...and it's high time for a fresh blog, and what better way than discussing what's so good about the new Roland FP-30 compared to the outgoing F-20?
For starters it's sleeker..with more buttons (the F-20 is mainly sub-menu, ie finicky) and weighs a whole lot less!
By the by, the new iPhone 4S is the first mobile to have Bluetooth 4.0, and the FP-30 is the first digital piano to have it! Another more useful addition being 5 types of keyboard touch plus escapement on an 'ivory' touch keybed. At a £450-ish price point Roland should clean up!
It doesn't get any easier for the modern day musician to make a living. Record companies pay less, rent goes up and yet the endless quest for that perfect tone never ceases. Here at Rose Morris, we are gigging musicians and we understand it can be hard to get exactly what you want and balance the budget. However, there are plenty of hidden gems out there that will get you the tone you seek. Here are our must have bits of gear for your perfect blues rig, all coming in at under £500.
Straight off the bat you need an axe that can handle anything but doesn't break the bank. Classic blues players like BB King and Larry Carlton relied on their trusty Gibson ES-335 (345 in BB's case) to get the job done. It's pretty hard to pick up a guitar quite like 'Lucile' for under £500, However, the Vintage VSA535 is the ideal solution. Amazingly warm tones thanks to the Wilkinson humbucker pickups are delivered with a resonance that only a semi hollow maple body can bring. A steal at £275, the Vintage can go toe to toe with any of its more pricey counterparts and is the perfect platform to build your blues domination.
This is where things get tricky. If the guitar is the star of the show, then your amp does most of the leg work. You need something sturdy for the road, yet light weight. It needs to nail a killer blues tone, with enough features to be versatile. The Roland Cube may be looked upon as a simple practice amp, but at 40w output packs a big enough punch for any venue. That coupled with an excellent tweed deluxe lead setting, or a Marshall JTM setting if you're more into your woman tone, Makes the Cube 40GX an excellent versatile option that wont break the bank.
Blues music isn't often associated with guitar effects. Most people would rather go straight into an amp than clutter their signal with stomp boxes. However, just ask SRV ( a little tricky now I know) how he got his amazing, abrasive tone. Strat into a Twin via a Tubescreamer. An original 808 is maybe a little pricey for our budget rig. However, the Boss SD-1 is a perfect match. Essentially the same circuit as the Tubescreamer, but with a slightly different clipping stage. The Super Overdrive has less mid range and more aggression and is perfect as a lead boost.
Utilising the slide can add an extra dimension to your playing. Great players like Jack White and Derek Trucks play amazing lead with slide. This simple brass slide finishes off your budget blues rig with style.
Well friends, here we are, another exciting year of new products and gear to fuel and enrich our fingers and imaginations. Even though 2016 has just begun, we've had an inside scoop of great products popping up over the course of this week at the NAMM show in California. I won't dwell on the fact that none of us get to bask in the glow of the Californian sunshine, but I'm not saying I wouldn't exchange at least one frosty London morning for the chance to chat about guitars sitting by the pool drinking an ice cold glass of rootbeer.
Never the less, on with the show!
Kermit enjoying the sun at NAMM
What better way to start off the new year than a new series of guitars from one of our favourite acoustic guitar makers.
In the £300-£500 price range, Guild brings over 60 years of innovation and creation into the modern age with their all new solid-top archback acoustics. Producing a sweet and balanced tone, these guitars are as versatile as they are practical. The guitars feature a solid Spruce top and laminate Mahogany back sides, complementing Guild's signature archback, allowing the guitar to have a lush projection and great sustain.
All models in this range are equipped with Guild's own AP-1 pickup, featuring an Indian Rosewood neck and tortoise shell pickguard. Available in the parlour, auditorium, 12 string, and jumbo sizes, these guitars are sure to be a pleasure to play without breaking the bank for that iconic Guild sound!
2015 was certainly a big year for PRS as they celebrated 30 years of integrating modernization and history into one of the most versatile guitars on the market. This year, in an unexpected but much appreciated twist, PRS are bringing back a forgotten gem originally introduced in 1988: a bolt on, satin neck custom 24.
The CE24 is an affordable step into the immense world of PRS guitars, with a classic twist for the player who is looking for that time-honoured feel in a modern instrument. Featuring an on board push-pull coil tap, the guitar allows the player to get a wide range of tones out of the 85/15 pickups. This guitar is perfect for those who want to get that classic fender tweed twang along with gritty gibson-esque meaty tones.
