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. :)


Anonymous said...

The Firebird double is the best looking double I have ever seen. It looks way more balanced than the SG double.

Flat Eric said...

Hi. :)

I have several Twins and yes, this does balance, very well.
As you can see, the strap botton is behind the bottom neck and this, I think, helps a lot, with that shape.
It is, indeed, gorgeous - it's a wonder that Gibson never went into production, with something like this - perhaps a bass and six?
Del Bromham's had the strap at the top, on the edge and he said it was VERY head heavy - said he much preferred mine.
Cheers. :)