Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Ibanez 2459B Destroyer and a Greco "Rickenfaker". . . . .

Hi to all out there - Back to the Collection.

First of all, I would like to welcome "Stefano" as one of my "Watchers".

On average, I get around 35 visitors a day, with a peak of over
180 a day during some of the Peter Cook articles.
It's always interesting to see how people have arrived.
Today, for example - Status Shark controls, Guitar Collector Blog,
Ned Callan Firebird, Aria SB 600, Gordy Headless Bass,
Peavey T-40, Ibanez Studio SB-70 etc, etc.

I am always happy to answer any questions, if I can help.

Anyway, back to the job in hand - let's kick off with a couple of
rare basses.
The Greco is well travelled, as I bought it from one of the founder
members of The Beatlegs, Queensland, Australia!!
He returned to the UK and decided to move on his McCartneyesque
(is that a real word??) bass, as I recall he was looking into a Police
tribute band, or something like that!

I have played several of the genuine article, over the last 30 years
and this has the feel and the tones of some of the best ones I have
This has a bit more punch and brightness than the real ones I have
played that are more recent - I had been told this is down to a change
of circuit.
Balances nicely and has a lovely neck - the whole thing has a satin
finish to it and is a joy to play.
The only thing that I always get confused with, is the layout of the
controls - I always have to look at what does what!
Mono output only - most of these have Stereo and Mono.

Hard to believe, this is 28 years old and in that time has travelled
from it's home in Japan, to Australia and then onto England!
These type of basses are generally referred to as "Rickenfakers"

I know someone who is a mine of information on Japanese
instruments,so I asked him for a comment on the two we have
here today.

Hi Eric - as usual two exceptional - and very rare - basses!
Both of these were made by Fujigen Gakki, and have datable
serial numbers.

Fujigen serial numbers work like this - the first letter represents the month
(A = Jan, B = Feb etc), the next two digits the year, and the subsequent
numbers are for the month's production run.
Anyway, let's start with the Grecobacker.
Looks like a very accurate 4001S replica, going through the Greco
catalogues online, these first appeared in 1977 and were still available
in the 1992 catalogue - along with all the other "Lawsuit" instruments that
stopped being sold officially outside Japan in the mid 70s.

I think using Japlish deductions, we can assume "PMB" is
"Paul McCartney Bass" - also the fact they also did a Brian May
Red Special clone & called it a BM-900 is a bit of a giveaway!
The numbers themselves always reference the price in Yen - the two
PMBs were priced at 80,000 & 100,000 yen respectively, in Japan!

This Ibanez Destroyer Bass is 35 years old and in that time must have
seen some action at some point.
I base this on the state of the original case, which could be best described
as "shot it"
The interior is not too bad but the rest. . . . . .
Took me ages to find a case that would fit and that I was happy with.

It is all original apart from the knobs - two of the original ones were cracked -
and the selector switch, as the original was a bit hit and miss!
When I got it, the strings were backed off, due to a crack in the head, which
wasn't major but need looking at.
This was bonded and then, as a "belt and braces" job, I made a replica of
the head in aluminium and bridged the join, as these type of heads have a
weakness and I didn't fancy any further harm coming to it.

It has got quite a full sound, with both pick-ups on - the neck pick-up is typical
"P" and the Ibanez single coil at the back, adds brightness.
It has a few battle scars but doesn't interfere with the playing of it, as the neck
is smooth and free of bumps.
It's something a little bit different!
A few more words from Jon.

The Ibanez is a 2459B Destroyer - seems this is one of the rarest Ibby
basses and quite sought-after by Ibanez collectors.
Of the available online catalogues, it only appears in a single 1976 edition -
so it's possible it was only available for a very short time.

Shame about the headstock damage - but clearly it's a player & the custom
reinforcement is a nice touch!
This is an interesting bass in that it's not a "proper" copy, it's perhaps most
likely influenced by John Entwistle's Explorer-shaped Alembics, as at the
time there was no Gibson equivalent.
Apart from Greco (which are often the same instruments apart from the brand)
I don't think any of the other Japanese brands had an Explorer bass.
Thanks Jon.

Well, I think that will do for now - I'm off to dig up something else!!

Cheers. :)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Peter Cook, The Final Cut . . . . . . . .

As we come to the end of the period when Peter was making
custom guitars, this was the time that the shop was opened,

Peter Cook's Guitar World.

I contacted the shop that Peter and Trevor set up and this is
what they kindly gave me.

Peter Cook's Guitar World was set up in 1981 by Peter Cook
and Trevor Newman.

