London's Iconic Music Store 

PRS: Celebrating 30 Years of Innovation

Posted on May 18, 2015


Above: Vintage Yellow Custom Model (left) & Pear White Standard (right); (far right) A Young Paul Reed Smith.

In 1984, armed with two guitars, Paul Reed Smith set out on a tour to guitar dealers around the East Coast. The guitars (above) were the building block for all current PRS models, and a prolific innovation for their time. The first guitar (right) was a Custom model with a maple top and mahogany back and sides, while the Standard model (left) was made of entirely solid mahogany. 

Although the ever-changing world of guitars has been turned upside down with countless breakthroughs and innovations, Paul Reed Smith was about to bring something new to the table. Perhaps the the biggest factor was the durability and craftsmanship of his guitars. Sometimes referred as a 'hybrid', PRS guitars were about to offer a new kind of work-horse guitar for the touring and recording musician.

This was highlighted in a new tremolo system, invented and patented by Smith, and we have Carlos Santana to thank. In early conversations for building guitars for Santana, the versatile guitarist brought up the elephant in the room for all guitarists; he wanted a vibrato that stayed in tune. After the conversation, a flustered Smith was weary about taking on such as task. 

During the 80's, locking vibratos like Floyd Rose bridges had come into full swing, appearing on countless albums and lightening-speed solos. However reliable the Floyd Rose was, Smith wanted to provide players with a guitar that stayed in tune without the chore of the complicated re-string and tuning process. And thus, with the help of John Mann, the PRS Tremolo was born. To learn more about the PRS Tremolo, click here: http://www.prsguitars.com/csc/bridges.html

Countless guitar heroes have taken advantage of these innovations to give them the sound, feel, and play-ability that they use to hone their skills on these unique and timeless guitars.

We here at Rose Morris stock a wide range of PRS guitars, ranging from the SE Series, to the new American Custom 30th anniversary guitars.  

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Extended Range: When 6 Is Not Enough

Posted on April 16, 2015

Many people may be overwhelmed by extended range guitars as it is something they're not used to, however there are a number of artists using them to help extend the bass or sometimes treble range of their playing which can create more contrast and a more unique sound. When an additional string is added, the width of the fret board is increased so it can be placed next to the rest of the strings, some people might take a while to get used to an extra string while others may never like it, it all depends on the persons playing style and what sort of sound they want to obtain.

While they might seem relatively new to some people, seven string guitars have been around since the 19th century,the first example of it being the Russian guitar which is a seven string acoustic tuned to Open G tuning. This is similar to the Brazilian guitar which is tuned like a standard classical or acoustic guitar but with an extra low C.

Semi-Hollow and hollow body seven strings came about during the 1930's when a Jazz guitarist called George Van Eps had his own signature guitar built by Epiphone as well as Gretsch. Most players had the extra string tuned to a low A or a low B. More Jazz guitarists from the 30's to the 80's such as Bucky Pizzarelli or Ralph Patt also began using seven strings.

During the 80's, seven string solid body electrics started being made which guitarist Steve Vai picked up on and had his own guitar with a high A. Later on, Ibanez and Vai worked together to mass produce the UV7 which was a seven string with the low B instead of a high A.

Seven strings started becoming more popular within the Rock and Metal scene as bands like Korn began using the instrument which was perfect for their low end riffs and still allowed them to have the full range of a six string for leads and solos.

We here at Rose Morris have a selection of seven string guitars in a variety of styles- so come and try one today!

And remember- you can never have enough strings, like this guy:

Narciso Yepes playing a 10-string classical guitar; via youtube.com


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Avon Alcove: Rose Morris History

Posted on December 14, 2014

Every great guitar company has an entry level line of instruments to help inspire young rockstars put down dad’s tennis racket and put on The Ramones debut or The Venture’s “Walk Don’t Run” and start working out The Kinks.

In the 60’s and 70’s Avon stepped in and provided the platform for the germinating guitar hero with rock solid instruments that you could hopefully talk your folks into buying after they made you rehearse “Hot Cross Buns” on your grand dad’s classical guitar.

Most examples of these vintage babies are still playing great today with their characteristic low frets and hot pickups.

