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Collectable Guitars pt 8 – Bond Electraglide


bond electraglide neckThe Bond Electraglide was a very unusual, little-known guitar made in Scotland by Andrew Bond in 1984-5.

The guitar was highly odd, featuring a carbon-fibre body, very complex digital readouts instead of controls, and a neck which featured no frets, instead a “stepped” fingerboard, where the frets were replaced with saw-tooth shaped steps. 

The player selected pickups via five pushbuttons; volume, treble and bass were incremented numerically via digital rocker switches, confirmed by a three-colour LED readout.

bond electraglideThe guitar was launched at the 1984 NAMM show in America. Apart from the various gimmicks featured on the guitar, including the required use of an external power supply, it played normally and sounded normal, with three single-coil pickups and a normal body shape.

The Electraglide was a big shock to the traditional guitar buying public, and was very unsuccessful, (even though I have personally nearly bought one a couple of times).

It sold no more than 1000 units, and was all but forgotten by 1986. There were some notable users however;

British guitarist Mick Jones is known to have used a Bond Electraglide with his band Big Audio Dynamite in the mid 1980s. The Edge used his extensively on The Joshua Tree, including the solo on “One Tree Hill”, as well as on “Exit,” and “Mothers of the Disappeared”.

Will Sargeant from Echo and The Bunnymen was also an Electraglide user.

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53 Comments

  1. They actually came with a variety of strange digital controls, including one that had something that looked like a calculator on it.

    The sound was OKish I suppose. Not exactly classic. The need for an external PSU was a right royal pain in the butt, no least because it meant that you had to have, or make, a specific type of guitar lead for it.

    Finally, the stepped fretboard, while interesting, turned out to be really hard to play.

    Nice try though by Mr Bond, it was the 80s after all!

  2. flyssy says:

    I guess you are right…they were just too different to play, and not different enough sounding to warrant the effort. A nice curio though!

  3. johnny guitar says:

    I am now an owner of a Bond looking to chat over some issues about the action of guitat and reccimended string guages and other tips .

  4. Andylog says:

    I own 2 of these and although not played very much now managed to get great sounds from them. 1 has a factory fitted volume control pot which I have never seen before so I reckon it was a prototype or tester but what a difference it makes instead of messing around with the rocker switches. Takes a bit to get used to fingerboard though.

  5. flyssy says:

    Hi Andy, want to send us some pics? we’ll feature them as a new post..cheers, Flyssy

  6. Stuart MacLeod says:

    I had one of these not long after they came out. I actually liked the digital controls, and it did have some unusual sounds. The problem I had was that despite all the “NO fret buzz!!!” hype, the thing buzzed all over the neck no matter how it was set-up, and playing lead on it was horrible.

    I got rid of it after a few years – I got all of £150 for it. At the time I heard that when they went bust, staff were all paid off with guitars, meaning the 2nd hand market was flooded with used Electraglides just at the point I was selling mine.

    If anyone’s ever looking to sell theirs, I’d be interested now. I’d pay more than £150 for it too!

  7. Andylog says:

    Hi, been off the site for a while but will try to send a pic.

  8. dave sidley says:

    I designed the electronics for the prototype bond guitar and worked in the factory in Scotland.I now own the guitar used by The Edge on “the joshua tree” which was returned to have a kayler flyer tremolo added and completely redesigned audio circuits .The carbon fibre mould needed to be modified to accomodate the trem at a cost of around £250000 .The company then went bust and they owed me money ,so Andrew Bond (the inventor of the stepped neck ) gave me the guitar.

  9. flyssy says:

    Wow, great story Dave…How about posting some pics of the guitar on our facebook page? cheers, Flyssy

  10. Pascal Lemaire says:

    Hello to Dave Sidley, from France, I am a bond user. I am very interested in the Bond story. I have several (4) Electraglide at the time.
    I tried without success to have a contact in Muir of Ord with someone who knows the story, but is seems to be forgotten. Can you explain to us how some people including you put so many innovations in a guitar project ??? Carbon frame, resin flesh, alu stepboard, electronics … Sure it was an engineer guitar, the market was not ready. tell us your dream in the eighties please.
    Pascal.

