  • Paul D’Adamo — Tell Me Something (2010)
  • Jackie DeShannon — New Arrangement (1975)
  • Neil Diamond:
    • Lovescape (1991)
    • Christmas Album (1992)
  • Dion — Streetheart (1976)
  • Thomas Dolby — Astronauts and Heretics (1992)
  • Donovan:
    • 7-Tease (1973)
    • Cosmic Wheels (1973)
    • Slow Down World (1976)
  • The Doors — Full Circle (1972)
  • Chris Eaton — Wonderful World (1995)
  • Randy Edelman:
    • If Love Is Real (1977)
    • You’re the One (1979)
  • England Dan & John Ford Coley — Dr. Heckle & Mr. Jive (1978)
  • Yvonne Elliman:
    • Night Flight (1978)
    • Yvonne (1979)
  • Lara Fabian — Wonderful Life (2004)
  • Mimi Fariña — Mimi Fariña & Tom Jans (1971)
  • Kinky Friedman — Kinky Friedman (1974)
  • Richie Furay — I Still Have Dreams (1979)
  • Ana Gabriel — Vivencias (1996)
  • Art Garfunkel:
    • Breakaway (1975)
    • Songs from a Parent to a Child (1997)
  • Garou — Seul (2000)
  • Giorgio— Party Of The Century — (2010)
  • Vince Gill:
    • Way Back Home (1987)
    • Let There Be Peace on Earth (1993)
    • High Lonesome Sound (1996)
  • Chuck Girard — Glow in the Dark (1976)
  • Andrew Gold:
    • What’s Wrong With This Picture? (1976)
    • All This And Heaven Too (1978)
  • Amy Grant:
    • Legacy…Hymns and Faith (2002)
    • Simple Things (2003)
  • Tami Gunden — Celebration (1987)
  • Arlo Guthrie — Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys (1973)
  • Alejandra Guzmán — Algo Natural (1999)
  • Sammy Hagar — The Best Of Sammy Hagar (1992)
  • Merle Haggard — Chicago Wind (2005)
  • Hall & Oates:
    • Daryl Hall & John Oates (1975)
    • Bigger Than Both of Us (1976)
    • Beauty on a Back Street (1977)
  • Don Henley — I Can’t Stand Still (1982)
  • Michael W. Herndon:
    • “Even in the Rain” (2000)
    • “The Spirit of the Sun” (2008)
  • Faith Hill — Cry (2002)
  • Roger Hodgson — Hai Hai (1987)
  • Engelbert Humperdinck — After Dark (1996)
  • Brian Hyland — Brian Hyland (1970)
  • Enrique Iglesias — Vivir (1997)
  • Julio Iglesias — Crazy (1994)
  • Freddie Jackson — Time for Love (1992)
  • Michael Jackson
  • Flaco Jiménez — Partners (1992)
  • John Kay — My Sportin’ Life (1973)
  • Sally Kellerman; “Sally” (2009)
  • Casey Kelly — Casey Kelly (1972)
  • Carole King — Thoroughbred (1976)
  • Danny Kortchmar — Innuendo (1980)
  • Kris Kristofferson:
    • Spooky Lady’s Sideshow (1974)
    • Who’s to Bless and Who’s to Blame (1975)
    • Surreal Thing (1976)
  • Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge — Full Moon (1973)
  • Leah Kunkel — Leah Kunkel (1979)
  • Wynonna Judd — Wynonna (1992)
  • Daniel Lavoie — Woman to Man (1994)
  • Lisa Loeb:
    • Firecracker (1997)
    • Cake and Pie (2002)
    • Hello Lisa (2002)
  • Lyle Lovett:
    • Lyle Lovett and His Large Band (1989)
    • Joshua Judges Ruth (1992)
    • The Road to Ensenada (1996)
    • Step Inside This House (1998)
  • Steve Lukather
    • Lukather (1998)
    • Ever changing times [10] (2008)
  • The Manhattan Transfer — Offbeat of Avenues (1991)
  • Amanda Marshall — Amanda Marshall (1996)
  • Yumi Matsutoya:
    • The 14th Moon (1976)
    • The Gates of Heaven (1990)
    • Dawn Purple (1991)
    • Tears and Reasons (1992)
    • acacia (2001)
  • Ricky Martin — Medio Vivir (1995)
  • Richard Marx:
    • Rush Street (1991)
    • Paid Vacation (1993)
  • McCluskey — A Long Time Coming (1978)
  • Maureen McCormick — When You Get a Little Lonely (1995)
  • Reba McEntire:
    • The Last One to Know (1987)
    • Sweet Sixteen (1989)
    • For My Broken Heart (1991)
    • Read My Mind (1994)
    • Starting Over (1995)
