Has Paul Reed Smith ever spoken about Ed Roman?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by nostang, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. trap

    trap Supporting Member

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    Yep, pretty much my first exposure to boutique brands too. Took so long to load up the pics with dial up though!
    I went to his house-shop in Connecticut. He was a piece of work. The definition of sleaze.
    In retrospect I could have saved a lot of money by just getting a Strat and a DR back then and calling it a day rather than going down the “boutique” rabbit hole.
     
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  2. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    No need to clarify (nor does it really).

    I have the same reaction despite your brotastic connection with him ... a crook is a crook. :idea
     
  3. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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    I would go to the Danbury Store by the lake often, two or three times a month, at least, usually on Saturday mornings. This was the early to mid 90s.

    I was gigging frequently, used to buy all my strings, cables, picks, etc. Somewhere I have an old "Backstage Pass" from that era, got good discounts..

    I saw Ed "in action" many times over those years, he was tough on customers, staff, sales reps, UPS guys. He suffered no fools, ran the store with a "my way or the highway" attitude.

    He always treated me fairly, always noted that I spent every time I would go there, even if it was picks or strings.

    He hipped me to a lot of "up and coming" luthiers, I played the PRS Dragon he had behind the glass for years, played a few really sweet vintage guitars he kept around.

    He really sold a lot of PRS guitars then, he always had the best tops, tons of color variety. He had Les Pauls and Fenders too, but he really pushed PRS.

    When it was time for a new electric, I went to East Coast and saw Ed. I was on a Les Paul "kick", but he gave me a few PRS to check out, I liked the CE24s I played. I had a really sweet Fender Strat Ultra, Ed had gobs of Vintage Sunburst PRS CE24s. He gave me a really good trade in value on the Strat ($150 more than I paid for it), and gave me a great cash price on the CE24 in Vintage Sunburst. I plunked down the equivalent of $1050 for that brand new PRS, the most I had ever spent on a guitar. I pulled out a wad of cash, handed him the strat and the deal was done.

    "That's how you buy a guitar" he proclaimed to anyone who was within earshot. I played that PRS for years...

    I got closer to the "inner circle" as a result. Ed took me back to the shop where Barry was building all types of stuff. Retopped Les Pauls, BC Rich's, prototypes of the ER guitars. The Fender Strat that I traded him sat on his wall for months, he would chide me for trading him an "unsellable" guitar every time I went there, always with a wink and a smile after...

    I met his wife, and held their newborn daughter...

    I eventually got married, stopped playing in bands when the kids came. I would still stop by ECMM from time to time, but things changed. Not too many PRSs around, a few of his staff were gone, Ed was not around much.

    I did see him at a club in Danbury one night, Ritchie Scarlett or Ace Frehely was playing Tuxedo Junction. We were online, Ed walks right into the place, causing a huge scene. Ed got loud and shouted at the doorman, "do you know who I am" kind of stuff. He saw me out of the corner of his eye, smiled and winked at me, and then continued to hem and haw at the security guards, who eventually relented...

    He then sold off ECMM and moved out to Vegas. I think Ed's wife's family was very well off, so Ed's retail operation was gravy for him, which would explain his attitude and how he alienated a lot of people in the industry..
     
  4. CharAznable

    CharAznable Member

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    I met Paul once and he struck me as the sort of shy nerd that might appear aloof until you bring up the subject of his passion. Which is pretty much how I am.

    Ed Roman, well, I used to look at his website for entertainment back in the day, but even before hearing the stories I knew that wasn't a guy I would like to do business with.
     
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  5. boog204

    boog204 Supporting Member

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    I certainly do not have inside intel like many of you, but I greatly enjoyed Ed's rants (some even made some sense), that amazing website that took forever to load on dial-up, and the fact that I learned of Baker and Mcinturff guitars from the website; two guitars that I will be buried with.

    I know Ed and Terry Mcinturff had a ridiculous falling out where Roman pumped up TCMs as the best boutique make on the market and then demanded that Terry make specific changes. Terry refused and then Ed turned on TCMs and recommended other guitars instead. Pretty lame.

    I did play one of Ed's "Pearlcaster" strats once and it was quite nice.
     