    Note : the stepboard is great ++ for bootleneck play .

  11. Andrew says:

    Just been given a Bond Electraglide (0086) today Hasn’t been used for about 20 years or more and has no psu. Previous owner had wired PP9 inline with the stereo guitar jack input. All lights up and kinda of works except probably one PU, but with excess amount of earth hum.
    Could someone tell me what voltage the PSU should be. plus anyother useful info. Not sure I rate it for normal playing but interested in that Pascal says it’s good for slide

  12. Pascal says:

    I suppose psu is the electric lead transformer ? I measured 15 Volts once after the transfo condensers.

    the stepboard is really fine for slide to my point of view, smooth for the bottleneck, no noise.
    I have one modified Bond : all electronics cancelled, no active circuit, just a HSH Mighty Mite set and normal switches and pots. All home modified – including a special pickguard.
    For slide : I modified a Tune’ o Matic bridge, grinding a bit the high and bass strings saddle grooves so that the central strings are higher, and the contact (bootleneck) pressure is same for each string (inspired by the violin bridge shape). I find this easy to play .
    Note that the carbon construction is great to cancel radiations hum. And the Bond transformer containts a pair of big condensers to eliminate lead hum.

    If you like to make fast shredding solos … give up. The stepboard is great for chords to my point of view. Cannot make bents.
    One last thing : whatever temperature and humidity, this guitar doesn’t mind thanks to carbon, it is a perfect companion for vacations in the desert or in Alaska. Pascal

  13. Pascal says:

    Stuart says he had buzz problems … very surprising. The stepboard is machined in a piece of aluminium, i can hardly believe in a machining mistake. There is no fret so no levelling trouble.

    BUT !
    The neck is perfectly straight, you cannot set a curve with a truss rod adjustment if you are used to that . This means that …
    If you usually play strongly (bear play) then you NEED this curve … no way.

    The height of the nut and the bridge MUST be set exactly according to your play. The nut setting is a pair of very small screws, almost invisible. If nut is too low, buzz is garantied.

    Il you use 9/42 strings, those strings are thin, so they move easily , once again, no neck curve means a higher risk of buzz. I would suggest a 10/46 jauge with such a straight neck.

    Have a great day, Pascal

  14. John says:

    Hi,
    Can anyone send me some photos of the power supply, my bond is currently mute… If there are any details in the underside this would be great, a look inside the thing would be fantastic. Any details would be great.. I will get the soldering iron fired up & try to make another.
    Thanks in advance J.

  15. Mattyegg says:

    Hi,
    I’ve had my Bond for over 20 years, hardly ever gets played but still in great nick.
    Having a clear out, due to 1st baby on the way. Anybody know of any decent sites that I could try selling it on and any idea what I could expect to get for it.

    Cheers
    Mattyegg

  16. Jampat says:

    Hi,

    Mattyegg-are you in UK?-I am about to buy one on ebay but if you want to sell for same price thats cool with me if its all working..if not, cool,but am looking for a copy of the manual that comes with it if anyone can help …cheers

    PS A good one went for 800 Euros before Xmas on eBay

  17. Jampat says:

    Matty, i ended up buying it anyway as was ending and it’s me birthday today and wanted to treat myself, lol! Dave, as you know about these guitars, have you seen the ‘prototype’ on ebay just now–is that authentic or a luthier’s attempt to build one as somebody else has suggested on the listing

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270521543774&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:GB:1123#ht_1020wt_1167

    If you could post pics of The Edge’s guitar that would be cool– although a couple of things puzzle me about that-a) why he wouldn’t claim it back himself as it was his guitar and b) in the owners manual there are pics of a Bond with a Kahler trem already fitted –never seen one for sale or in a collection so dont know if any were ever sold/ distributed. Also, why would a company or an individual be willing to spend £250K to modify a single guitar with a trem?