    • Greatest Collection (2004)
  • Pat McGee – Pat McGee (2015)
  • Roger McGuinn:
    • Roger McGuinn (1973)
    • Peace on You (1974)
    • Born to Rock & Roll (1992)
  • Barry McGuire — Lighten Up (1974)
  • Bette Midler — Broken Blossom (1977)
  • Giorgio Moroder — Cat People (1982)
  • Miyuki Nakajima:
    • Hi: Wings (1999)
    • Tsuki: Wings (1999)
    • Short Stories (2000)
    • Lullaby for the Soul (2001)
    • Otogibanashi: Fairy Ring (2002)
  • Graham Nash — Innocent Eyes (1986)
  • Aaron Neville:
    • Aaron Neville’s Soulful Christmas (1993)
    • To Make Me Who I Am (1997)
  • Randy Newman:
    • Land of Dreams (1988)
    • Randy Newman’s Faust (1995)
  • Joanna Newsom — Ys (2006)
  • Olivia Newton-John — Making a Good Thing Better (1977)
  • The Oak Ridge Boys:
    • Heart Beat (1987)
    • Monongahela (1987)
  • Mike Oldfield:
    • Man On The Rocks (2014)
  • Nigel Olsson — Nigel Olsson (1978)
  • Judith Owen — Ebb & Flow (2014)
  • Jamie Owens — Growing Pains (1975)
  • Twila Paris — Perennial: Songs for the Seasons of Life (1998)
  • Van Dyke Parks:
    • Moonlighting: Live at the Ash Grove (1998)
    • Songs Cycled (2013)
  • Dolly Parton:
    • 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs (1980)
    • Dolly, Dolly, Dolly (1980)
    • Heartbreak Express (1982)
    • Rainbow (1987)
  • Laura Pausini Entre Tu y Mil Mares / Tra Te e il Mare (2000)
  • Herb Pedersen:
    • Southwest (1976)
    • Sandman (1977)
    • Lonesome Feeling (1984)
  • Bernadette Peters:
    • Bernadette Peters (1980)
    • Bernadette (1992)
  • Shawn Phillips:
    • Faces (1972)
    • Bright White (1973)
    • Spaced (1977)
    • Transcendence (1978)
    • No Category (2002)
  • Poco — Legacy — (1989)
  • Point of Grace:
    • Steady On (1998)
    • Christmas Story (1999)
  • Steve Poltz — One Left Shoe (1998)
  • Bonnie Raitt — Nine Lives (1986)
  • Willis Alan Ramsey — Willis Alan Ramsey (1972)
  • Helen Reddy — Helen Reddy (1971)
  • Cliff Richard — Heathcliff — (1996)
  • Turley Richards — (1971)Expressions
  • LeAnn Rimes:
    • Twisted Angel (2002)
    • What a Wonderful World (2004)
  • Lee Ritenour — Banded Together (1984)
  • Johnny Rivers — Last Train to Memphis (1998)
  • Linda Ronstadt:
    • Don’t Cry Now (1973)
    • Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind (1989)
    • Winter Light (1994)
    • Feels Like Home (1995)
    • We Ran (1998)
    • Mi Jardín Azul: Las Canciones Favoritas (2004)
  • Diana Ross:
    • To Love Again (1981)
    • Force Behind the Power (1991)
  • Vasco Rossi — Buoni o Cattivi (2004)
  • Jennifer Rush — Heart Over Mind (1987)
  • Marta Sánchez:
    • Desconocida (1998)
    • Soy Yo (2002)
  • David Sanborn — Love Songs (1976)
  • Véronique Sanson:
    • Zenith 93 (1993)
    • Comme ils l’imaginent (1996)
    • Indestructible (1998)
    • D’un papillon à une étoile (1999)
  • Leo Sayer — Leo Sayer (1978)
  • Joey Scarbury — America’s Greatest Hero (1981)
  • Darrell Scott — Family Tree (1999)
  • 2nd Chapter of Acts:
    • The Roar of Love (1980)
    • Singer Sower (1983)
  • The Section:
    • Section (1972)
    • Forward Motion (1973)
    • Fork It Over (1977)
  • Neil Sedaka:
    • Hungry Years (1975)
    • Sedaka’s Back (1975)
    • Steppin’ Out (1976)
    • In the Pocket (1980)
  • Vonda Shepard — Heart and Soul: New Songs From Ally McBeal (1999)
  • Carly Simon — Playing Possum (1975)
  • Ricky Skaggs:
    • Love’s Gonna Get Ya (1986)
    • My Father’s Son (1991)
  • Michael W. Smith:
    • I’ll Lead You Home (1995)
    • Christmastime (1998)
    • Christmas Collection (2004)
  • The Spencer Davis Group — Mousetrap (1972)
