Shergold Buying Guide
Special Points to Look For
These points make the guitar generally more desirable, and so may justify paying that little bit more for.
  • Unusual Finish Colours
    The apple-green burst is gorgeous!
    Any burst colour scheme is more unusual than the normal single colour finish, and so will usually improve second-hand value. Translucent finishes are the next best thing after bursts. The translucent Cherry finish is another high point in the range.
  • Original Fitted Case
    Especially useful for the Custom Doubles.
Points to Not to Worry About
These are things which you should be aware of, but not worried about when buying a Shergold to use as a working guitar. If you are buying for looks (and as much as I love Shergolds, God help you!) make sure everything is right.
  • Body Finish Cracking
    The curse of all Shergolds!
    The poly coat finish used on Shergolds is very hard wearing, but has a habit of developing huge, and often frightening, cracks. These can usually be seen along the length of the back, and running from the front at the root of the neck joint around to the back.
    It is important to point out that these are rarely structural faults with the guitar. It is simply part of the Shergolds natural aging process.
    A lot of people are put off by this, but I feel it gives the guitars character. It also has the bonus (for enthusiasts like me) of holding the second-hand market values down!
    If you find a Shergold dated before 1982 with no body finish cracks (from 1982 significant cracking seems to have been reduced either by a change in finishing product or process), it has almost certainly been refinished. That said, if the new finish looks good and wears well it affects the value very little. In fact it would probably increase it for non-enthusiast buyers while decreasing it for true Shergold devotees!
    Life is full of compromises.
  • Missing Bridge Covers
    These are rarely found on guitars that have been actively used. They are known to Shergold collectors (a select group!) as "ashtrays" (becasue of the shape) or "frisbees" (due to their tendancy to be thrown away as soon as the guitar case is opened).
    Worth having if they are there, but not of great concern unless you are buying primarily for looks. Many later guitars and basses left the factory without them as Shergold would often run out of stock as they sent so many to existing owners who had misplaced their original ones.
    If you are unsure about whether covers should be fitted, look for two screw holes, one on each side, about an inch from the edge of the bridge unit.
  • Flat Spots on Frets
    A well adjusted Shergold neck makes fret flats insignificant. All of the first 8 frets on my '76 Modulator have huge flats (which allow you to set the action very low!) but is completely buzz free.
    It is sometimes worth having the zero fret polished out or replaced on some guitars as they can get grooves and cause pinging noises when playing bends.
    Watch out for DIY attempts to reprofile the frets though.
  • Misaligned Pickup Pole Peices / Warped Pickup Covers
    The pole piece adjusters on most older guitars have crept away from the pickup cover holes as the covers warp with age. Provided the covers are not touching strings or otherwise interfering, this is not a problem.
  • Broken Headstock String Guides
    A common failure on old Shergolds is for the screw holding a headstock string guide roller to snap. Provided that the roller is still with the guitar these can be fixed by a competent repairer or careful amateur.
    My '76 Modulator has had all the roller screws removed and replaced with threaded brass expansion bushes (designed for use in plastics: should be available from major electronics hardware suppliers such as RS or Electromail in the UK) which accept an M3 bolt.
    To fit; the screw hole is opened out to accept the bushing (the size of the hole will usually be specified on the bushing) removing the stub of the broken screw if necessary - be careful not to open the hole too wide when doing this.
    Now replace the guide roller using a bolt to fit the bushing, being very careful not to overtighten it - the roller should be able to turn but not be able to move up or down the bolt shaft.
    A small amount of thread locking compound helps make sure the bolt stays in place.
    If all this is done properly the only outward indication that it has been repaired is a different style of screw head in the roller. With careful choice, even this can be eliminated. The only sign that this has been done on mine is that the screw heads are slightly more domed than those on my other Shergolds.
    If in doubt about your ability to carry out this sort of sugery on your pride and joy, seek professional assistance.
Points to Avoid Like The Plague
If you find a Shergold with anything like these horror stories done to them, be very, very sure that you are getting a good price and if buying from a shop, a decent guarentee...
  • DIY Tremolo Conversions
    No production Shergolds (and as far as is known, no custom built Shergolds) were ever factory fitted with tremolo units. Consequently, it is tragically common to find home fitted Bigsby style units which are almost always badly fitted.
    Additionally, the neck truss rod, headstock and neck joint were never designed with the extra loading a trem places on them in mind.
    I would suggest avoiding all such conversions.
  • DIY Rewires
    In my experience, these are usually painfully obvious and would kill the value of any guitar. If done properly, rewires should be impossible to tell from original wiring. However, because Shergolds use switches and pickups which are now impossible to source (without resorting to stripping other Shergolds) poorly matched and fitted electrical parts are becoming increasingly common.
    Stereo sockets (standard on Modulators and fitted as the secondary socket on Custom Doubles) are usually wrongly rewired where attempts are made to rewire.
    Hopefully, with my efforts in documenting the circuits, this should become less common...