Thursday, 23 December 2010

Peter Cook, Luthier - Part 2. . . . . . .

From the early days of getting together with a few friends . . . . . .

. . to playing guitar in pro bands and then on to guitar making
and expanding the Ned Callan range. . . . . the story continues
in Peter's own words.

When Tom sought fame and fortune with ‘July’ and later with
Richard Branson, (Tom produced Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells)
I continued to develop the Ned Callan Range, the concept was to
produce a quality guitar & bass within a budget price - this was
before the Japanese started to produce good instruments.

I got a distribution deal with Simms Watts and contracted the
body & necks out to Jack Golder of Shergold - they made the
earlier Burns guitars and latterly the Hayman guitars.
I had my own small production line where we made the pickups
& hardware and assembled and set up the final product.
I not sure how many units we made but it is in the hundreds.
The early models had glued in necks whilst the later models
had bolt on ones for the ease of production.

Things came to a halt when Rose Morris took over Simms Watts,
they cancelled a large order which was just about to be delivered
and after months of haggling the Cody range (Nobbly Neds) was
re-branded for Rose Morris but we were still left with a large number
of Custom and Salisbury guitars which were eventually sold off in
bulk, directly to retailers.
I didn’t really see eye to eye with Rose Morris and my association
with them ended soon after.

Part of the deal with Simms Watts was to tour the country with
their road show and on one of these occasions John Entwistle made
a guest appearance to promote Ned Callan.
We did a short set, with John on bass, Dave Simms on drums and
me on guitar - everyone wanted John to play Boris the Spider but
with my blues background we ended up playing Smokestack Lightning,
a Howling Wolf song.

Following this I set up a guitar repair workshop and started to
build custom guitars totally in house.

John started to bring bits of Thunderbirds to me to resurrect and it
became apparent that he liked the sound and appearance of the
Gibson Thunderbird but preferred the feel of Fender Precision necks.
So I made him a number of hybrids using Precision necks and custom
made bodies.

The FenderBird had landed.

As a natural progression I designed and built a number of ExplorerBirds
for John - same deal but with a custom Explorer body. . . . . . . . . . . .

Next time - ExplorerBirds, other projects for John, work for Peter and the
progression of Custom Builds and commission work.

Back next week, with more of Peter's story.

Cheers. :)

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