  • Jimmie Spheeris — The Original Tap Dancing Kid (1973)
  • Rick Springfield — Mission Magic (1974)
  • John Stewart — The Lonesome Picker Rides Again (1971)
  • Rod Stewart:
    • Atlantic Crossing (1975)
    • A Night on the Town (1976)
  • Stephen Stills:
    • Stills (1975)
    • Turnin’ Back the Pages (2003)
  • George Strait:
    • Ocean Front Property (1987)
    • Strait Out of the Box (1995)
  • Barbra Streisand — Love Like Ours (1999)
  • Daryl Stuermer — Live & Learn (1998)
  • Donna Summer — The Wanderer (1980)
  • Talbot Bros. — Talbot Bros. (1974)
  • James Taylor:
    • Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon (1971)
    • One Man Dog— (1972)
    • Gorilla— (1975)
    • Greatest Hits— (1976)
    • In the Pocket— (1976)
    • JT— (1977)
    • Flag— (1979)
    • Dad Loves His Work— (1981)
    • That’s Why I’m Here— (1985)
    • Never Die Young— (1988)
    • Live in Rio— (1991)
    • The Best of James Taylor— (2003)
    • Live at the troubadour—2010
  • Kate Taylor — Sister Kate (1971)
  • Livingston Taylor — There You Are Again (2005)
  • Billy Thorpe:
    • Children Of The Sun (1979)
    • 21st Century Man (1981)
  • Terence Trent d’Arby — Terence Trent d’Arby’s Symphony or Damn (1993)
  • Toto — XIV (2015)
  • Tanya Tucker — Should I Do It (1981)
  • Michelle Tumes — Dream (2001)
  • Anna Vissi — Everything I Am (2001)
  • Clay Walker:
    • Clay Walker (1993)
    • Live, Laugh, Love — (1999)
    • Few Questions — (2003)
  • Jennifer Warnes — Well (2001)
  • The Weather Girls — Success (1983)
  • Jimmy Webb:
    • Angel Heart (1982)
    • Suspending Disbelief (1993)
  • Bernie Williams — The Journey Within (2003)
  • Paul Williams — Back to Love Again (1999)
  • Robbie Williams — Escapology (2002)
  • Wilson Phillips — Shadows and Light (1992)
  • Lee Ann Womack — Something Worth Leaving Behind (2002)
  • Trisha Yearwood — Everybody Knows (1996)
  • Takuro Yoshida — Long Time No See (1996)
  • Jesse Colin Young — Walk the Talk (2003)
  • Warren Zevon:
    • Excitable Boy — (1978)
    • Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School — (1980)
    • The Envoy — (1982)
    • Sentimental Hygiene — (1987)
    • I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (An Anthology) — (1996)

Selected film and television soundtracks

  • Annabelle’s Wish (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1997)
  • Black Dog (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1998)
  • Catwalk (Television soundtrack) — (1994)
  • Conspiracy Theory (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1997)
  • Coyote Ugly (Motion picture soundtrack) — (2000)
  • Doctor Detroit (Motion picture soundtrack)
  • Dr. T & the Women (Motion picture soundtrack) — (2000)
  • For Love of the Game (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1999)
  • Legally Blonde (Motion picture soundtrack) — (2001)
  • Message in a Bottle (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1999)
  • Metropolis (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1984)
  • Phantom of the Paradise (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1974)
  • The Postman (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1997)
  • The Prince of Egypt (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1998)
  • Sleepwalkers (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1992)
  • Love Maximum (Motion picture soundtrack) — (1994)

Selected film appearances

  • Rhinestone (film) (Actor: Rhinestone House Band, as Lee Sklar) — (1984)
  • Ticker (2001 film) (Actor: Blues Band Bass) — (2001)
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