There are no new stories, we sometimes say around the newsroom. There are only new journalists.
One of those chestnuts is the Keith Roscoe story, which I believe I first covered in 2001 for a slick, pay-to-play monthly into which I tried to sneak some genuine literary content.
Roscoe made guitars back then, as he does now — possibly the finest basses in the world with custom finishing and solid wood bodies for a deep, strong low end.
Taylor Swift’s bassist has one, as does Bruno Mars’ and the guy from Florida-Georgia Line.
The business hasn’t changed much since he moved from his repair shop on Tate Street to the non-descript workshop in downtown Greensboro 20 years ago, the one without the sign out front, because Roscoe didn’t want a bunch of guitar kids hanging around. And now he’s moving again.
The new space, he says, is three times the size of this one. And the old place, near the newer apartments on the north end of downtown, will have a new life.
“We, for quite a while, have been selling a fair amount more guitars than we’re making,” he says. “We’ve been playing catch-up. And at some point you realize you’re never gonna catch up.”
An increase in capacity was in order.
He’s moving around the old shop now with his glasses sliding down his nose and covered in sawdust, like a rock-and-roll Geppetto. He shows how he used to set the strings — with an old, battered template that held the neck — and says that now a computerized machine in the new space, as big as a phone booth, finishes the whole job with better accuracy than was even possible back on Tate Street.
There are no new stories. There are only new journalists.
The Plek machine is a six-figure item, daunting even for a man who’s been in business as long as Roscoe has.
“I’ll be 90 years old when I make the last payment on that machine,” he says.
The transition has already begun — the Plek is up and running in the new space, and has already honed Mantras’ bassist Bryan Tyndall’s machine to perfection.
It will take a few months, Roscoe says, before the move is done.
“I’m a person of habit,” he says. “But when I change, I do it and don’t look back at all.”
But in the new space, near the Greensboro Coliseum, he says, “I’ll probably put up a sign.”