From a “folky finger-picking hippie” doing a PHD in animal behaviour Roger started his guitar and bass boutique from humble beginnings and has since built his business and reputation to being one of the industry’s master craftsmen. His instruments can be seen in the hands of some of the top names in the community such as Tal Wilkenfeld, Darryl Jones, and Marcus Miller. With names like these, we had to go and see first hand what attracted these guys to using these instruments.
For the car lovers out there this documentary was akin to being given a guided tour of the Marenello Factory by Enzo Ferrari himself, whilst getting a complete insight into the history of the company, the step by step process of a car assembly and then finally company’s inner secrets on how they set up their motoring masterpieces. Though Roger stopped short of wearing a pair of those infamous sun glasses his craftsmanship, instrument finish and impeccable attention to detail would have had the Ferrari family looking on in approval.
Roger is a very hands on sort of guy, you won’t see him sitting in an office with feet on the desk drinking coffee and chowing down doughnuts. Instead he is on the shop floor working, advising and ensuring that each instrument that goes out the door meets his high standards. He was only too happy to share the wealth of information that he has accumulated over his many years of instrument building and repairing.
Whilst Roger shared everything from string height to full body v chambered body instruments and everything in between, two of the biggest things I took from our time with him were:
• his openness and willingness to share his knowledge and
• his courage to leave behind the safe shores of a PHD in Animal Behaviour and pursue his dream of becoming an instrument builder.
The price tags don’t fully reflect the work that goes into one of these instruments but if you are interested in seeing first hand how these are built and to learn a few trade secrets on bass set up you can check out our documentary with him at www.behindthenotes.com.