Conklin Guitars is a company specializing in top-of-the-line extended range guitars and basses (primarily basses). Founded in 1984 by luthier Bill Conklin, back when he was still in high school. For years he had been coming up with innovative design ideas for guitars and basses. He had everything he needed, except for training, a shop, tools, and money. So Bill along with a small crew of workers started out making after-market modifications, as well as custom necks and bodies. As time went on, Bill Conklin began switching over to the creation of custom instruments, until eventually they were devoted to crafting custom instruments full-time.

In 1988 Bill moved the company to Springfield, Missouri and Phil Goschy joined the company. He quickly became Bill's right hand man with his talent to handle every facet of the building of custom guitars and basses. He departed in 2000 to raise a family.

Here are some of Conklin's notable innovations:

  • Off-Sides dots
  • Off-Sides dots are special inlays which are positioned where the fingerboard meets the side of the neck. That way, they can be easily seen regardless of how you're looking at the neck.

  • Contoured Neck Heel
  • Meticulously shaped and sanded down for the smoothest transition from neck to body possible - it's almost like playing a neck-thru.

  • "Sidewinder" Body Style
  • A severe lower cutaway and an extra-long upper cutaway provide for the best balance of the instrument possible.

  • Extended-Range 8-String Guitars (Usually tuned B-E-A-D-G-B-E-A)
  • Extended-Range 7, 8 and 9-String Basses
    • 7-Strings are generally tuned B-E-A-D-G-C-F or B-E-A-D-G-B-E
    • 8-Strings are generally tuned F#-B-E-A-D-G-C-F or B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bb
    • 9-Strings are generally tuned F#-B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bb
  • Multi-Scale Novax Fingerboards
  • This is the same thing as fanned frets; you basically have a shorter scale for the treble strings and a longer scale for the bass strings. This allows for drop tuning while maintaining the desired tension.

  • The Exclusive "Melted Top"
  • The Melted top is essentially the technique of using several species of wood in the same guitar top. From the Conklin web site:

    Early in 1990, Bill began experimenting with using several different species of wood to make a guitar top; something that would be in sharp contrast to the standard bookmatched top. After playing around with inlaying and intarsia he came across a woodworking method that had been used in old-school furniture manufacturing and the light went on in his head. He realized he could adapt this technique to making guitar tops (as well as fingerboards, headstock veneers and even pickguards). Excited at the prospects, Bill and his partner Phil Goschy made drawings of simple but elegant free-flowing graphics that followed the traditional lines of their Sidewinder and Crossover guitar and bass bodystyles. From there they developed the process of joining various species of exotic woods to create stunning "organic graphics" with visually stimulating contasts, that portray movement, harmony and excitement.
  • The Mobile Electric Upright

Notable players of Conklin instruments include Bill Dickens, Jake Kot, Pennal Johnson, Ted Whitmore, John Jordan, Mark Harris, Eddie Pruitt, Josh Smith, and Keith Rouster. Check out the Conklin web site at