This guitar features a maple top and mahogany body, an indian rosewood neck with a sleek satin back, and classic PRS bird inlays.
ROLAND - EC-10 ELECTRIC CAJON
Roland's unique take on the cajon allows players to enhance their playing with electronic layered sounds is a great addition to the ever changing world of electronic percussion. Even though this is a hybrid cajon, don't fret, the cajon itself sounds great on its own, featuring a spruce top to give you a sharp attack and sustain.
Roland takes advantage of the world's most popular portable drum and gives it a new life for those looking to record and add depth to their playing with the tambourine or djembe settings. The cajon's highly receptive triggers allows the player to access built in cajon sounds, which are particularly useful for getting a fuller, rounder tone. With top mounted sound controls, the player can easily access and control the sounds whilst playing- a real bonus for experimental and gigging musicians everywhere.
With 12 hours of battery life powered by 6 AA batteries, this cajon can withstand long jam sessions or outdoor gigs, which makes it perfect for busking and traveling.
Normally known for their timeless valve amps, Vox is never afraid to bring something new and interesting to the market. The new AV (Analog Valve) series gives players a full array of analogue amplifier sounds via eight analogue pre-amp circuits, featuring a sparkly clean tone and a high- gain gritty tone. These amps give the player complete and intricate control over specific tones and an an easy to use EQ that will get you rockin' in no time!
The valve stage modifies the circuit by adding or reducing brightness and bass response, allowing the player to make specific adjustments to the bias and power section. The amp also features built in reverb, chorus, and delay, giving you a wide array of classic colours to your tone. The amps are available in 15, 30, and 60 watt combos and have 12 AX7 tubes.
ROLAND- BOSS VB-2W
We're really excited that BOSS have finally resurrected this modern classic. The original VB-2 was released in 1982 and discontinued 4 years later. It soon became much sought after, used by alt guitar heroes like Graham Coxon and Nels Cline. Original examples fetch upwards of £300 on the second hand market, making this oddball gem unattainable for the regular player, until now. BOSS have perfectly recreated the original pitch vibrato, which can go from subtle warped vinyl sound to full on watery madness, with an all analog BBD circuit developed by the Waza custom shop in Japan. They have also added a custom mode, with a wider frequency sweep and an optional expression control. This is your chance to own an amazing pedal for half the price of the originals.
VIC FIRTH - KEITH MOON DRUM STICKS
Almost every modern drummer has been influenced by The Who's Keith Moon in some way, either directly or by someone who looked up to him. His unique, aggressive style brought power and speed into the world of rock drumming along with the sense that a drummers personality is as important as their technique.
We stock a large range of Vic Firth signature sticks, representing a wide array of drummer from different styles and backgrounds.
Looking back at 2015, it was quite the innovative and exciting year for gear. With gems such as the Boss SY-300, the Electro Harmonix Cool Vibes and Cock Fight pedals, and the newly revoiced Taylor 6 series, 2015 was certainly an intriguing year for gear.
Here some things we are looking forward to in 2016!
Catalina Chorus - Seymour Duncan
We here at Rose Morris are huge fans of Seymour Duncan pedals, especially after we named the Vapor Trail Analog Delay one of our favourite pedals of the year.
From clean shimmers to swirling lush effects, this pedal will surely meet every player's needs. With delay times from 6 to 60 milliseconds and a 'hard' and 'soft' modes this pedal gives you versatility and full tonal control.
Said to be one of the most dynamic and fluent chorus pedals on the market, it isn't a surprise that we are (not so) patiently waiting to get our hands on the Catalina Chorus!
720 Stereo Looper - Electro Harmonix
If there is one thing we have seen dominate the pedal market this year it would have to be compact looper pedals. We are quite excited that Electro Harmonix will be joining in with the innovative 720 Stereo Looper.
The 720 Stereo Looper has 720 seconds (that's 12 minutes) of stereo looping time, giving you 10 independent loops and infinite overdubbing. With Reverse and 1/2 speed options this pedal definitely brings a new twist to the loop pedal. It also provides extended battery life, which is a bonus if you are looking to busk.
Perhaps the most exciting feature: It also includes a stereo in/out so you can record two instruments at once!
SE 277 Semi-Hollow Soapbar Baritone- PRS
2015 marked the anniversary of 30 years of breakthroughs and innovations for PRS. Boasting a fantastic range of anniversary SE's and Custom 24's, PRS proved that they aren't going to be stopping any time soon, which brings us to one of the guitars we are most excited about in the new year: the 277 Semi-Hollow Soapbar Baritone.
