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The Elusive Shaftesbury 1020 Prototype

Posted on August 11, 2014

Sometimes you can’t rely on a vintage collection or catalogues to achieve a complete scope on a brand like Shaftesbury. Just like today, we have been a forward-thinking brand with an all-encompassing ethos. We have always catered to all styles of musician and sometimes one-offs or a special line of guitars is commissioned to suite the needs of a specific audience. This has yielded some of the most collectable and rare Shaftesbury instruments out there such as the Ned Callan or Del Vecchio.

In this case a gentleman by the name of Nick Clyne submitted a query about a rare Shaftesbury (model 1020) he purchased in Chalk Farm in 1972. The dealer told him it was one of six prototypes of it’s kind and never made it into full production. This is great news for us as we are absolutely thrilled to add a new Shafty to our dossier of defunct diamonds in the rough.

This is an amazingly handsome gypsy-jazz gentlemen’s instrument with a distinct Django feel to it. Sporting an ebony fretboard, spruce top, rosewood back and sides, trademark Shaftesbury ‘S’ that slithers in to the oval sound-hole and a bridge that is as dark, straight and distinguished as the Rheinhartian mustache itself, this is truly one of the rarest Shaftesbury guitars we have ever encountered. If someone has one of the other six prototypes, we would love to hear your story.

 

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John Grey & Sons Archtop

Posted on August 11, 2014

This beautiful and very rare archtop acoustic has been brought to our attention by it’s owner, Bart Phillipe.

Stamped with the makers mark ‘John Grey and Sons’, and the serial number 6240, this jazz master has been lovingly restored and by all accounts, sounds amazing!

John Grey and Sons was established in 1832 and became known for high-quality banjos, guitars and drums.  It was bought by Rose Morris in 1928.

I think you’ll agree, Bart has done a great job in restoring it to it’s former glory.

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Bill Wyman With Shaftesbury Bass Wembley Rehearsal Studios 1968

Posted on August 11, 2014

Here we have a rare shot of Bill Wyman tuning up a Shaftesbury ricky-style bass at Wembley Rehearsal Studios in 1968. He had a penchant for hollow bodied basses with slim necks and usually favored his famous Framus Star model bass. However this shot clearly shows him holding a Shaftebury model. You can tell by the headstock shape and lack of sharkfin inlay that would have been on a Rickenbacher. Good choice Mr. Wyman.

 

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Steve Hackett’s Duo Fuzz

Posted on August 11, 2014

In this great overhead shot we get a glimpse into the sonic arsenal of the amazing Steve Hackett of Genesis. He is one of the most influential guitarists to ever come out of London and a pioneer of two handed tapping, sweep arpeggios and wild experimental effect application.

His influence is clearly present later on in the 70’s with Eddie Van Halen and into the eighties with Yngwie Malmsteen.

During the Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot years one of his weapons of choice was the mighty Shaftesbury Duo Fuzz that you can clearly see here with it’s oblong box enclosure and parallelogram faceplate.

The Duo Fuzz’s characteristic octave-up/fuzzed out madness is all over these early Genesis albums and clearly wielded by a master who was way ahead of his time. If only someone would reissue this beast of a pedal...

 

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Pete Townshend's Rickenbackers

Posted on July 21, 2014

Early in Pete’s career, Rickenbackers were the guitars to have. The British Invasion was led using Rickenbackers (with the Beatles and, in America, the Byrds, being probably the most renowned users of Ricks).

Not only were Ricks his first persistent stage guitar, they helped define the early Who recordings, from I Can’t Explain, Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (both likely using the 1964 360/12 “Export” pictured below) and My Generation (a Rose Morris 1998), into the second LP.

Pete used (and abused) various Rickenbacker models, which were imported by Rose Morris. These models were export variations on their American counterparts.

His first purchase of a Rickenbacker was likely a Rose Morris 1998 model in early 1964, either directly from Rose Morris or from Jim Marshall’s music shop in Uxbridge Road, Hanwell, West London. This 1998 was fitted — either when purchased or later by Pete — with a Gibson ES-175 “zig-zag” tailpiece. His second was a 360/12 “Export,” from Jim Marshall’s.

