rare hollowbody 60's Japanese made bass guitar
a very well made and cool design that is sure to turn heads!one fat sounding single coil pickup and a comfortable neck that plays and sounds great! amazing booming tone with super low action!
a very unusual bass in the perfect 'vintage players' condition! superb recording and live tone!
Starting at only 99 cents with no reserve!
This is an auction for a rare example of a 60's Japanese made 'Conora' brand bass guitar. It seems to be roughly patterned after a Gibson EB-2 bass, although with obviously its own take on the style. It reminds me a lot (in look and tone) of what Harmony was doing in the 1960's with bass guitars. This is fairly high end example of what the Japanese factories where capable of. These were apparently a shortly lived mail order brand made by Kawai/Teisco and most likely offered on a one off international basis (as my internet hunting revealed many examples that where sold in the US, Australia, and the UK) and appear to very closely mirror higher end Kent branded instruments from the time period. Although little of this original information and literature exists to share with you, I will share anything that other eBay members get in touch to let me know. So please get in touch if you have any info and we can all go to school on the Conora brand. Whatever the origin of who sold this model, this is certainly a super cool offering with a remarkably unique look and tone. I have not ever owned one like it and was really excited to land this one!
A lot can be said about the different grades or echelons of Japanese made guitars in the 60's and 70's. This is on the upper end of the spectrum for sure. Silvertone (Sears) could be credited with the first to widely start the practice of selling imported Japanese guitars under their brand (where once a rebranded Kay, Harmony, Supro or Danelectro guitars might have been) and it was clearly more profitable than their previous model of selling American made instruments. Eventually this practice became so prevent in the industry that almost all the 'budget' US instrument companies shuddered their doors in the early 70's. And some would say by the 70's the quality and kitsch (apart from some 'lawsuit models') had been sucked almost completely out of the market. You all know the super budget short scale, single pickup nightmares I am talking about. They came in later on and have given a lot of people a bad impression on these early Japanese guitars and there is a reason that they litter used guitar stores. Furthermore, it could be argued that with the low quality Chinese 'Instrument Shaped Objects' flooding the market, things have certainly gone downhill for beginner grade guitars since then. But these cool and well made early Japanese imports occupy a certain space in my heart I cannot ignore. And the sound of many of them is raw and nasty in all the right ways. In a way no modern bass could ever touch no matter what pedal you plugged it into. They did things in their designs that the Fender and Gibson brands never would have tried and had a certain Modernist Futurism to the aesthetics, look, and vibe of their instruments. Like it would be hanging on the way of Ultraman's chic bachelor pad or in his nemesis' mad scientist lab next to his Atomic Destabilizer Ray™. They are such a cool culture moment embodied in a guitar. This bass is no exception! I almost jumped out of my boots when I first saw this. 'Striking' would be putting it mildly, but it has so much going for it in terms of oddball/cool/wacky design I flipped my wig.
While it is nearly impossible to exactly pinpoint the manufacturer of this bass, it is clearly an early product of
Matsumoku, Kawai and the Teisco guitar factories as it has recognizable parts from each of those plants. It is well known that Matsumoku kept very poor records on the export models they produced, but it is known all of the Univox, Aria, and Guyatone guitars came from them as well as some Ibanez, Electra, Yamaha and dozens of other brands had at least a foothold in production there. It was clearly an odd time unlike anything that happens at US factories, because you'd often see different combinations of factories necks, bodies, pickups, and hardware all on the same guitar. Imagine a Fender neck on a Mosrite body with Gibson pickups and you get the idea of where I am going with this. It seems very strange but I think it went to a different sensibility employed in designing this guitars. There were a lot of orders to fill and many more coming down the pike! It seems that for the lines made for the Japanese market this was less the case, but the US imports often became a free for all. What results is many models with confusing slight or drastic variations in design that has made it almost impossible to get a solid handle on it. The guitars like Kent, Decca, Kingston, Guyatone, Audition, Lyle, and Melody all seem to morph and change model to model and year to year in this way. It is clearly not very easy for me to say with certainty much else about the history of this model other than this vague outline presented here.
