Friday, 14 May 2010

Conrad Bison baritone guitar (allegedly - I'm not convinced)
Here's another vintaqe Japanese-made oddity for your. It's a Conrad Bison, and according to the seller it is a baritone model having a longer scale (although it's not too obvious in the photos - I'm not 100% convinced about this).

If it IS indeed a longer scale guitar, possibly it should more accurately be labelled a Bass-VI. As many of you will know, Fender, Danelectro and various other companies jumping on the bandwaggon produced these six-string basses in the 1960s. They were basically 6-string guitars with longer scale-lengths and tuned like a guitar, E to e, but down an octave. String spacing was as a guitar and they were often equipped with tremolo arms.

In more recent years people have taken to calling these "baritone guitars" so as to distinguish them from the more modern vision of the 6-string bass with low B-string and high C-string. But this, for me at least, causes another problem because it then confuses the Bass-VI with the modern baritone guitar which uses a tuning somewhere between a guitar and a bass (tunings vary), whereas the original Bass-VI guitars went down as low as a 4-string bass but added two higher strings.

Sure, some players took the Bass-VI and tuned it in ways more akin to our modern baritone guitar, but that is not how these instruments were envisioned.

Anyway, don't you think the shape of this Conrad with its offset pointed horns reminds you of the "Unknown" 12-string we looked at recently? (Which was, we decided, most likely an Arai/Aria Diamond or similar). From what I can find out, Conrad was indeed a related brandname for these same instruments, probably used by a certain store as its in-house brand.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    I realize that this post is over 2 years old, but for the sake of those who are exploring the same guitar in the future, I'll provide what info I can based on the Conrad guitar I had (same model).

    Is it a baritone? Kind of. From my measurements, the scale length is actually 26.75", compared to the traditional baritone scale length of 28-29" (although Schecter makes baritone guitars to this day that are 26.5"). Traditional single coils (a la Fender) are 25.5", so this is really only an inch and a quarter longer than a regular E-A-D-G-B-E guitar.

    It's definitely NOT a Bass VI. I got this guitar from someone who told me he tried stringing it up with Bass VI strings and the tuners (fitted for guitar string gauge) and tremolo (same) would not fit those strings. It was made for regular gauge strings. I tried to fit a set of standard baritone strings (.013 - .072) and the .072 strings would not fit through the tremolo or the tuning pegs either. I ended up settling on buying some custom strings of the following gauge: 0.013, 0.018, 0.030, 0.044, 0.052, 0.060 and it works well. The 0.044 I would recommend dropping down a bit of gauge, possibly to 0.040, as it is a lot of tension on that string.

    This can easily be tuned to B - B baritone tuning, or even A - A if you're ok with strings being a little loose. This can just as easily be tuned E - E as a long-scale guitar, and I have a 99% certainty that this guitar was manufactured to be an E - E, with its own custom length.

    Hope this helps. Read more about it at:



Related Posts with Thumbnails