With its 2 P-90 or 'soapbar' pickups, this guitar offers a flexible, muscled, and over-all aggressive tone. The flexibility of this guitar really shines when played clean- with sparkly high ends for lead work and a warm bass tone for those big chords. Tuned B to B, this guitar unlocks a whole new world of chord voicings and tones.
They say it's the thought that counts, but that doesn't stop most of us fantasizing about what an unlimited budget could bring on Christmas morning. Here our Rose Morris staff pick what they'd want to find under their tree if money were no object.
On a recent trip to Chicago I was given the opportunity to try out the newly redesigned 614ce before it arrived over-seas in London, and I must admit, I was very excited about the prospect that we would be stocking this guitar.
The maple back and sides give this guitar a warm, bassy voice, while the spruce top gives you a punchy sparkle on top of it all. It's easy to say the 614ce is one of the most versatile, and unique, acoustic guitars we have in the shop.
As an acoustic kit player, the TD-25KV provides a perfect substitute for the real thing. Every nuance and subtlety is meticulously catered for. Moreover, the vast amount of sounds, kits and instruments are great inspiration for any creative drummer!
120 watts of the most incredible clean tone with a chorus effect to match. The JC-120 just handles all pedals beautifully, goes louder than you ever need to, has a clean and distortion channel with built in effects. I just can't get past this historic beast, everything sounds great on this amp.
If I could have any Piano in the shop, It would have the be the CS10. Everything about it just feels amazing. The action on the keys and the finishing are fantastic. Most importantly, the quality of the sound keeps me sat at the keys for hours on end, I cant stop playing!
We got a sneak preview of this pedal earlier in the year and I was pretty sceptical. However, I was instantly blown away by how much you could do with this pedal.
The blender function means there's an almost infinite amount of cool sounds on tap and the ease with which you can control the different functions make this a really fun and creative experience. There's nothing quite like it.
With Christmas just around the corner, now is the best time to grab that perfect gift! From sticks and pads to full blown kits, we have a great range of accessories and instruments to suit every drummer's needs! Here are our top stocking fillers for Drummers
The American Classic 5A has long been one of the world’s most popular drumstick models. Great for all types of players and styles!
The American Classic line combines tradition and Vic Firth style. With bold designs, the Classics are turned from select hickory — a dense wood with little flex for a more pronounced sound. Hickory is also capable of withstanding a great deal of shock, making it highly durable. The tips are deeply back-cut for intensified cymbal response.
The Clip-Hit is a new electric drum kit that's ideal for practice at home or for casual playing. Attach the clips with their internal sensor to a magazine, desk, or almost any surface, transforming it into a snare, hi-hat or cymbal.
You can also attach these clips to practice pads, using them to play drums or any of the programmed EFX sounds that include dog sounds, cat sounds and hand clapping. Clip-Hit will breathe new life into your drum practice, and is a great way to enhance your experience and creativity.
The world's most highly acclaimed resonance control device ever designed, is effective, simple and versatile.When only the most effective means of controlling a percussion instrument's sound will do, percussionists turn to the Moongel Damper Pad.
The self-adhesive gel sticks to the surface of drums, cymbals, and most percussion instruments.
This time of year is a great time to pick up a new instrument. Here are our top picks for the budding rockstar.
Stagg SET-CST - £139
Next to the Strat and the Les Paul, the Telecaster is one of the most iconic guitar shapes of all time. This guitar is great for a number of styles of music, from country, pop, and indie. If you're looking for a something a little bit different for your first guitar, then this is the one for you!
PRS SE Standard 24 - £399
Praised by a number of modern rock players and session musicians, this guitar is a true work-horse for the musician who wants a guitar that does it all.
One of our favourite features of the guitar is it's coil-tap pick-ups. Even though the guitar is fitted with humbuckers, with a flick of the tone knob you can split the coils, allowing you to switch to a single-coil pickup. With a flick of the switch you can go from sounding like Jimmy Hendrix to Jimmy Page in a matter of seconds.
LTD EC-10 - £179
LTD is a brand that is known for making guitars that rock, and this guitar is nothing short of that. This is the perfect guitar for anyone who is into rock and heavy metal. Powerful, high output pickups deliver massive tones, pair this up with a great distortion pedal and rock out!
Stagg SES50M - £139
The Stratocaster shape is the most iconic guitar of all time. This is a great for the beginner who is unsure of what they are looking for in their first guitar. From blues and rock, and jazz and funk, this comfortable and light-weight guitar is a great starting place.