What I do know about this bass guitar is that it sounds and plays amazing! The neck and pickup sound remind me very much of an early 60's Guyatone bass (in Candy Apple Red) that I owned for years as a recording bass. It had a similar pickup as this one does, and its tone was (and this is, too) like time machine to the old school 60's bass sound your dreams. The level of deep, thundering sub content in the sound is hard to deny as soon as it is plugged in. It has elements that people crave and find in Hofner style basses with a dubby almost upright bass sound. So killer for a retro bass tone! Not like a warbly overpowered sort of EBO bass tone, but a round and pleasant delivery that is all about the clean low end fundamental. It is a single coil and somewhat like a Hofner tone, it is more prone to hearing grounding, but that single coil tone is great part of the magic. Yes, someone looking for a round and robust Indie Rock, Retro Pop, Alt Country, Garage or Punk or Rockabilly tone would be quite happy with the sound of this bad boy. Check out the soundfile below to hear for yourself!
Did I mention its performance? The nice thing about this one is it is so well setup, it is sick. The intonation is surprisingly accurate (like a lot of the higher end Japanese stuff similar in design to this). The neck plays smoothly with low, clean action and without a dead spot that I could find. It is with a set of tubby flatwound strings for maximum retro sound and super comfortable playing. Think of how good this is going to sound when you need to get a really fat authentic 60's bass tone! It is great in every amp I have plugged it into, and did some recording with it this week that I am very pleased with. I would hold onto it if I did not have at least 4 other 'recording basses' sitting on stands together. And that is too many. But it is a great instrument for live or recording use. The electronics are all very hardy and solid, and I love the chrome metal control plate. Just like a Kent. So cool looking but also very indestructible and practical! Think of the time that would save on a repair versus threading the pots and wiring out through an F hole. The pots and jack work well, as do the original tuners it still has on it. It stays in tune and plays great without any dead spots that I could detect. The action is low and and comfortable as I mentioned, but not so low that you begin to lose any of the juicy sustain and tone this has. And man, it has some serious sustain. Like the sort of hit a note, leave the room, make some coffee, paint the garage, take the dog for a walk, take a nap, and come back and it is still lingering. It is pretty sick. Did I mention it has a 5 bolt neck?! Wow. The neck is big but super massive. It has a very comfy neck profile. It reminds me of my very fat C shaped '68 Tele bass if you mixed it with a Jazz bass neck. It is a nice feel. Not super narrow at the nut, but it gets really wide up by the 7th fret. The scale length is about 30.5" and the body is about 16" at the widest spot.
This one came to me as you see it. It had recently had a pro setup before sale. It has a lot of hardware that I have not seen before. Check it out its super cool tailpiece! I cannot say I have ever owned a bass with that tailpiece before. I love the rosewood thumbrest, too. And rosewood fingerboard and pearl inlays. Pretty cool. Everything is stock to my knowledge. And fairly clean! Including the cool yellow/brown tortoiseshell pickguard. Overall, it is pretty clean and shiny. The finish is in good shape without any major nicks or dings that I would point out. I am not going to go too much more into detail there, as a picture says a thousand words, and I have about 100 pictures up, so you do the math.
Here is some audio of me playing it with a my bare fingers direct into a Universal Audio 610 Solo tube preamp with no EQ and bare fingers. Here goes:
This vintage Japanese made Conora guitar comes without a case. But, even without a case I will package it well so that it arrives to your door in one piece. I have a new gig bag for it that clears the body almost all the headstock (about 1" sticks out at the top) that would cost me $20 for it. No matter if it goes to Sydney, Sacramento, or Seville. I will pack it well! Promise. Why? Because I love this bass! It may make sense to remove the neck for international bidders, as it is a long one! But I will do a good job. Check my feedback if you doubt it. Over 10 years selling on here and still 100% feedback. Did I mention it is starting at 99 cents?
This guitar is not warrantied in any way due to its condition and age. Bidders be warned. Auction is as is, no returns whatsoever. UPS Ground or Expedited US Postal Service in the USA. I prefer a certified cashiers check from bidders in the US, but take I Paypal as well. Paypal only on international bidders, please email me for your shipping rates oustide the 48 contiental states. Payments must be made or confirmed within 48 hours (unless otherwise stated by me personally) or I move to the next bidder on the list. I hope this goes to a happy home! All sounds, songs, and images are copyrighted material, so pirate them at your own peril. Seriously, I have a team of trained rabid attack dogs that do nothing but cruise the internet looking for interlopers to feed upon. You probably aren't even reading this, but if you are...beware their wrath. Anyways...feel free to ask questions! I am going to be doing some remodeling this week in my home, so there may be a day or two in there that my internet connection is down, but never fear...I will answer your questions as fast as I can. Email me if you want to see any more pictures, I have tons of them that probably did not make it into the massive picture show below because I am nuts about this guitar! Thanks!
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