Friday, 4 February 2011

The Axis Connection . . . . . .

As I mentioned on the last post, I have managed to track
down the designer and maker of the Axis circuit,

I asked him how he met Peter and how the collaboration
came about.
Tony and Peter have made contact again, after many years
and after some discussion, this is what Tony has to say.

"We concur that the truth of the matter is my ‘cold calling’
him and asking if he thought it worthwhile us meeting for a chat.
I remember driving up to meet him at his parent’s house, where
his workshop was at the bottom of the garden. A bit like mine!

My original work as a freelance designer building custom
electronics for guitars, had started as far back as 1976, whilst at
the BBC and it was there that I designed the ‘Smooth’ guitar
sustain pedal as an accident of fate – a fault in wiring up a new
auto level circuit I’d designed for News Studio talkback circuits
was taken home to fix on my day off.
I had no microphone handy, so plugged in my guitar to try it –
good grief – what a gorgeous sound!
I then started making them under the label Precinct electronics.
Smooth users included Brian May, Gordon Giltrap, to name a few
and Paul Day loved it and promoted it so well that Burns started
marketing it under their own brand name at one point.

Anyway, back to the point. I had set up a meet with Pete, and we
discussed the various ideas – he suggested that he was about to build
a new range of guitar and bass – so could we collaborate on this and
make them something special. I was very impressed with his work
and thought it a good project to start.
The range was, of course, the AXIS.

I designed a special parametric versatile EQ unit that would be simple
to operate and get a wide range of unique tones from just two controls.
We put it into the first prototype and Peter loved it.
So did most of the people who tried it!

I bought my AXIS lead guitar off Peter in June 1982, and loved playing it.
I had to sell it, reluctantly, to pay the rent.
It was, without doubt, the finest guitar I have ever owned, with superb
intonation and sustain as well as a huge character that just made me
want to play all day.
The balance was perfect, and I never felt any shoulder or arm fatigue
when playing it.

I still have all the design details for the circuitry, including some of the
old Bell Electrolabs range.

Anyway – that’s a potted summary of how I met Peter Cook, and
what we did.


Next week will be The Final Cut!
I still have to collate some of the final details, before I conclude the
article on Peter.

For those of you wondering about the collection, as I said a couple
of posts back, I will kick off with a couple of rarities.

Here's something to keep you going until then.

Cheers. :)

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