Shergold Home
Shergold FAQ
This page hopefully summarises the most common questions I get asked by email and maybe prempts a few others...
Is this the official Shergold web site?
The site is operated with the approval of the Golder family, who where kind enough to send this note to me:

[You are] doing a great job, please keep it up, only sorry Dad is not here to see the good work and how his "baby" is still going strong.

This site was set up as I was suprised to find no source of information on Shergolds anywhere on the Internet. So I decided to spread what little knowledge I had gleaned at the time to the rest of the world, beginning in earnest in July 1997 not really expecting any great response. After a slow start, the number of visitors, and the volume of email I answer has climbed steadily and continues to do so.
Those of you interested in ancient history (in computer terms that means 1996) might like to have a look at the original Shergold website. How far we've come since then...Mind you, look how fast it loads - and no browser compatibility issues either. ;)
Are Shergold Guitars still being made?
Regretably, no. Jack Golder died in 1992 just a year or so after restarting official production of new Shergolds. The factory was sold off afterwards and continued in general woodworking.
Are you or anyone else likely to start making them again?
Only in my dreams! There is too small a demand for these eclectic instruments to justify manufacture on any scale, and any produced would be prohibitively expensive due mainly to the high cost of hardware - you need only look at the cost of the Burns UK reissues to see this.
Where can I buy a Shergold?
Shergolds are fairly regularly offered second hand in the UK - usually used to be in general free advert papers, or the modern equivalents of eBay or Gumtree, rather than music magazines. Dealers occasionally have them, but tend to overprice them. That said, asking friendly music shop staff can also be a good source. Often Shergolds are not out on display, but are lurking in some back room waiting for the right moment.
Where can I buy a Shergold double neck like Mike Rutherford used to use?
Probably only from Mike himself. One pair (brown 6/12) went to the US distributor of Shergolds (Dale Newman who works for Genesis), and Mike the other two pairs (one lower bass half, two upper twelve string halves, and an upper six string half, all in natural finish). We have visited the Genesis recording studio to look over the Rutherford doubles - and before anyone asks, Mike has no intention of selling them in the immediate future!
Jul 2001: The brown 6/12 set was recently auctioned on Ebay along with a mass of other old Genesis touring gear. One of the little used natural halves - the upper six string guitar - which was sold in the same auction, is now owned by us.
You would have more luck tracking down a Custom Double. Most people won't be able to tell the difference!
How old is my Shergold?
For general guidelines, try the rough Dating page, or for most models between 1975 and 1980 try the serial numbers page.
Has anyone ever endorsed Shergolds?
The only artist to appear in Shergold adverts is Mike Rutherford, but Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook, both of Joy Division and New Order, have both played Shergolds, but never featured in any Shergold produced material.
What scale is my Shergold's neck?
As befits such interesting instruments, some unusual scale lengths are employed on some Shergold models:
Scale Models
24¾" (630mm) Guitar Nu Meteor, Activator
25½" (650mm) Guitar Masquerader, Modulator, Meteor, Cavalier, Custom Double
30" (760mm) Bass Marathon 6, Custom Double (bass 6)
34" (865mm) Bass Marathon (4 & 8), Custom Double (4 & 8), Cavalier

(The scale is the distance between the zero fret and twelfth fret multiplied by two)
Where can I get strings for my 6 string bass/8 string bass/12 string guitar?
As any owners of 6 string basses will know, it is near impossible to get 30" bass strings in guages around 110-30 from any normal source. The customary response is "ehh? what, short scale? You sure?". Similar responses usually emerge for 8 string bass and electric 12 string.
Originally, Shergold used Picato strings. However, I've had no luck getting information on these from them (though I didn't pursue very hard I must admit). Rotosound flatly ignored my information requests by what ever means I tried, despite their website proudly claiming that any short scale or multi stringer can be dealt with - "just contact us". Well, nuts to them.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel, however.
Newtone Strings Newtone Strings, a small British company based in Derbyshire, were only too happy to make me sets in whatever guages I wanted, to exactly the right length for the 30" scale, and for a very reasonable price too. I already use their 12 string guitar sets as they are the only consistently reliable source I've found in the UK for them.
I'd encourage any Shergold owner to try their strings - they are very good. All the collection guitars and basses are now strung with Newtones, having previously been fitted with D'Addarios.
Guitar sets (6 and 12 string) and normal bass sets can be obtained very easily over the net from Strings Direct. On more mainstream sets, Newtone usually have a minumum order quantity, so this is the best way to get these. (note that recently, Strings Direct haven't been featuring Newtones on their site due apparently to supply lead times - you may need to call them to find out if your requirements can be met from stock. Alternately, it is worth calling Newtone directly and finding out if they can supply you). For those of us with 6 and 8 string basses (they don't have a minimum quantity on unusual bass sets), I'd suggest you get in touch with Newtone direct at:
Newtone Strings
11B Stainsby Avenue
DE75 7EL
Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1773 714409

