Shergold "Mike Rutherford/Genesis" Twin Neck
I didn't think anyone would be able to twist my arm into building another one of these. After finishing the one for Lee Pomeroy and the Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited tour I was kinda in a "didn't want to see another for the rest of my life" frame of mind! But I guess enough time had passed and I got over it. So when Steve Meston contacted me with a request to build another I thought about it for a while and decided that I would do it on condition that I could build a replica of the Mike Rutherford original, I really didn't want to build another quasi copy, fortunately Steve was more than happy for me to progress with this proviso as he plays in a '70's Genesis tribute band - I Know What I Like.
Before I get in to the build I must say a huge thank you to Scott Baldwin of Grubersaberhagen Guitars, Scott has built a few superb copies in the past and was kind enough to help out with information, details and some parts, without his help I doubt whether I'd have been able to build such an accurate replica.
I have to say I was quite excited about getting the details right for this guitar and this was a large chunk of the motivation to build it. Shergold stopped making guitars in the early 1980's. Probably a few years ago I could have picked up cheap examples and "liberated" the parts that I needed, but nowadays Shergold guitars are going for pretty good money so everything I needed I had to make.
Let's get started with some pictures.......
As usual here's a picture of the finished job, nearly everything is hand built.
With a project like this and so much to do I prefer to tackle it as a big kit and hopefully end up with a big box of parts ready to assemble. Here's the "Module 4" getting built, on the left is a steel template I used to make the brushed aluminium backing plate which is next to the acrylic cover (looking a bit rough but that's only the protective film) then there's the "humps" that go over the switches, then a waterslide decal for all the text, this goes on the back of the acrylic sheet.
Just got to round off the edges of the acrylic and it's good to go, pretty pleased with the outcome!
The workings of the Module, This is where things differ a bit from a real Shergold, the original components, Loren switches etc are not available anymore, I opted for much more straight forward wiring, Shergold wiring was pretty darn complicated and I've never really understood what the hell half the available options were so I opted for something altogether simpler and user friendly.
I guess pickup design and performance has moved on over the last 25 years and to this end I opted for Fender Jazz bass humbuckers which look fairly close in design to the originals, these have been modified by cutting off the Jazz bass mounting "ears" and fitted them into custom made surrounds.
The back side of the bass pickups, I've glued a bass plate to the back of each pickup and drilled and threaded holes for the mounting screws, I have yet to remove the protective film off the black plastic.
Here's some of the routing templates, the top ones I used to build Lee Pomeroy's guitar, but these don't have the proper cavity routing holes for a "genuine" Shergold, so I made the template in the foreground for the modules and pickups.
The body halves, outline cutout and routed, with the body joint done, the plan for this guitar was simply to look like it bolts together, so that saved a mountain of work.
Once the templates are made it's quite a quick process to get the wood roughed out, I managed to get the correct wood which is obeche which isn't easily available these days, it's a very soft and light weight wood, which has it's advantages but also marks very easily.
Moving on a few steps, both sides of the body built all the routes done and mocked up, looking good but still a mountain of work to do.
Trial fitting some of the hardware, the 12 string module has been built, I had the plate engraved by a local trophy shop and they did a great job, I wasn't sure at this stage whether I was going to put an additional clear plate over it. The 12-string pickups are Seymour Duncan with black plastic covers that I've drilled to look like the Shergold items....Again I wasn't sure regarding the looks, something to think about...
Closer shot of the 12-string module.
In order to keep the cost and build time reasonable I used readily available paddle headstock necks, in an ideal world I would have built them but everything considered using these made sense. This is the 12-string neck and needed the headstock lengthened, this and the next picture demonstrates why I love routers! With a few simple templates a perfect joint is a synch.
Here it is slotted together and this is before any glue is applied, a maple veneer top and bottom will completely hide the joint.
Here's both headstocks almost complete. On the home leg now.
Although Scott gave me the original module mounting bolts he didn't have any of the corresponding threaded fixings that go inside the cavities, so I made these rosewood "bridges" with screwed-in threaded steel blocks which do the trick nicely.
Here's one big slice of luck and very opportune when this Shegold bass bridge turned up on ebay, expensive but a real time saver, it was missing the saddle height adjusting allen head grub screws which turned out to be 6BA so no problem getting replacements.
Getting the wiring done, I have to confess I'm no wizard when it comes to wiring, there isn't anything really cleaver here, each module is simple volume, tone and pickup selector switch, then the output from the selector switch goes to the rotary neck selector before connecting to the output jack. When it comes to the stereo bass a parallel pair of wires goes from the volume pots and straight to the rotary switch missing out the pickup selector, hence both pickups are always on. The selector is 3 throw, four pole. And just in case you haven't noticed one leaver switch is just for looks!!!
Well, here we are almost finished ,there are a few details which I changed along the way but in the end it turned out really well.
Looking smart!... In the end I did cut additional clear acrylic pickguard covers to go over the engraved black ones, just felt that it gives an altogether smarter look, and the original shergold items were printed rather than engraved, so with the acrylic top layer the pickguards look printed.
The 12-string side, another change along the way was to use standard black metal humbucker covers, I just think they look altogether neater. Also I have used a Gotoh 12 string bridge as agreed with the new owner Steve, this is an improvement over the original since it allows individual string intonation adjustment, I've also mounted the bridge onto a polished aluminium plate that's the same shape as the Shergold bridge. I've also fitted false body joining bolts and the neck selector switch cover that Mike Rutherford had on his, presumably when it was replaced by the rotary switch.
...And the headstocks, unlike the original, I haven't used a zero fret. I also made the Shergold shields although I'm hoping that some originals turn up as I'm not best pleased with my attempt at reproducing them.
Two jack sockets, one for the stereo bass and the other for mono 12-string and mono bass, the rotary switch is 3 position 4 pole, one pole each for the mono bass and 12-string and two poles for stereo bass.
It's been a very challenging build, I guess a step further for me which is what I was looking for with this build, I've certainly learnt a few things along the way which will hopefully be useful for future restorations, really looking forward to posting some pictures of it being used, huge thanks to Steve for being a great customer and allowing me time to get the details done and many thanks to Scott Baldwin for all the help and information.
Here's a link to the fb page for Steve's band I Know What I Want
This is what Steve had to say about it....
Chris It was good to meet you too. I must say, that what you've built for me is a treasure, and one thing you can rest assured of is that it won't hang on the wall gathering dust!! As soon as I arrived home last night (11.10pm… had a traffic free run) I placed it next to the Rickenbacker double neck. Whilst they are both equally pleasing to the eye, they are poles apart as far as build quality is concerned, with the Shergold winning hands down. You've set it up brilliantly. The easy playability was instantly noticeable. In fact, it plays better than my fender Jazz!! Don't worry about the stereo jack issue and I certainly don't expect you to contribute to the cost. What you've done for £*k is a bargain already!! It'll be a quick job just to file down the outside of the plug to enable it to fit. . Thanks again for everything Chris. All the best Steve