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  6. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Ah, the old days when you could be a really confrontational guy and get away with it (before video). It reminds me a lot of Zachary guitars-opinionated, critical, even a bully... But kinda fun to listen to the unhinged rants.
     
  7. Agramal

    Agramal Member

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    Never heard of Jaros. I remember there were lots of horror threads about Quicksilver QC and Roman shenanigans...seems that maker went out of business?
     
  8. captwillard

    captwillard Member

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    I just want nice guitars for a good price! I could care less about talking to the builder/company owner.
     
  9. 54GT

    54GT Silver Supporting Member

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    I discovered East Coast soon after I moved to CT from NYC and was amazed that you could find all these great toys in the burbs. To give the devil his due, Ed introduced me to G&L (still have that first ASAT), and I eventually bought a PRS Hollowbody (sold that one) from him when he was doing his home store. And Barry and Chris T. were great luthiers/techs. As long as you knew who and what you were dealing with, Ed was very entertaining.
     
  10. griggsterr

    griggsterr Supporting Member

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    I happened upon this old thread just cruising new posts. I met Ed back in maybe 2010? He didn't look good then. Not good at all. when guitar on the internet was just getting started he had a lot of traffic on his site. I used to visit it regularly. He was a Fender basher too. He did a whole expose if you would on the swimming pool route that Fender did back in the 90s. I assume to make production and wiring easier. Claimed that taking wood out of the guitar robbed it of it's tone. It seemed funny and still seems funny that if you put an F hole or chamber a guitar, it's magic, but if you intentionally weight relieve or route under the pickguard it's curtains for tone. Good times.
     
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  11. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes, unfortunately the story Ive quoted is accurate.
    You see, when TCM "phase one" came to market out of the blue in 1997 Ed was a major presence on the Internet and one must give him credit for establishing such a strong presence in what was then still new guitar marketing territory. It wasn't all that long before then when the local Gibson dealer told me "Hey! Gibson has a website!" and it was a big deal! Ed was on the cutting-edge in that regard.

    I had not heard of him yet at the first NAMM show we exhibited at in 1997. Those were the days! We took 80-90 orders from all over the place. I didn't even have the facility, full compliment of machines, jigs and staff yet (we had displayed in order to test the waters) and so it was pretty wild. Ed placed an order for 6-8 guitars at the show. He talked about East Coast Music Mall, a place I'd visited a couple of times and liked so, that was all it took.

    When we returned home I checked his website and thought "uh-oh, I admire his flamboyance, there's some good writing here too, but the general tone does not mesh well with my personality nor of TCM guitar's personality. I'll have to see how this goes".

    Ed sold his initial order very very quickly and called to re-order; he had also "waxed poetic" about TCM on his website, IMO excessively so; human nature 101 dictates that sort of personality can quickly swing exactly the opposite direction, and so it came to pass.

    Ed wanted me to make some changes to a couple of my models, so as to make them unique to his firm. In the kindest most professional way I explained why I couldn't do that ..one change would have resulted in a guitar I wouldn't have liked (I didn't mention that of course), would have required plenty of new jigs and fixtures, and would have complicated production at the fledgling TCM greatly.

    Well, very quickly TCM drew plenty, plenty of fire on his website and so obviously the experiment was over. Interestingly and fortunately, his negative TCM rants had no impact on sales that I could tell. Of course, I never spoke to him nor to others in the industry about this situation. I let it go.

    Then he called me out of the blue a few years later and passed along some information to me that was very helpful. It really was a kind favor.

    I certainly hope that his spirit rests in peace, and that his loved ones are happy and healthy. Ed was certainly one of a kind.
     
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  12. Dr Doom

    Dr Doom Member

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    I called him in 2011 about selling him a celebrity owned guitar I was thinking of letting go of. First call was pretty straightforward, but our next call to further discuss was so over the top loony that my jaw hit the floor. I dodged a bullet by not sending the guitar to him after the first call. I'd probably still be in litigation with his family/estate trying to get it back
     
  13. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Ed sold me my first Artist 3 semi hollow trem.
    From what I had heard I was almost afraid to buy from him. He said the guitar was as new, not dead mint, and that it may be the most resonant PRS he ever played. I bought it, was nervous as anything until it arrived. I opened the case not knowing what to expect.....and it was brand new, just as Ed claimed. Then I strummed it....it was the most resonant PRS I had ever played. Just as he had said....but then I realized it was in a normal PRS case, not the Artist leather....so I called him. He said the guys in the back must have pulled the wrong case by mistake....no problem. He would ship the right one out immediately, which he did, and I could keep the dead mint normal case anyway.