For custom sets, you will need to know what guages you want (in thousands of an inch), the length from the ball-end to the zero fret in inches and the length from the zero fret to the furthest machine head. For six string owners the lengths are 32" and 6½". My sets are made up in these guages (based on intuition and the string cuts in the nut): 110, 085, 065, 050, 038, 030.

For those of you trying to get the New Order sound from your six string basses, Peter Hook uses 100, 080, 060, 050, 050, 045 guages (he reckoned that the original guages were 100, 080, 060, 054, 045, 040) to get a heavier top end. (Thanks to Simon for asking Peter about this!)

Turn around time for custom sets is about one to two weeks from order to delivery, and the sets I had made cost £22 each. Very reasonable, for made-to-order high quality strings.
When you speak to them, mention where you found out about them!
Can I get replacment or spare parts?
We now have replacement control and scratch plates for some models as well as a small selection of other hardware. See the Replacement Parts page for details.

The most commonly asked for items are the plastic bridge covers. We have none of these spare, and having them made is not financially viable at present.
What size hexagonal keys fits the truss rod and bridge adjusters?
The main reason these adjusters get damaged is that they are (generally) imperial sizes, which are getting more difficult to get keys for. The truss rod uses a 5/32" key (approx. 4mm) while the bridge adjusters use a 0.050" (1.27mm) key.
The 5/32" should be easy enough to get from car or bicycle spares shops, but the 0.050" keys are very difficult to get, and usually have to be bought in multiple packs. We can supply 0.050" keys individually for £2.50 including UK postage.
What is this "Obeche" wood?
Obeche tree (Triplochiton scleroxylon) Obeche (proncounced "oh-beachy", botanical name: Triplochiton scleroxylon. Also known as Abachi, Obiche, Obechi, Samba, Ayous, Arere or Wawa) is a hardwood found in Africa mainly in the countries of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The tree grows to over 50m high and 1.5m in diameter at the base of the trunk.
Obeche is a light weight wood with a pleasant appearance of pale yellow color, with a natural lustre that gives a silky finish. Obeche can be dried quickly undergoing little degradation and, once dry, is very stable. Due to its light weight, it is not strong; it is easy to saw and to work, acquiring a good finish if the tools used are sufficiently sharpened. It is necessary to take special care when cutting across the end grain since this has tendency to crumble.
Click here for image of natural Obeche grain
(Images and portions of this text translated from Moldurus Christobal S.A.)
ForestWeb has a good data sheet of information from the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Here's the only picture we could find of the tree in its natural tropical location.
Other uses for Obeche that we've come across:
What amplifiers do you recommend?
A suprising number of people ask this question, largely it appears because the amps they use with modern G*bsons or F*nders don't seem to give the same performance with a Shergold. The thing to remember is that with Shergolds you are dealing with a real "vintage" guitar - these things were designed in the 1970s, so you need to match them with amplifier designs that were around at the time to get the best from them. Anyone who has tried an old Burns through an original Vox AC30 and then compared it with a modern solid state or hybrid amp will know what I mean!
The general impression I get from other Shergold users is that Peavey amps work exceptionally well with Shergolds - I use a Classic 30 (all tube, AB class) combo which really make Shergolds come alive.