The Bond Electraglide

The Bond Electraglide was a one-off. Unique in many ways, but loved by those who owned one.

Mick Jones plays his Bond Electraglide on Big Audio Dynamite's E=MC2 on Channel 4's The Tube in 1986.

If you watch video footage of Big Audio Dynamite from the mid-1980s, or U2 around the time of The Joshua Tree, or Echo and The Bunnymen, you’ll spot an unusual guitar in the hands of Mick Jones, The Edge, and Will Sergeant.

The jet black guitar has a carbon-fibre body, a height adjustable nut and a graphite neck where the frets are replaced by a saw-tooth steps on the fingerboard. It’s a unique piece of musical history. It’s the Bond Electraglide. 

The Electraglide was only manufactured for two years; 1984 and 1985. It was made by Bond Guitars near Inverness, though it’s designer and builder, Andrew Bond came from Portsmouth in the south of England.

In addition to the unusual design of  the body and neck, the Electraglide had digital controls for pick-up switching, tone, and volume, and there was a large motherboard concealed in its body. Pick-ups are selected using five push-button switches, while volume, treble, and bass are incremented numerically with digital rocker switches, the numbers displayed in a three-colour LED readout. 

All those electronics meant that the Bond Electraglide needed an external power supply. Perhaps that was one reason it never gained much popularity beyond those initially intrigued by a futuristic electric guitar. Only about 1400 were ever made.

Bond guitars ceased trading in 1986 and sadly Andrew Bond, the creative genius behind the Electraglide, died in 1999. But there are still Bond Electraglides around; every now and then one pops up on eBay. And occasionally used-guitar stores will have one in stock. But they remain a curio, one of the many points in the history of the electric guitar where the road forked and took off in a different direction. Perhaps Bond was just ahead of his time. With today’s electronics and battery technology, the Electraglide may have been a more appealing proposition.

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