Yamaha Pacifica - £199
The Yamaha Pacifica has set the standard for the modern beginner guitars. All the guitars on this list are of such a high quality for the price, and this guitar was the reason why. Not resting on its laurels, It's a great guitar for learning a variety of styles on. Boasting both single coil and humbucker pickups, this guitar is great for beginners and pros alike.
Christmas is here again and at Rose Morris, there's plenty of options for the perfect gift. Perhaps you fancy playing guitar with picks adorned with the King's face or you want to look 'metal' and snazzy at the same time with a 'Motorhead' strap. Here are our must have gifts for the guitarist in your life.
Plectrums have a funny knack of vanishing right when you need them most. Some end up down the back of the sofa, others end up in the washing machine, I personally think there is a parallel dimension where they all ship off to, either way this is the perfect way to keep track of the little devils!
It doesn't matter how good you are, every guitarist needs a helping hand with tuning once in a while. There's no better way to keep on top of your pitch than a clip on tuner. There are so many options to choose. from the simple but reliable Stagg CTU to the familiar red Snark tuner. But this stylish and accurate offering from Korg takes the biscuit.
Mostly prevalent with acoustic players, but just as useful for the electric player, A capo is a great way to mix things up and introduce you to various new styles of playing. The G 7th Nashville Capo gives you flexibility with its quick change mechanism and unbeatable string intonation.
This little gadget is a must have for any player. If you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, the pro winder makes restrings a breeze and is compatible with 99% of electric, acoustic and bass guitars. The string clipper and bridge pin remover get the job done all in one.
There are plenty of small gift ideas at Rose Morris this Christmas. Come and see us on Denmark Street and we can help you make someones day!
The Mercury Music Prize shortlist was recently announced, with the winner to be revealed at the end of the month. We here at Rose Morris got to thinking about our own picks for this years album of the year. Here's what we came up with.
Matt: 'Gaz Coombes - Matador' "Supergrass were one of my favourite bands when I was younger, but I think this is Gaz's best work yet. As a songwriter, He's always had a fantastic ear for melody and I love his use of electronic instrumentation. Great fuzz sounds too!"
Kess: 'Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit'
"I love how she mixes cantankerous guitar wails and orderly chaos with real stories from her life. One of my favourite songs on the album, 'Pedestrian at Best' shows just how much power can come from such a small package. Can't wait to see her perform in a few weeks"
Joe: 'Squarepusher - Damogen Furies'
"I think Tom Jenkinson's mastery of energetic breakbeats, glitched samples and disorientating tonalities are still unmatched, especially as all these elements are given life by impeccable timing and glimpses of his virtuosic bass guitar."
Duncan: 'The Main Squeeze - Mind Your Head'
"This was a no brainer for me, these guys are doing such great things and are definitely inspiring me as a musician and in particular, a drummer. This album has a raw edge to it, which coupled with the amazing funk riffs, beats and melodies makes for a great listen!
Sam: 'Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss'
"Chelsea is constantly pushing the boundaries with each release, but I think this is her most accomplished record to date. From fuzzy wall of noise jams to minimal ethereal guitar and vocal pieces. I can't stop listening to this album and hearing something new each time!"
Ian: 'Turnover - Peripheral Vision'
"I love how you can get lost in this album. Ambient ringing guitar tones mixed with melodic vocal harmonies give it an almost trance-like state all the way through. They've experimented with more 80’s-inspired sounds, but I think they still managed to create something that sounds fresh."
Jordan- The Weeknd 'The Beauty Behind Madness'
"I absolutely loved this album when it came out and I still go back to it all the time!
The Weekend is an amazing talent and a great asset to the commercial music scene.
The production on "Beauty Behind The Madness" is amazing. The sound is really original and whenever i fancy listening to that type of thing I cant think of anything else I would rather listen too.
I was recently invited to Paris to check out the latest HP/LX range from Roland and at the same time enjoy the best that french cuisine can offer, aboard a swish luxury cruiser lazily drifting along the Seine, and I have to say the food was as good as the new range, from the HP603 through to the LX-7 and rising to the flagship LX-17.
All the models sport the new action with the wood key finish which is by far their best action yet, and if I had been wearing a hat, I’d have raised it to yet another milestone achieved by Roland. There’s also a great new feature called ‘limitless’ polyphony, also some new bluetooth features, and my personal favourite.. the piano powers up as you lift the lid to play it!