    :beer


    RIP ED.
     
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  14. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Adding...I met PRS himself twice. Once when buying a PS, and once on a major complaint.
    Both times he was personable, open, honest as he could possibly have been, and did right by me both times.
    :beer
     
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  15. Mixman

    Mixman Member

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    I guess ultimately this goes to show that these guys are probably the last of the true larger than life personalities that drove the business. Ed on the retail end and Paul on the manufacturing end. As is apparent here there are many stories about both. I just think in the future there will be a lot more nameless people in the background as the landscape has shifted to more online and retail chain stores backed by corporate entities. Also the new "characters" are now YouTube ones, but somehow I think most of what we will know about them will only be their online persona, rather than their true selves which we would normally get to know via their more frequent interactions with us.
     
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  16. bojocatkite

    bojocatkite Member

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    Nice of you Terry to have taken the high road.

    Why did PRS changed their heel, was it to avoid some dead spots that were present on their earlier guitars ?
    I think you talk about this issue (not related to PRS) somewhere, like the link between dead spots and double cut Les Paul Special vs a single cut but I can't find this post and can't recall what you said :)

    Also, we nearly got a TV Show with Ed Roman, the pilot is still on Youtube:

     
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  17. GreatGreen

    GreatGreen Member

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    I spoke to Ed Roman on the phone one time. One time.

    I called as an enthusiastic guitar player with money to spend, and trying not to come on too strong I told him I was impressed with his website and collection of guitars, despite him literally answering the phone by flatly saying "What do you want." and then silently waiting for me to say something.

    He was as big of an asshole in that 3 minute phone call as any single person I've ever spoken to in any professional capacity.
     
  18. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Silver Supporting Member

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    Back in the day after he left ECMM, I used to hang out at Ed's home just outside of Danbury. Others who have visited will note how crazy it was. Guitars in every room. There was the main home and then down below another building he used to store most of the offerings. Quite a character. From my experience with Ed, if you knew about guitars and could hold your own with him for more than 10 minutes, you earned his respect and he'd cut you a fair deal. He never really liked the tire kickers and had difficulty dealing with those who had to be "convinced" to buy an instrument as opposed to someone who would walk in and know exactly what they wanted. Ed got me interested in Warrior guitars when they were a fledgling up and comer.

    I also scored a few Roscoes from him after Keith sold him a lot of necks and bodies. Ed had to do something with those and decided to create 25-inch scale necks to mate with Keith's leftover bodies (a few marbles) and rebranded them "J Frog" guitars. Barry was still the main luthier at the time. Ed loved his boutique builds and absolutely loathed the big two. As another pointed out, if you have a late 90's BC Rich Mockingbird with an unusually figured top, there stands the possibility it's one of his creations. Ed got a lot of flack for that and just made it worse when he created the "Rockingbird" which I saw as a simple "FU" to 'em all. The Vegas move was interesting and I never made it out there but I think health issues and the fact that the place was more of a "look but don't touch" museum of sorts didn't help matters any from a sales standpoint. Scored a Rand from Ed along with those Roscoes. Great memories. Sad to say though a lot of tragedy in that family. For whatever he was, I think it can be accurately written that Ed was every bit the character of the era in which he became infamous.

    The 80's and 90's were all about bravado and excess....larger than life characters if you will and well, Roman was all that and more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  19. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

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    Yes, I think his daughter Lindsay was found dead in the desert.

    She was the one running Roman after he died, IIRC.

    Is Roman even still in business? They have a web page but I havent heard of anyone
    doing business with them in years.

    And if so who is running it?
     
  20. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Member

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    I lived in Brookfied up until 1996. Were you there during the Ritchie Scarlet days?
    ECMM was like no place I've ever been. One of a kind.
     

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