Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Peter Cook. Custom Builder, where are you now?......

I was going to start on some of my Aria and Ibanez but have decided to
leave them for a while, the main reason being that I'm not sure where to
start and the fact that although they are great basses, almost all of them
gigged or rehearsed with on many occasions, I would like to make sure
that I've got the models and facts straight!!

So, I've decided to go completely the other way and feature something
from someone who I have admired for as many years as I can remember.
Peter Cook was a guitar builder for many stars, the most famous of which
is perhaps John Entwistle, The Ox, need I say more?
He was also involved in Ned Callen guitars but his Custom work is what
made him famous.

I was very lucky to acquire the Firebird Twin, which I believe is the only one
like it - Del Bromham, of Stray, had one but his was 6 over 12, mine is a
12 over 6 - I will come to that one later.
The other Peter Cook I have, is an Axis Bass, which I can honestly say
is like no other bass. This one has been very well looked after.

The controls look simple but take a lot of getting used to, in fact, I had
to call on the services of a fellow owner, who kindly explained everything
to me - all became a lot clearer!
I would be very difficult for me to explain, other than to offer what was
given to me by a fellow owner, listed below.

I've found the book and it mentions the controls!

Here you go:

1. volume knob (near back p/up)

2. cut/boost knob offering 15dB cut/boost

3. Frequency knob which works in turn with cut/boost knob (essentially,
you've got a parametric system - freq range of 80Hz to 20KHz).

4. pickup selector switch

5. pickup phase mini toggle switch

6. Active/Passive mode mini toggle switch - I assume this is a 3 way job as
it says that you get `passive with top cut, full normal passive and active on'.

Here's the actual text from the book;

The three rotary controls govern volume (aided by a pickup selector switch)
but the further two tone pots are not in use when the bass is set passive.
When active, the final two pots offer cut/boost of +/- 15dB and the frequency
selected on, what is in effect, a parametric eq system.
The switches offer pickup selection, pickup phase and active/passive mode
control; which means passive with top cut, full normal passive
and active on. Overall, the frequency range covered is 80Hz to 20KHz.
Sound wise, the Axis is possibly the most versatile active bass produced in
the UK.
A staggering variety of tones is obtainable; a far cry from from some of the
less than phenomenally ranging active basses of recent years.
If you can memorise these functions and avoid setting unusable tones,
then the overall potential is incredible.

Hope this is of use mate!

I have to say, when I gig this bass it gives me an odd feeling - not bad,
more "I'm playing a Peter Cook Bass, how lucky am I ?".
I can summon it up by saying that it sharpens up my playing, perhaps
I concentrate more, what's the point of having something as special as
that and fluffing everything up? :)

I am currently trying to track down owners of Peter Cook Guitars, in order
to build up a deputation to persuade him to perhaps help document his
work, over the many years he was involved in custom building.

So far I have a handful - so if there are any more of you out there, get in
touch with me - I will put a link in to a separate e.mail address, the next
time I am here.

So, I'll leave you with the pic below.

Cheers. :)

Edit: Please contact me on this address:

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