Friday, 28 January 2011

Peter Cook - The outtakes . . . . .

Friday again!!

I thought that this would be the last post on this subject but
as I've experienced so far - I get to a point in time where I
think I've just about covered everything and then something
else crops up!!
Only yesterday, I managed to track down the guy who designed
and built the Axis circuit, so I may have a little more to add.

So, this part is about some of the images and info that I have
either found out during the research or didn't seem to fit in
with the story at the time.

So, let's start of with a couple more pictures on the ExplorerBirds.

Here is one of Peter's most famous customers, holding his
ExplorerBird and discussing the merits of something on
the back of the head! Wonder what it was?

I wonder Who is guarding Who?

Another one in a very fetching "Greenburst"

Another one, the other way round!

Something else I came across . . . . .

In the words of The Ox.

Custom made for me by Peter Cook.
I used this as a guitar substitute on
of my song demos.
I always called it the Peter Cook "jigsaw puzzle".

My very first Alembic!

When I got this home I had it rewired back to
stereo by Peter Cook.
He brought it along to a Who rehearsal when
he'd finished.
I plugged it in - and it blew my mind.

Some interesting Web Sites:

Fame has spread to the other side of the world - Chile!

I noticed when I zoomed in on one of the images I had
that the controls on the Les Paul type guitar had Axis
type controls - I wonder . . . .

An extract from The Complete Guitar Guide - 1982,
showing what I believe to be my Axis Bass and an
Axis Guitar.

I think that will do for now.

Next time - Peter Cook - The Final Cut!

Well until we go through some more stuff he has!! :)

Cheers. :)

Some images and some text attributed to CA, HRC,
The Complete Guitar Guide and Bass Culture.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Peter Cook - Custom Guitars . . . . . . . .

Back in the day . . . . .

When you consider, that according to legend, the first Fender Stratocaster
hit our shores in 1959, imported by Cliff Richard.
Fiesta Red, serial # 34346, played by Hank Marvin, it's hardly surprising
that there were not many Custom Guitar builders around in the 60's.

As we move into the 1970's, there are perhaps a few more - John Birch was
busy in the Midlands, Tony Zemaitis Guitars began to gain fame and other
builders were starting to establish themselves.

Peter Cook was established as a renowned repairer and Custom Builder
in the early 70's, so it's no surprise that as well as the famous players of
the day, some less well known Guitarists and Bass Players, also sought
out Peter, so they could have a Custom Instrument made for them.

Since I started to research this subject, I have managed to track
down some of the instruments Peter made and have even met
some past owners.
Tracking more down, would be great but you have to bear in mind that
apart from the famous basses he made for John Entwistle, there are
perhaps only around fifty others that he made!
Yes, 50 - Five Zero!
As Peter said, "there were around fifty", there may be 51, 53 or 55 - it's
hard to tell, as once the job was done, he then moved onto repairs and
day to day
things, before embarking on the next project.
So. . . . . . as well as the ones you have seen made for John and the Axis
range, that I have already detailed, these are some of the others.

The first one is known to me and has been with the current owner for almost
35 years. This thing has been played and played and played . . . .
It has morphed from "as it was" into a metal flake finish and then recently,
stripped, veneered and rebuilt and is still out there, earning it's keep.
Made in around 1972, we believe.

The next ones, I believe, belonged to the same owner, who I think
I am getting close to tracking down.
If you take it that there were 50, he had 6% of the Custom Builds!
The Twin Neck, is also featured in one of the magazine articles.

This is the only shot I have of the Vee, sent to me by another owner.
A Gibson TRC has been added but is is clearly one of Peter's,
you can just see Peter Cook Custom, near the controls.

There were two Firebird Twin Necks - mine, which is a 12 & 6
and the other one, a 6 & 12, which belonged to Del Bromham,
of "Stray", who are a band that still get out there and . . . . . . .
Do it LIVE!!

Below is Del, with mine.
I took it to see him at a gig - said it brought back a lot of memories!

The one below, is mine.

I would doubt Peter has seen it since it left his workshop.
The wiring configuration is slightly unusual but it all looks
untouched, so I assume it is original.
Some really great sounds and according to Del, easier to
play than his.
Del's was strapped at the top of the body - mine has another,
original strapping point, behind the bottom neck and balances
very nicely.

Just Gorgeous, absolutely Gorgeous!!!!

Well, I have almost come to the end of the Peter Cook story.

I asked Peter if he was happy with what I had done - was there
anything else that he wanted to add and was he aware of the
enthusiastic fans of the FenderBirds and ExplorerBirds, some
of which, have built there own "Tribute" instruments to match
his originals. . . . . . . . .

Great work - I really like your Blog, you’ve dug up
some good stuff.
Nothing else really comes to mind but it’s good to know
that the FenderBirds/ExplorerBirds live on ...

Next part will include some extra images, links and random
information, that I have found since I started this feature or
didn't quite fit in with the timeline/story, at the time.

So, pop back next week for the final part and then I'll get back
into the collection, starting with a Greco Rickenfaker . . . . . . .

Cheers. :)

Monday, 17 January 2011

Peter Cook - Gibson, Mighty Mite and The Music Press. . . . . .

"Following an approach by Rosetti & Company I assembled
and set up a limited edition custom range of Mighty Mite
guitars for them."

I also became Gibson’s man in the UK, all Gibson guitars
passed through my workshop before being certificated by
‘Peter Cook Guitars’ and released for distribution."

Peter was featured in several magazine articles and later,
went on to write for The British Music Press.

The shot above shows Peter working on a 12 String neck,
which I believe is the one on my Firebird Twin Neck, or
the one that Del Bromham, of Stray, had - some years ago.
Details and images of both, next time.
"On my travels to the States for the NAMM trade shows and
for Gibson I used to write for the British Music Press
(Sounds, Sounds International, Music World; Musik UK;
Music Maker) covering the trade shows and writing features
on American products e.g. Seymour Duncan."

Next time, Custom Builds.

Cheers. :)

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Friday, 14 January 2011

Peter Cook Axis Bass and Guitar. . . . .

I was going to do the Axis and some of the music press stuff, from
that period but I now find that I have all sorts of extra Axis Stuff.

"At this time I also developed and made the ‘Axis’ guitar and bass
with an active, on board parametric tonal system" . . . . . .

Apart from supplying me with some of the images that are here,
Peter didn't really expand on the above.
From our conversation and emails, it seems that there were only
around eight basses and eight guitars made.
Below are images of serial number 200 and 216, so perhaps the
first and the last?

I know the owner of the one below and he is a very proud custodian
of his Peter Cook Axis.

The one below is slightly different to all the others I know of, as
there is only one additional switch.

This is Peter, an Axis Bass and someone who Peter knew very well!

A "workshop shot" with an Axis Bass.

Peter at one of the Trade Shows, along with
a couple
of well known people from the industry.
He is holding what I believe is my Axis Bass.

From memory, Peter said that he thought all but
one of the basses
had XLR sockets - mine was
the only one with a Jack.

There was a Power Pack option - how advanced was that, for
it's day?? This fed power to the active circuit and connected
the guitar to the amp, via a Jack Plug.

The owner of this unit, who used to own an Axis some years
ago, has now incorporated it into a Ray Cooper, Custom Bass,
which he says, is still reliable all those years later.

George Ford, the bass player who used to play with Steve Harley had
one, as he appeared on stage with one with The Shadows.
Look carefully, you can just about see it!

This one is mine, serial number 208.

That's all for now, back next week with more.

Cheers. :)