  18. Jampat says:

    ..and finally, (sorry!), the guitar I am getting has a Bond power supply but with US lead–can it be converted back easily to UK 240V?. I have transformers etc here anyway but would obviously be better if I could get a simple fix..any info would be welcome. sorry for hijacking this a bit, but am v.excited about getting one- huge Bunnymen fan (& U2)-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfr9FyXMe4M

    for Will Sergeant avec Bond

    Cheers all

  19. Matthias Hellmuth says:

    I have three bond electraglides with tremolo. One of the guitars has a not working pickup in the middle. Who knows a person skilled in the art, an expert, authority, technician, specialist etc.? Thanks.

  20. Matthias Hellmuth says:

    I have three bond electraglides with tremolo. One of the guitars has a not working pickup in the middle. Who knows an expert? Thanks.

  21. lbpesq says:

    I won the auction for the prototype that was recently on ebay. I believe it is the real deal. I have another prototype that sold at Christies in the 90′s, Bond #4. The recent ebay one has enough similarity to convince me of its authenticity. Same electronics, bridge, nut, pots etc. Mr. Sidley, I’d love to discuss the prototypes with you.

  22. lbpesq says:

    Oops! My Christies prototype is #14, not #4.

  23. Jampat says:

    Matthias, I don’t know an expert in bond’s specifically but is there a guitar repair shop near you? I go to Jimmy Egypt’s in Glasgow at CC Music, Flynn amps are downstairs–Stevie Flynn was v interested in the Bond when I took it in to get a TRS cable for it and the power supply flipped back to UK- BTW, unless you have the original Bond cable, normal cables don’t work–has to be TRS (tip ring sleeve or balanced cable) .

    lbpesq, that’s really interesting. Congrats on your purchase–looks like it was a good price after all!

    I have copies of owner’s manual and a leaflet if anyone is interested. Dave Stewart of Eurythmics is in cheesy pose on leaflet

  24. John says:

    Hi Jampat,

    I am still on trying to put together a power supply, my guitar is currently mute, how can I get a copy of the owner manual pal?

    Anyone with any info on the PS its gratefully received…. Thanks…

    Cheers,

    John.

  25. chris says:

    john,
    I have the specs to build a power supply. email me and i will send you a copy csutherland97@gmail.com. I am thinking of selling my bond because i never play it and need some money so anyone interested please email me as well.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  26. Dave Wowchuk says:

    I have a bond guitar.
    I live in Canada and I wanting to know what the selling value of this guitar would be Canadain.
    Any presponce would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  27. dave sidley says:

    Hey guys sorry I haven’t been around this site for a while.
    i can help with any enquiries regarding the bond history and circuitry and will respond to your questions over the next few weeks.
    i’m going to upload some pictures of the bond sn 000238 to my website too :)

  28. Dan Sharrocks says:

    Heya guys.

    Have had my Bond for years but am having to sell it so I can pay for my bike (no other choice).

    It is the fixed bridge version, works and plays like a dream.

    If any one is interested please get in touch.

    It is in loot at the mo.

  29. m.trahan says:

    avea white 1959 eds1275 double12 gibson guitar and trying to find out what the alue might be and if any forigen people like the japanessee might be interested in it>
    THANKS

  30. richard brown says:

    Hi Folks..
    I have two Bond bodies for sale..
    Any interest?
    They are only the carbon fibre frames, (neck and body) with no hardware, (I think I have the back plates somewhere) and neither are fitted with the aluminium ‘fingerboard’, so both are to be sold as ‘projects’.
    Easy to glue a fingerboard on though, and add stratty -type pickups or humbuckers, and the control cavity is easy to install passive or active EQ in.. .. The necks are extremely solid though, and dense, and neither humidity nor heat ever affect the action ..
    Let me know..
    regards

  31. richard brown says:

    Oh.. I forgot..
    I also have some of the Bond tremolo systems (made by Schaller) as well somewhere, if anyone is interested.

