Thanks, Bill

Thanks, Bill

Bill Skinner at TAPCO . Audio designer/Mentor designed for TAPCO, Phase Linear

Bill Skinner at TAPCO. Audio designer/Mentor designed for TAPCO, Phase Linear

In the process of begging for photos of the old days from my friends, Bob Gudgel let me have this picture of our friend Bill Skinner. I hadn’t seen him since before a terrible motorcycle accident took his life in the mid eighties.  He was a great guy and a technical mentor to many people in the audio world. He designed for companies including Phase Linear and TAPCO, where this shot was taken. 

The first time I met Bill, he strode into my living room, pulled my equipment rack out and checked the back of the Phase 4000 preamp, announcing  “Bob took my name off!”  It was a whirlwind after that. We visited recording studios, dropped in on AES meetings, and drove to what we called The Big AES in Los Angeles. A group of us spent hours bombing down the freeway in Bill’s van, listening to 8 tracks, (and if I am remembering properly, 45s)  adjusting his little MXR with the mouse rubbers. When I came up to Seattle Bill and Linda would let me stay at their house, which apparently was previously occupied by Bob Carver.

Bill had a great way of discussing technical things – he often seemed full of suppressed excitement, eager to share the awesomeness of what he was seeing. He could explain why something worked and why it was so cool that it worked in the way that it did, or using the method it used, or whatever. You didn’t feel like he was explaining something to you, more that he was letting you in on some fascinating thing he had discovered.  It all seemed to delight him and the delight was infectious.

Memories of Bill and of these times are infused with that joy of audio, the joy of discovery, the joy of the open world and all of its possibilities. Thanks, Bill.


6 Responsesto “Thanks, Bill”

  1. Roger Gundersen says:

    I was there too.I remember your band Tyler. I worked with Bill at McAdams in San Diego. Bob Carver blew up our HI-FI tester at CES ..700 watts was unheard of then, so he had to go work for him and I soon followed. Lived with Bill and Linda in that house too. Then in the dirt parking lot below the A&P in my camper with my wife and cats tell we found a place. Bill was a true genius, his name graces the back of the early Phase 4000 preamp, always cutting edge designs .. we put a Phase 400 in his van. Played around with blue boxes ,”Phase Linear Audio Bridging Adapter”, put a computer in a briefcase. Thanks for the memories .. miss him alot. Still have a working Phase 700B and 4000 preamp. Long live rock …

  2. Peggy says:

    tyler boley…robin… bob…What a trip down memory lane. Bill Skinner popped into my head for some reason and I put his name on google and found this site. I was married to Miles back in the day under the old grocery store when Phase was just a baby:) Those days were the best of the best. I’ll be tripping on old names all day..


  3. boB Gudgel says:

    Hey Tyler ! long time no hear.

    I remember when you were staying at Bill and Linda’s place. Man, those were the days !
    Learning about all things technical still continues but it just seemed way more exciting back
    in those days. There was something exciting when the mentoring came from Bill.

    I remember his FM tuner with the digital display, learning about cool new parts. It always amazed me how he always knew about all the cool new parts.

    if you get the chance, Tyler (and Colleen), come up to see Robin and me and hear about the other industry of alternative energy that came out of the Bob Carver seed of inspiration and Bill Skinner from way back when. The fun and young days !
    boB Gudgel
    MidNite Solar

    • Tyler Boley says:

      Hello Bob, for a while these links didn’t work but it’s all up and running again now. Thanks for your reply, say hi to Rob for me, he probably remembers me as a pretty bad employee. I spent a little time visiting with Colleen and Dean Nissan the other day, lot’s of memories came back

    • Warren Schuchman says:

      Wow Bob Gudgel,

      After working at Phase Linear (’78 to ’80) in the Quality Department I left soon after the Pioneer products started appearing at the Lynnwood plant. Wendell Davis called and asked me to work with him at Spectro Acoustics in Redmond where I met you. Randy Hibbert and I worked together in manufacturing and final QA test.

      Warren Schuchman

  4. Tyler Boley says:

    This is really quite amazing to run across. I think about Bill often. When Phase Linear was in the Edmunds A&P basement, we both worked there. He helped me design and build a variety of guitar effects for me long before they were on the market, phase shifters, ring modulators, distortion and compression effects, etc.. I was in a fairly wild band called Blue Max and he came to see us as well. I remember when the girl I lived with and I broke up, he and Linda let me stay at that same house as well… He was a great guy, generous, and truly excited about doing cool stuff, as you say. Thanks for posting this and the picture

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