The Shaftesbury was always the more up-market beast, but the Avon little brother was plenty tough and destined to be just as cool.


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Shaftesbury 3261

Posted on December 01, 2014

Here it is. The most popular Shaftesbury of them all

Rose Morris has a long history with Rickenbacker that has been covered in past blogs, so here’s a little recap. WE brought Rickenbacker to the UK. Most of the iconic images you see of Pete Townshend, John Lennon, etc. are Ricky’s from our stock, so naturally we started commissioning our own version.

This is a fine example from our private stock in all her glory. Three-tone sunburst, check. Matching headstock, check. Shaftesbury logo behind the bridge, check. Stunning vintage tone, check. 

These EKO-made collectables are quite hard to come by and gain value every year. Reissue material? Let us know.


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The Shaftesbury 3266

Posted on September 22, 2014

This long-necked Italian beauty is an absolute pleasure to lay your hands on. Like the 3265, she was manufactured by EKO in the early 70’s for Rose Morris and has a distinct cosmetic elegance that transcends all mockery of the obvious tele inspiration.

The neck is very long and thin as most electric basses were throughout the sixties and early 70’s. This feature coaxes a specific walking style out of the player, as it is very easy to cram more notes into a phrase. There is a definite “less is more” aesthetic to this instrument and features just one pickup, volume and tone control just like a Rock n’ Roll machine should.

Set it and forget it.

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Vintage Shaftesbury Electrics

Posted on September 15, 2014

Plundering our vintage vault is a favorite activity of ours and today we present to you the spiritual predecessors to our new 34 series.

These electrics played a pivotal role back in the 60’s and 70’s introducing players of all types to a professional level axe without breaking the bank much like we do today.

Here you get the full spec on these bygone beauties that inspired past and future generations.


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Shaftesbury Del Vecchio

Posted on September 09, 2014

This is one of the craziest guitars in our Shaftesbury collection and gets more inquiries than just about any guitar in the shop.

This is a seventies Shaftesbury Del Vecchio replica based on the Brazilian Dinâmico model resonator guitar manufactered in Sao Paulo in the 1930’s.

This bizzare beast is the only resonator ever to be strung with nylon strings. Chet Adkins was an early user of the Dinâmico after hearing it’s beautifully bizzare tones on the single “Maria Elena” by Brazilian brothers Los Indios Tabajares.

Spiritual descendant and fellow finger-picker extroadinare Doyle Dykes reportedly owns the Shaftesbury version and loves the wild tones he gets from it.


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Shaftesbury Thin line

Posted on September 09, 2014

This early-seventies thinline style Shaftesbury is a favorite of our guys in the shop. She was manufactured in Italy by the legendary EKO factory who was at one time the biggest guitar manufacturer in Europe.

They were known for their excellent build quality, playability and artistic style and this Shaftesbury is no exception. This semi-hollow bodied beauty is light as a feather and plays like absolute butter. Though she was inspired by the Telecaster Thinline she is far more elegant than her brown, brutish, bluesy American cousin.

With great sounding low-output Dearmond style pickups that smoke from an ashtray bridge cover and classy f-hole in the body she is truly the beautiful little sister in the Shaftesbury family who has to be seen and heard to believe.


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Rose Morris 1970 Catalogue Featuring the 3261, 3262 and 3263

Posted on August 26, 2014

In tandem with our previous Shaftesbury Rickenbacker post, we submit the full profile straight from the vintage 1970 catalogue.

This classy trio of Ricky inspired Italian guitars represent the most sought after of the vintage Shaftesbury due to their style, playability and rarity.

Back then they could be yours for a whopping 65 pounds!!


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Shaftesbury Western Acoustics

Posted on August 18, 2014

Saddle up partner. Let’s see if you got the gumption to get up on the stage and bring the barn-burner!

Back in the 70’s we brought you the Western series of Shaftesbury acoustics. These fine guitars were a cordial collaboration of spruce, mahogany and rosewood just like they are today. If a six-shooter was not enough you had a whole different kind of Rodeo with the 3168 12-string.

The 3190 and 3191 Jumbo models came with a plush-lined case and were the top market of the Westerns.

These are still kicking around vintage shops and auctions to this day and still sound great after all those years of blood sweat and tears.


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