by Lincoln Smith
Photo: Eastwood's Hooky Series Logo
If you’re a fan of Eastwood Guitars, you’ll be familiar with the Bass 6 model that’s been making waves since its release in early 2020.
The Hooky Bass 6 PRO was produced in partnership with Peter Hook - bassist for Joy Division, New Order, and more recently his solo project, Peter Hook and The Light.
The Hooky Bass 6 is modeled after Hook’s own original Shergold Marathon 6-string. The instrument has been a staple of Hook’s sound since the early days of his career.
Photo: Joy Division - Bernard Sumner with Shergold Masquerader
Following a wildly popular rollout of this instrument, Eastwood has decided to expand the “Hooky” lineup with tributes to other favorite Shergold models, including a more traditional 4-string electric bass (the Eastwood Hooky Bass 4 PRO), and the standard-scale electric guitar model once played by former bandmate Bernard Sumner of Joy Division and New Order - the Shergold Masquerader.
This famous model has been reimagined as the Eastwood Hooky Raider, but before we get to that - first, some history:
Photo: Shergold founders Golder & Houlder
Shergold traces its history back to London, 1968. Jack Golder and Norman Houlder made guitars for a number of brands including Burns, Rosetti, and Barnes & Mullins.
In the 1970s, the two started producing their own independent brand in the form of Shergold while still producing necks and bodies for other brands like Burns. The company produced many now-collectible instruments, including the Marathon Bass and Masquerader guitar - two models that found the spotlight in the hands of Hook and Sumner.
With a downturn in the guitar market, production largely ceased until the company’s closure in 1992.
Eastwood’s Hooky Raider
Photo: Hooky Series New Models
Musicians will see the release of The Eastwood Hooky “Raider” in early 2022, and be able to explore the charm, tone, and feel found in the vintage Shergold Masquerader with some added features inspired by the Eastwood Hooky Bass 6 PRO. Even better, players will be able to do this without breaking the bank or relying on the now-aging components of the originals.
Players who are familiar with the original will have something new and improved to explore. The Raider retains the bolt-on maple neck with 25.5” scale and 1.65” nut width. The only difference in feel will be the weight. Eastwood has opted to use alder for the body material to make the model accessible to players looking for something reasonably light and manageable on stage.
Photo: Hooky Raider
The biggest innovations come in the form of electronics and hardware. The Hooky Raider features a custom “Hooky” thru-body bridge that will increase sustain and resonance through the solid alder body. The custom bridge humbucker is constructed with true alnico 5 pole pieces for a screaming hot output. The custom neck humbucker is constructed with a ceramic magnet to nail smoother tones full of bass and midrange.
Pretty cut-and-dry, right? But wait a second… What do the two extra switches do?
We’re so glad you asked.
Video: Bernard Sumner's Shergold Masquerader in Action
Aside from the 3-way selector switch found on most guitars with an HH layout, the Raider’s two pickups each feature a 3-way “voice” selector.
The first voice option is the classic humbucker, plain and simple. For some guitarists, this may be all you need. But where’s the fun in that?
The second voice option is coil tap. This is the classic treble-focused single-coil voice that you would expect from - well - a single coil guitar.
If you’re looking for a single-coil sound that is a bit beefier – something to compliment the humbucker and round out the tone – we’d like to introduce you to the third voice option: The Eldred Mod. Here’s an excerpt from the Raider’s eastwoodguitars.com product listing:
“The Eldred Mod is a low value capacitor that we installed to each pickup. This enables a different/extra tone from the same pickup in Single Coil mode (coil-tapped), giving you two alternative single coil sounds to work with on each pickup.
At its core the Hooker Raider is a Dual Humbucker guitar (and fantastic just like this, btw), and then depending how you want to move to a Single Coil you've got the two options:
-The Eldred Mod position can be a better balance against the HB, because it's mellower and more tonally aligned to the HB, there's less 'NOW WE'RE IN SINGLE COIL!!' about it.
-But then again, sometimes you want that full on ‘cut through anything’ sound of a Single Coil… if you want that, it’s there for you.
And this is before you get into how they all work in combination with each other too! For instance, BRIDGE-HB with NECK-SC is quite a different flavour to BRIDGE-HB with NECK-SCEM... it's pretty versatile.”