The shop at 69 Station Road in Hanwell is still trading.

In 1983 Peter decided that he wanted a rest from the industry

and left the business.

Trevor reluctantly carried on - but continued successfully trading

until 2008 - when he sold the business to the current owner.

Over the years the shop has supplied many thousands of guitars

to big name players - but mostly the general playing public.
Guitars are supplied all over the world - with recent sales in
Hong Kong
and New Zealand, to name just a couple.
Peter Cook's Guitar World can be contacted on 0208 840 1244
or via their website - www.petercooks.co.uk.

This is what Peter had to say about his final period in the music business.

"I teamed up with Trevor Newman and together we opened
a shop in Hanwell, West London “Peter Cook’s Guitar World”.

I hung up my fret files in the eighties to follow other interests

but the shop lives on.

For me it’s is either yesterday, today or tomorrow;
I never
kept meticulous notes, I never really gave much
to who my customers were and my memory is very
so apart from John Entwistle I don’t know for sure
who else I made
guitars for.

As far as repairs etc are concerned names that spring to
mind are:
Lemmy, Fast Eddy, Robert Smith, Neil Murray,
Bruce Springsteen,
John Edwards. . . . . . .
Apologies to everyone I’ve forgotten....

Trevor reminded me recently, when in the company of the
Fender Custom Shop rep, that I had a march on their

‘distressed’ range as I had distressed two new Strats for

Tears for Fears back in the eighties".

Peter has given me all sorts of information since we first
met but a couple of questions were asked at that meeting,
that I have saved until last, as it seemed a good way of
concluding the article.

I asked Peter who he most admired in the guitar making
world and what did he think was perhaps the best guitar,
in his opinion.
He said that he would probably name Leo Fender and the
guitar would be. . . . . . . . . . a Fender Stratocaster.

"It was one of those designs that was right from day one.
It was good then and it is just as good today".

Peter has now come almost full circle and is enjoying playing
with his old band mates in "July".

"July" was part of the Sixties Psychedelic music scene and their
vinyl albums have become very collectible, fetching hundreds
of Dollars in the USA.
The albums were July and The Second of July.

This is the track list, with the ones marked ** being written
by Peter.

1. My Clown **
2. Dandelion Seeds
3. Jolly Mary **
4. Hallo To Me
5. You Missed It All
6. The Way
7. To Be Free **
8. Move On Sweet Flower
9. Crying Is For Writers
10. I See **
11. A Friendly Man
12. A Bird Lived
13. Hallo Who's There **
14. The Way [single version]
15. You Missed It All
16. My Clown
17. Dandelion Seeds
18. The Stamping Machine
19. A Bird Lived **
20. Look At Her
21. The Way
22. Friendly Man **
23. I See
24. The Girl In The Cafe
25. You See Me, I See You
26. Man Outside
27. Move On Sweet Flower
28. Hallo To Me



Scroll down for the English version.


This is clip of Peter, playing a Strat, paying Homage to The Shadows.


A link to Peter on Facebook.


So, I have sort of come to an end of the Peter Cook story.
As Peter said to me, "it's a long time ago when all of this happened".

He is now enjoying his music again - like going back to his youth
and is rehearsing with his fellow members of "July".

"As far as July is concerned, we will be releasing a new album this year
and we will be ‘hitting the road’ at some point".

I have thoroughly enjoyed doing "Peter Cook, Guitar Maker".

I would like to thank Peter, for all of his input and enthusiasm for the
feature - it took me some time to track him down but I think you will
all agree, it was well worth it.
I would also like to thank all the other people that have given their
input to the feature.

Peter has "some papers" that he may "dig out", so you never know,
it could be "Peter Cook Re-Visited".

I would also like to thank all of the visitors who have read the article
and would like to remind them that is they know of a Peter Cook
instrument, or have pictures of one, I would love to hear from you.


The End. . . . . . . . for the time being. . . . . :)

So, for all of you who have dropped me a line or two about the collection,
during the feature - thank you, I did get your messages - some interesting
snippets which I may use later and yes. . . . . to those who want some
more bass and guitar, next time will be all about an Ibanez 2495B
Destroyer and a fairly rare Greco.

All the best - See you next week.

Eric. :)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Gary Moore, 58 and with us no more . . . . .

Today is a very sad day for me, as I sit here typing
this with a lump in my throat.

Gary moore has died at the age of 58.

I have been a fan for as long as I can remember and his
music and his playing still gives me shivers, even after
listening to the tracks hundreds of times.

I really don't know what else to say.
Today is a very sad day.

Attributed to Openeyes

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. :)