Shergold Collection
c.1983 Shergold Trojan six string guitar
This one had me stumped until I was lucky enough to meet the man who designed it, Peter Robinson (who also designed and published "The Burns Book", written by Paul Day).
When I bought it, it was advertised as a Masquerader by the seller, but looked like no Masquerader I've ever seen. In fact I thought it was a Meteor, as I had never seen an original Meteor, but knew that the Nu Meteor had a similar scratchplate.
A small mention is made of a "Trojan Special" in an article on Shergold from 1995.
Peter told me that he designed it as a kind of T*le/Str*t style addition to the Shergold range, but Jack Golder wasn't really taken with the design, and only six (and possibly a second batch of six with some differences) were made. Peter wasn't quite sure of the date this one was built - but of the dates suggested 1978 fits with the design of the "stock" components such as the neck.
The original cost was to be £110. Peter wanted to call this model the "Trojan", but as these were more or less prototypes the name was never officially adopted, though some were fitted with "Trojan" headstock badges.
There is no serial number or model name anywhere on it, which is unusual for Shergolds, including custom built ones (even Mike Rutherfords' had serial numbers). The pickups are Kent Armstrong units rather than the standard Re-An units fitted to all the other humbucking models (the Nu Meteor being the exception) and are a little more wirey sounding than my Modulator and Custom Double ones, but they still have that distinctive Shergold sound.

Other features are:
  • "Stripe" (Maple/Mahogany/Maple) construction to body centre section as used on the final generation models (but these used a two more Mahogany stripes on the outside of the maple stripes).
  • The body is 5mm thinner than the normal Shergolds (40mm against 45mm) and has a much deeper, "wrap-around" neck socket which is identical to those on Burns guitars like the Bison, with the body socket enclosing the heel of the neck on both sides. It appears to be one of Shergold's near-Marvin replica's.
  • Pre-1979 neck design with through body heel truss rod adjustment - possibly this neck type is needed with this body as none of the Burns replica guitars made by Shergold had headstock end adjusters.
  • Crude bridge design, which while similar, is less effective than the type used on later Masqueraders and Doubles; apparently used by Jack to cut costs.
  • Old style potentiometer control knobs, and toggle switch identical to those used on the Baldwin era (1965-1970) Burns models (see the Burns pages in "The Ultimate Guitar Book").
  • Scratchplate almost identical in shape to the much later Nu Meteor, but with different pickup cutouts, and one less potentiometer, and different pickup selector arrangement.
Controls Detail
Burns style controls and front mounted jack socket
Neck Joint Detail
Burns style wrap-around neck joint socket
Neck Truss Rod Detail
Truss rod adjuster slot
Bridge and Pickup Detail
Simple bridge and unusual pickups
These were the ideas I originally put forward for the origin of this model:
  • It was a prototype for a production model, or a model that never reached production that was sold off, rather than being scrapped.
  • It was one of the transitional models made while Jack was still building guitars for Jim Burns and his Ormston company, and is a chimera of Burns and Shergold-to-be.
  • It really is a Masquerader, but a very original one, built prior to the Custom Masquerader or as a simpler, cheaper version.
  • It was custom built, or was rebuilt by Jack as a new body around an old neck and with old style electronics.
  • It was made by a Shergold employee, using Shergold materials and techniques but was not an official model (i.e. made in spare time) - this is known to have happened several times.

My favoured options were the second or third, but as it turns out, the first was the nearest to the truth!

Acquired by the Collection in October 1998