    They are solid things, in chrome plating, (stamped ‘Bond’ ) with a sort of Khaller-type screw down chrome arm. They are sprung like a Bigsby, with a similar action to a Bigsby.

    The trems were delivered after the factory went into liquidation, so none of them were ever fitted to any production runs of the guitars as far as I know. (Dave might correct me on this)

    regards
    richard
    riverside guitars
    riverside music co

  32. pyfite says:

    Hey Richard – I’m interested in the Bond tremolo systems. How can I reach you?

  33. Paul Aspey says:

    Hi Richard ,
    I have a bond already and would be interested in your two bodies,
    Please get in touch
    Paul_aspey@blueyonder.co.uk

  34. richard brown says:

    Hi.. my e-mail is; napravobg@yahoo.co.uk

    regards
    richard

  35. Robert wilson says:

    I have a bond electraglide for sale. Perfect working order power supply leads hard case everything.

    Email if interested. I live in fife Scotland b8byw111@gmail.com

    Regards robert wilson

  36. Phil says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have recently purchased a bond body/neck blank – no fretboard or hardwear etc… It is in great condition and I have already sourced the same schaller bridge and tailpiece – got some hamer tuners and have purchased some irongear pig irons for the pickups. Will have it with passive electrics like a normal strat type guitar. Am also waiting for delivery or a pre-cut fretboard that I will fret with stainless steels frets I already have. Should be good hopefully!!

    Ta, Phil.

  37. Dave Sidley says:

    Wow another year has passed since I posted here!
    Sorry guys I’ve been up to my neck with various projects.

    In answer to some of your questions here …..

    There were no production guitars from the the Muir of Ord factory with either a normal volume pot or a tremolo system.

    There were however several pre-production prototypes with volume controls and hand laid carbon fibre bodies circa 1983 one of which has a complete 1 piece hollow carbon fibre body which without hardware weighed only about 2 LBs
    When Bond decided to release a tremolo version around Aug 85, the carbon fibre preform had to be extended towards the back of the body to incorporate mounting it,which meant re tooling high pressure moulds in a factory in Manchester,using a carbon anode erosion process on a block of solid steel. Hence the £250k expense.The protype modification was carried out on the Edges guitar using hand laid carbon fibre to prove the design.
    The electronics were also modified to extend the tonal range and signal to noise ratio.The Edge endosed the guiyar so technically didn’t own it ,however he is welcome to buy it from me for what Bond owed me + 28yrs interest lol

    The Shaller produced versions of this tremolo with “Bond” stamped on them arrived just before the factory closed and must have found their way into the market place via a backdoor, like many of the skeleton body’s that folk have acquired and added parts to to make a working instrument.

    It would appear that power supply’s are somewhat in demand and I was considering making a small run of an improved version .To make it worth while and to keep the selling price sensible I would need to make around 50,as building short runs would prove expensive to buy .If anybody is interested let me know as I already have 10 potential customers.

    Its good to see so much interest in the guitar now, which had some very good and some very bad points. I intend to write an article about the history of the instrument when i get time and why I think it failed,which also may include circuit diagrams.

    It’s worth noting that the production guitar housed a prototype electronics design,something I personally was never happy about.This was because they didn’t want to disclose any ideas to the far east and keep it all very British.A big mistake in my opinion,seeing as only the fingerboard was actually patented.If they had have gone down that road then the circuitry would have been just a few chips and possibly battery powered.
    After all I was a prototype designer not a production one.

    Things were pretty high pressure at Bond at times.We had to design and build an electraglide with 16 onboard memories of all pick ups and volume/tone settings with a built in tuner IN 2 weeks, for a show in Frankfurt or be out of a job! We did it and it went down like a storm at the show,one of my greatest achievements. i wonder what happened to that prototype? I used it on a couple of gigs before it was spirited away.

