Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

A day in the Roscoe shop...get comfy.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matt Morgan, Aug 11, 2004.


  1. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Since I live relatively close (4+ hours) to Greensboro and I'm seriously considering upgrading to two custom SKB3006 basses (fretted and fretless), I thought I'd make an appointment and do some wood selection with Mr. Roscoe in his shop. It was a great visit and totally worth the drive.
    I arrived and was greeted right away by Keith himself and he spent the next 5 hours showing me the entire shop, meeting the staff, and looking through more lumber than I can recall at the moment. My head is still swimming! It was a real education.
    The shop itself is very impressive. Everything is done by hand and the quality of the work is hard to describe. Every piece I looked at (finished or in the works) was just jaw dropping. If Keith doesn't have it, it ain't out there. Woods from Africa, Central and South America, all over the U.S., quilts, burls, flames, sapwoods, species that I've never heard of were all over his shop in various states of finish. Just the fingerboard varieties he has were fantastic. Sapwood purpleheart, birdseye maple, katalox, Panamanian rosewoods, etc. plus a variety of ebonies (which I was surprised to learn he didn't particularly care for - a little less stable a wood than he prefers) and of course the diamondwood laminate. Any type of color variations, spalting, etc. you could think of.
    Body woods were the Roscoe usuals of mahogany, ash and spanish cedar as well as a variety of solid body pieces (myrtle, maples, etc.). Top woods went on forever and I didn't get a look at probably half of the tops that were there. The wood selection was honestly more than I could handle in one day. It was mentally exhausting.
    I did manage to pick out a burled, birdseye, flame redwood top for a fretless and I'm looking at a couple pieces of absolutely insane quilted maple for a fretted. One piece of quilt is absolutely off the charts, like nothing I've ever seen but it is about 3/4 of an inch too narrow for a 3006 and couldn't be bookmatched. It would have to be fashioned into a three piece top with a small (1 or 2 inch wide) tapering wedge of matching quilt running up the center with the monster quilt on the outboard sides. Most of the "wedge" would be under the bridge and the pups but I'm still not sold on the three piece idea. The other piece I looked at was not quite as nice but was definitely large enough for a thick, knockout bookmatched top. Don't get me wrong, the second piece is still 5A but the smaller piece is just....rediculous. It's going to be a tough choice.
    Mr. Roscoe was open, friendly and so helpful I could hardly believe it. He spent hour after hour showing me around like I was some foriegn dignitary on an official visit. I can't tell you all how impressed and appreciative I was and still am.
    This man is totally focused on putting out a fantastic "piece of art instrument" and helping his customers. Having owned a couple of his instruments 10 years ago, I knew he made good instruments but I had no idea how far his shop has come and the serious quality improvements he's made. I couldn't find a flaw on anything I looked at. He's really focused on quality control and had several pieces that didn't make it through his quality control and were going back in to be reworked.
    I know I'm sounding like a huge Roscoe ad here, but I'm just a regular TBer (no not a Roscoe employee). If anyone has any doubts about his shop and the products that he's putting out, simply give the man a call or do what I did and visit his shop.
    I tried uploading some of the photos I took but they're a little too large. I'd be happy to email photos to anyone who'd like a look at his shop and some of the things he has waiting in the wings.
    Thanks for reading. I hope I answered some questions for a few folks anyway.
     
  2. rusty

    rusty

    Mar 29, 2004
    Singapore
    Wow... sounds like you had lotsa fun :) Pics please!! :D
     
  3. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    a man after my own heart- i thought i was the only one who drove hours and miles to look at wood !
    got your email, bro! and will hit you back in a minute- peace, Adrian
     
  4. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I'd love to post some pics but they're just too big, my limit is 150kb and the pics run 400+. As I said, I'd be happy to email them to anyone interested. I've got pics of the shop, of some finished tops, some raw woods, and the tops that I picked out.
    Good to hear from you Adrian..you know we've got some business to attend to!

    (sound of bank vault combination lock being spun)

    Thanks.
     
  5. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    show me the wood!!
    you can email me the pics, i wanna see!
    oh, and mail sent! :)
     
  6. Sounds like a very cool shop to visit! Roscoes are amazing.
     
  7. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    mjmorgan,
    I talked to Keith right after you left today (concerning my own search for some smokin' tops) and it sounded like you managed to pick out a pretty nice piece. Congrats! ;)
     
  8. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Adrian, the pics are on the way!
     
  9. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    I've have a LG fretted and SKB fretless Roscoe. A match made in heaven! Personally, you can't go wrong with any of his tops. The last bass I had made I just asked Keith what he thought the best looking burl tops he currently had in stock were. He made a recommendation and I went for it. It's like trying to chose a paint color for a room. Just too many great choices! Reguardless of which top you chose, I'd definetely recommend Spanish Cedar core/Diamondwood FB/Bart 3-band for the fretless though! It just doesn't get any better! :)
     
  10. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    For the fretted I'm going with the Spanish Cedar (still thinking about Ash) exhibition quilt top with either a purple heart sapwood fingerboard (no purple - I know it sounds weird) or birdseye maple.
    For the fretless I'm going with Mahogany body exhibition burl redwood top with a black unlined diamondwood board.
    18v Bartolini 3 way system for electronics on both, diamond wood nuts and hipshot ultralight keys for tuners.
     
  11. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Email me the pics, Ill send you a PM with an email address with no file size limit. Ill resize them and post them up here for ya :)
     
  12. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I'll send you that email right now!
    Thanks again.
     
  13. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I just got off the phone with Adrian at AccessBass and put the money down on the two basses!
    I'll finalize the specs with Keith Roscoe tomorrow and then I'll have to join the "custom bass waiting period support group". I'm betting on about a 5 month build time.
    Gonna be a looooong five months.
     
  14. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Congrats! I envy you for being so close to Keith's shop. I'd love to take a tour, hopefully I will one day. Some years back I toured the Alembic factory, which was a real treat.
    Hang in there. I hope your wait isn't as long as you expect. Luckily for me, my SKB 3006 was in the process of being built when I discovered it at Blueberry Hill Bass. I think my wait was a little over 2 months. Hopefully, I'll be playing it tomorrow night :) .
     
  15. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Sounds like great timing Mr. Poon! Keith said he had a stretch where he didn't ship anything for a couple of months. He's back on track now and has a lot of stuff ready to go out.
    He said the minimum time for mine would be 14-16 weeks but with a little "wiggle room" built in, I'm hoping for around Christmas.
     
  16. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Georgia
    I suppose it won't hurt to be optimistic but if he didn't chose a completed body with a fitted neck I'd put my money on a 5 month wait.............but well worth the wait! ;)
     
  17. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    Everything I looked at was raw lumber! The redwood top was cut but everything else was from his lumber stock.
    Its definitely going to be worth it though!
     
  18. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001

    Good luck with getting your basses this year. I chose my woods from the raw and it is now just over 7 months I've been waiting. It is supposed to be done today but we'll see. But, anyway, I'm sure you'll love them when they're done. Congrats.
     
  19. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I talked to Mr. Roscoe again today and he told me that my instruments will be built in the next batch that he's starting next week. Seriously lucky timing! All the woods I chose were on hand so he said that in about three weeks, the basses will "actually look like something".
    The only decision I have to make yet is what type of fingerboard for the fretted, either sapwood Purpleheart or birdseye maple. Mr. Roscoe is going to send some high res photos of the best examples of each that he has and I'll pick one or the other. Right now, due to its stability and hardness, I'm leaning towards the sapwood Purpleheart.
    A couple TBers have offered to host the pics on some sites so hopefully I'll be able to show the top woods soon.