Shergold Collection
1980 Shergold Activator six string guitar
A rare beast with a perfect history! This guitar came from the collection of the guitar historian and journalist, Paul Day, and this example is one of the very first made.
As a normal guitar (ignoring the active feature for the moment), this is really one of the best Shergolds around. Whatever inspired its conception has produced the best balanced body complete with (gasp!) body contours, which when mated to the always exemplary Shergold neck (this one in 24 fret rosewood format) makes for a superb all-round guitar that can easily rival a Str*t for that "favourite shirt" level of comfort. However, that doesn't stop it from suffering from the Shergold curse of finish cracking - there are some long cracks in the finish on the outer parts of the body away from the more stable laminated centre section.
The control fittings are excellent too - again a departure from the Shergold norm, with G*bson style pot knobs and SG style pickup toggle switch.
Where it gets really good is with the active electronics...
It takes some time to work out exactly how to drive this parametric equaliser as (in something of a Shergold tradition, really broken only by the Modulator) there are no labels on any of the three control knobs. The volume pot works as normal, but the two pots that in passive mode appear to do nothing become "frequency range" and "cut and boost" controls. In some settings the sound is very little altered from the normal signal, and in others it becomes a lot more muffled as the treble is cut out of the signal. Those settings aren't really all that much use - the normal tone circuits can do just as well. However, swing the controls to the opposite end of the range and suddenly you start to find that you have a wah pedal and compressor built into your guitar! With the very sensitive controls just the tiniest nudge can change the tone radically - probably quite difficult to manage in a live situation, but very useful for recording.
Beware though - this circuitry has two downsides. Firstly, it is very easy to find notes in the higher gain settings that really drive the amp hard and I've managed to singe my ears on a few occasions! Secondly, the active circuitry eats batteries.

Acquired by the Collection in October 1999