    I only recently heard that Andrew Bond had passed away about 10 years ago aged only 50 something .Pretty sad, he was a good friend and a great luthier, who had hand built some beautifully crafted classic wooden guitars prior to the Electraglide project.

    Well thats all for now If you want answers to anything related to the Bond Electraglide please go to music-shed.com contact page and send a message

  38. flyssy says:

    Thanks for this wealth of extra information Dave, it’s pretty clear you are the “go to guy” for all thing Bond!

    Flyssy

  39. malko says:

    yes id be interested in a power supply lead.
    it looks all there but only has an e and a d string so ive no real idea what the fretless frets play like
    the guitar is mute at present and 2 of the pickups are not connected to the circuit board.
    there is no special lead/ psu
    would it be possible to build a psu box using a wall wart and a couple of jack sockets or is there more to it than that?
    i was thinking stereo lead to box with the plus volts added at the box and a regular output to the amp
    how many volts should it be?

    also it may sound silly but i have no idea what all the electrics do..
    surely it cant just be pickup selection – has it got fx like fuzz an chorus an stuff?
    any help much appreciated
    cheers malko

  40. Ashley Bond says:

    My father was Andrew Bond, Inventor of the Electraglide.

    I was only 4 when it started manafacturing so please dont ask me any technical questions…

    I am however looking to buy Electraglides, emails always welcome.

    I have some amazing photos/magazine articles of Dave Stewart from Eurythmics with the Electraglide, Simple Minds and a few other magazines featuring “the Bond” Frankfurt trade fair etc…

  41. Ben says:

    Interesting discussion folks, I had one of these years ago (serial number 000414) but unfortunately some evil scroat stole it from my flat in Salford when I was a student about 20 years ago. Always missed the guitar since, it was interesting to play especially fun sliding notes and chords up the neck and I’d love to know what happened to it. I can’t imagine the local scallies had any idea what they had!
    Cheers,
    Ben

  42. Carlos says:

    Came across a fairly banged-up Electraglide in Hanks in Denmark St in London today if anybody’s interested. Found it a really odd guitar and the action impossibly high (note: my guitar is a vigier!). But was curious enough to go browsing and found this. Interesting story that. Well if anybody wants an electraglide then get in touch w/ Hanks – http://www.hanksguitarshop.com/

  43. sf says:

    @Ben – hope yours isn’t the one I saw in the window of Johnny Roadhouse today. :)

  44. SGuitar says:

    I have two Bond Electraglide guitars – if anyone is interested. One works, the other might need some parts – don’t know much about them. I am in the US

  45. SGuitar says:

    I should mention they’re both in hard cases.

  46. ashley bond says:

    hi did andy bond have a guitar workshop in poole dorset before he went to scottland i do remember him making traditional guitars do you have one of these traditional guitars or know the name of one. do you have a pic of your dad……..all the best kim.

  47. SaucyMark says:

    Read these posts with interest. I remember being in Glasgow (visiting three nurses!!) in about 1985 and coming across a Bond as I wandered round the city with a huge hangover. Went back the next day for another look too. I found the whole look and feel of the guitar really interesting and I always regretted not buying it. I’m nowhere near technically knowledgable enough to comment with confidence, but I do know a great luthier down here in Sussex and I’d like to give him a project to rebuild one for me if anyone has the right bits. As a matter of interest, would it be possible in these modern times to put the power supply on board? I know the concept wasn’t a success, but like many on this site, I really admire Andrew Bond for what he tried to do. We need more like him! Cheers, Mark

  48. Anthony Lancett says:

    2 beautiful Bond guitars for Sale (sadly due to unemployment) perfect setup done by 12thFret Toronto, currently strung with 11-52, hard shell cases power supplies cables and a colour manual in great condition

  49. Jason Kuhnly says:

    Hey I just picked up two complete electroglides. Need power supplies or someone with the specs to make one. Thanks and cheers

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