"A new benchmark for electric guitar value?": Shergold ST14 Telstar Standard review

The resurgent British brand becomes more accessible with an electric that takes classic influences to make a strong statement

Shergold Telstar
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict


  • +

    Looks great

  • +

    Very playable neck

  • +

    Premium touches inc rolled fingerboard edges, rounded heel

  • +

    Humbuckers are solid performers


  • -

    It's subjective but the headstock size looks a little narrow

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Shergold ST14 Telstar review: What is it?

Shergold Telstar

(Image credit: Future)

Everyone seems to have a bee in their bonnet about the price of (some) Epiphones and Mexican Fenders theses days. Ok, there are some new ceilings being installed when it comes to their more premium offerings, but this isn't an epidemic; the volume of affordable guitars in 2024 is staggering. Shapes, features, retailers… it's dizzying, to be frank. And with that, expectations go up. Because why settle when there's so much competition? 

Shergold walks into a crowded marketplace in the price range with its Telstar. And the journey to get here has been interesting; the British brand was brought back by Brian Cleary and Bruce Perrin of Barnes & Mullins Ltd in 2017 – a company that was the original distributor of the brand back when it was around from 1975 to 1982 The return was unexpected and utilised the design talents of luthier Patrick James Eggle with its relaunch model the Masquerader, followed by the Provocateur in 2019.

Shergold Provocateur Standard

(Image credit: Shergold Guitars)

Both were Indonesian-made guitars with fresh outlines that launched around the £800 mark. In October 2023 the company launched the Provocateur Standard Series which retails at around half the price of the previous guitars. 

The higher-end Classic Procateur's roasted mahogany neck with Macassan ebony fretboard was replaced by Canadian maple and laurel, with Page humbuckers (a Chinese-made brand invented for the Shergold purpose) instead of Seymour Duncans. It made great sense to enhance the accessibility of the brand, but just two months previously Shergold had already made a bolder step in that direction.

Shergold Telstar

Like the Provocateur Standard, the Telstar features a Canadian maple neck and laurel fretboard combo (Image credit: Future)

The China-made Telstar was a brand new shape for 2023 with an even cheaper price-point than the Provocateur Standard, and it echoed a few recognisable influences; the stepped body design most famously seen on Gibson's Firebird (but more recently the Eastman Juliet and Ivison Dakota) raising the bridge and pickups on the Telstar just under 4mm above the rest of the body.  

The shape of the poplar body is quite clearly an offset take on the familiar T-style contouring, while the Gretsch-looking humbuckers echo the first wave of Cabronita Telecasters. So the classic influences may be familiar but the overall look feels individual and actually quite boutique in a way that belies the price tag. 

Shergold Telstar

(Image credit: Future)

Shergold ST14 Telstar review: Performance

There is something effortlessly cool about chrome, black and a cream pickguard in the electric guitar mix

While the Telstar launched last year in Champagne Gold and Pastel Blue, I was hoping we'd eventually see a black version; and I'm very pleased with the results here (Metallic Orange has also been added for 2024). There is something effortlessly cool about chrome, black and a cream pickguard in the electric guitar mix. The only sticking point for me with the look is the headstock – it looks a little slight in relation to the body size, but the matching finish and logo stripes are certainly attractive. 

Overall weight is a very comfortable 7lbs – lighter than most Teles I've played in recent years that's for sure. And the QC initials on the swing tag counts for something here on the build side with no cosmetic or structural flaws I can find. 

Shergold Telstar

The Telstar features Shergold own brand tuners but feature a reassuringly smooth turning action – and the same can be applied to the controls. Which is nice.  (Image credit: Future)

The action needs a little attention. An old saying (I just made up) goes that springy action means satisfaction. This definitely has a really comfortable tension that newer players especially will find welcoming. But a 1.60mm medium string height on the low E and 1.0mm on the high E is unbalanced with the latter too low. It's yet another reminder to learn this stuff for yourself with our guitar setup guide or get all new guitar purchases looked at by your local tech – it's worth it.   

With the neck relief looking good out of the box, I give the sting heights an adjustment using my height measuring tool and 12-inch radius gauge to get into low-medium territory. It doesn't take long and gives me a chance to closer admire the attractive hipshot-style bridge. A truss rod tweak after that and we're away.

Shergold Telstar

(Image credit: Future)

String height tweaks done, it's a really positive neck experience overall – though there's a 12-inch radius, the 25.5-inch scale and satin maple back reflect more of a Fender influence. The neck is more a standard C than slim, but I feel right at home coming from a Tele, and the relatively low medium-jumbo frets give it fast feel. 

This could be an attractive proposition to players coming from either of the big brands looking for something different. And for the price, either of those is likely to offer the subtly rolled fretboard edges that the Telstar has. Impressive stuff! 

Shergold Telstar

The rounded neck heel is another nice touch for upper fret access, and the recessed neck screws reflect the premium visual flair seen elsewhere  (Image credit: Future)

The pickups are certainly more appealing than basic humbucker fair with a little more openness and high-end in place of low-end compression

Our test Telstar is satisfyingly resonant unplugged, but into a Fender Deluxe amp the Page FilterSonic Humbucker pickup name proves to be slightly wide of the mark; Filter'Trons these are not. But they are certainly more appealing than basic humbucker fare with a little more openness and high-end in place of low-end compression, and a defined, rounded character in the neck that brings a welcome balance that's good for creamy blues licks. More towards mini humbucker in this way than Filter'Tron chime or P-90 poke. 

Unsurprisingly, cleaner rhythm work benefits from the airier territory of the middle position but I found myself sticking with the bridge a lot for its versatility. 

If changing the pickups might be on the cards for you in the future, their position fitted into the raised body wood poses some obvious restrictions without a pickguard to hide any routing work. My calipers suggest Filter'Tron spec dimensions could be an easy swap here though. That's quite a tantalising prospect for the modder in me. 

Shergold ST14 Telstar review: Verdict

Shergold Telstar

(Image credit: Future)

In stock form the Telstar is still a very attractive proposition; it stands out in a crowded field, and that's a testament to Shergold and Patrick James Eggle's efforts to bring something affordable to the table that feels unique. Something that looks, feels and plays anything but cheap.

MusicRadar verdict: A new benchmark for electric guitar value? At this price point, absolutely. The Telstar takes classic influences to deliver something contemporary to players that's a cut above expectations at its accessible price. 


Shergold ST14 Telstar review: Hands-on demos


Shergold ST14 Telstar review: Specifications

Shergold Telstar

(Image credit: Shergold)
  • TYPE: Solid-body electric, made in China 
  • BODY: Poplar, gloss polyester finish 
  • NECK: Maple C-shape, bolt-on 
  • SCALE: 25.5”
  • FINGERBOARD: Laurel, 12" radius 
  • FRETS: 21, Medium-Jumbo
  • ELECTRICS: Page FilterSonic humbucker
  • CONTROLS: Master tone, master volume (Alpha 500k pots), 3-position pickup toggle 
  • HARDWARE: Hipshot-style string-through-body hardtail bridge
  • WEIGHT OF REVIEW GUITAR: 7lbs / 3.1kg
  • CASE: Not included
  • FINISHES: Black (as reviewed), Metallic Orange, Champagne Gold, Pastel Blue 
  • CONTACT: Shergold Guitars
Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.