Roscoe Guitars is an internationally known brand within the bass playing community. Synonymous with quality parts and guitars, Roscoe has built a name for itself delivering some of the finest basses to players all over the world including to Anthony Crawford, Jimmy Haslip, James Cook of Luke Bryan’s band and Tom Beaupre with Florida-Georgia Line.
One has to wonder: how does a company as known and embedded in the bass playing community operate day to day? What is it like to be at Roscoe Guitars?
Roscoe Guitars started in the early 70s by Keith Roscoe in Greensboro, North Carolina. Roscoe’s operation originally started as a guitar repair shop that eventually evolved into a small retail outlet, selling custom guitars and basses. Originally catering to both guitarists and bassists, by the 1990s, Roscoe began to notice a bigger demand for bass repairs and builds, causing Roscoe and the company to shelve 6-string guitar builds and focus entirely on bass guitar. The first models Roscoe began to build around and offer to consumers were the LG and SKB models.
Now, surely there is an extensive team of managers and builders with their own sections of the company to manage and oversee to make sure artists are happy and guitars are getting out the door on time. Right?
Well, not quite.
Roscoe continues to satisfy bass players all around the world because of general manager, Gard Lewis.
Lewis, a guitar player who switched to bass in 1993, began working in the bass guitar sales in Florida. Lewis worked at Bass Central, a bass guitar-only store in Orlando. After 5 years at Bass Central, Lewis decided it was time for a change.
Lewis remembers contacting one person, the one person he wanted to work for: Keith Roscoe. With that phone call, Gard landed the job as Roscoe’s general manager and has been there for 10 years and still going strong.
Being Roscoe Guitars’ general manager is no small order. Lewis handles everything with the company’s sales, artist relations, creating and managing production schedules, getting parts and materials to the shop, quality control, shipping logistics, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, marketing and branding, and trade show appearances of which he is the designated trade show representative of Roscoe Guitars. “When I’m not herding cats, I’m whacking moles”, Gard joked.
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Greensboro, North Carolina
What is Your Current Gig?
Presently, no steady gig, doing fill-ins and sub gigs as they come up; looking for a good steady gig in the area, but not committing to anything unless it’s the RIGHT thing. Most likely, my own thing .
What is One Word That Describes Your Playing?
Describe Your Current Setup and What is Favorite Piece of Gear at the Moment?
Basses: Roscoe Century Standard 5JB fretless; Roscoe Century Standard 5M fretted; NS Design CR5M EUB.
Amps: Eden WT-550 head, Eden D-210 MBX cabinet, Epifani UL-310 Series II, TC Electronics BG250-12 combo
Favorite piece of gear: Roscoe Century Standard 5JB fretless bass aka “The Stormtrooper”, it’s like my other arm– can’t live without it.
What is One Thing You Could Not Live Without?
Oxygen? Seriously – my family (wife, kids, dogs, cats)
What is Your Practice Space Like?
Small room on back of house, shared with dogs – my wife calls it “the dog room”. Has nice big windows so I can look at the woods all around my house, solid walnut floors, very warm and mellow feeling.
What Album are You Currently Listening To?
Paul Simon’s “Graceland” has been in heavy rotation in my headphones – just beautiful stuff, and Bakithi Kumalo is just BAAAAD.
What Book are You Currently Reading?
“The Demon Haunted World” Carl Sagan (probably about the 4th-5th time I’ve read it)
I’d love to see ____ answer these questions.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Probably was when I had a house gig on Bourbon St. in New Orleans, the drummer always talked about how “the music isn’t in the notes we play, it’s in the ones we DON’T play.”
Visit Roscoe Guitars’ website (above) and follow them on Facebook.
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