 

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Scott Gorham and his Rose Morris Marshalls

Posted on July 21, 2014

Anybody that knows anything about vintage instruments knows that Rose Morris was the first to distribute many of the biggest names in the business. Marshall was perhaps the single biggest name in musical instruments at the time and endorsed by countless touring pro musicians. Anyone who has felt the wind on their back while belting out powerchords to a hungry crowd knows that it is possibly the most euphoric sensation to be had and Marshall was the first to offer this experience with their invention of the stack. In this advert Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy gives his testament to the reliability and tone of the mighty JMP 50w that was his workhorse both live and in the studio throughout their classic 70's period. We are honored to have had a hand in introducing the Father of Loud's uncanny inventions to the world and tip our hat to one of the architects of modern music.

 

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Pete Townshend and His Rose Morris Rickenbacker

Posted on July 21, 2014

Pete Townshend. Where do we even begin? The windmill wizard who helped bring us the Marshall stack and spoke for so many generations. Perhaps no one has physically embodied Rock n' Roll and laid down so many lines that were not laid before this fiery frontman/guitarist. Combining the primal menace of Link Wray and melodic sense of Hank Marvin he created a guitar style that was as much physical as it was sonic that utilised feedback, powerchords and plenty of emotion. In this iconic image we see him thrashing on his favoured "chord machine" the Rose Morris Rickenbacker model 1993. They differed from the American counter-parts to appeal to British taste. These export models ditched the stereo inputs and replaced the scimitar sound-hole with a more traditional f-hole. The fretboards also sported dot inlays as opposed to the shark fin style used on the American Ricky's. In this shot you can also see the early Marshall Plexi's behind him that no doubt provided the wind for his trademark strumming style. We at Rose Morris are very proud of our heritage and the sixties were such a pivotal point for us when we helped usher in these now iconic brands.

 

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Vintage Korg Synthesiser From Rose Morris

Posted on July 21, 2014

In the days of midi controllers and DAW's where you have emulations of classic sounds spoon-fed to you we often forget that these programs used to be actual instruments that you interacted with directly using knobs, sliders and your fingers. For those of you who have played a vintage analogue synth you know that it is really hard to replace that certain magic of interacting with an actual unit that was designed to be physically controlled by the user. You feel as though you are the captain of a sonic spaceship that interacts directly with your body as you turn the knobs, tweak the sliders and hear the wonderful sound of electricity flowing through the different tributaries of the circuits. The downside to these wonderful instruments were the sheer complexity of manufacture and engineering insured that you had to practically re-mortgage your home to by one and they could be quite fragile with all those components being constantly twisted and adjusted. Korg was one of the first manufacturers to bring this wonderful new world of sound to the working musician in a portable, reliable and affordable package and just like so many other iconic brands they were introduced and distributed by Rose Morris.

 

Fortunately some things never change. You can still walk in to Rose Morris Pianos at No.10, Denmark St. in London and pick up the latest synthesiser from Korg.

 

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Ovation Breadwinner

Posted on July 21, 2014

In this 1975 Rose Morris catalogue we find a truly unique and groundbreaking instrument. The Ovation breadwinner with it's futuristic body shape might be jarring at first glance, but once you play one you understand that this is not just stylistic, but functional engineering. Ergonomics dictate the visual aesthetic and you are just as comfortable sitting dow as well as standing. Interestingly enough the Breadwinner was the first guitar to feature a built-in preamp or active pickups. A unique instrument will always attract a unique artist and the Breadwinner was favored by Robert Smith and can be heard on the incredible Siouxsie and the Banshee's live album Nocturne. Even though he was playing John Mcheoch's parts you can hear that the guitar has a voice all it's own. This was one of the only electric models Ovation produced over the years and like so many other legendary brands it was introduced by Rose Morris.

 

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Classic Clientele

Posted on July 21, 2014

In this rocking Rose Morris/Marshall advert from 1967 you can see some customers of ours you may recognize. That was one of those years when the planets aligned and a synergy of technology, culture and art just exploded and rule books were tossed out the window. Suddenly musicians could express themselves without the confines of hit singles and two minute bubblegum hooks. The album as a whole was the medium giving guitar players room to experiment and give the lead singer a run for his money. London was ground zero for this phenomenon as a technological renaissance was taking place ushering in the stack as a back-line and pedals at your feet to sculpt your sonic footprint. We at Rose Morris sometimes have to pinch ourselves to wake up from these daydreams of past pinnacles and be ready to supply the soldiers of the next musical revolution...

 

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