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Ed Roman


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Ed Roman's

World Class Guitars

We’re all looking for that Ultimate Music Store, all and forever in search of the Ultimate Bass. Some of us chase this dream forever. Some ‘settle’ on one bass, maybe two. The luckier ones, the ones with a Day Gig (what a joke for a name) and the ones with either an endorsement deal or a Rock Star's income may own 5, 10 or in the case of Ed Roman, proprietor and serious guitar and bass collector, 120 instruments and growing. 

Ed has a name for this illness, this all-consuming hunger, this Search For The One Instrument that will meet all our needs. He calls it G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome). Ed has it bad and he is the first to admit it.  

Originally starting out as a bassplayer, Ed now plays guitar as well. The difference between him and most of us is that his case of G.A.S. has inspired (or driven) him to become a collector and distributor and seller and luthier of not hundreds, but thousands of guitars and basses.  

Ed also has a website, and it ain’t no ordinary site. Easily one of the biggest musical URLs we have run across to date, containing well over 1300 pages, receiving over 50,000 hits a day, he wagers it would take literally days or even weeks to work through all that is presented there. Not all of us have the time to do this, or the modems to download hundreds of pictures, so he also has a list of the top ten most visited and popular sites available on his front page to speed things up a bit.

On top of all this, Ed also has a wicked sense of humor that is shown throughout the site. Little anecdotes, stories and histories, all of it making for some pretty fascinating reading. Much of his humor is born from the endless frustrations of trying to run a huge business efficiently while refusing to allow valuable time and resources to be wasted.  

His response to the bane of his existence: Stupidity, is hilarious and woven throughout the site. From his complete lack of use for answering machines and e-mail ports, his frustration with inferior and illegal copies of classic guitars being pawned off as authentic, his words make captivating and informative reading, even if you aren’t presently in the market to deal with your G.A.S. situation.  

We have included in this article a number of photos taken directly from his site, (with his permission~a very good thing to get) to give you an idea of some of the services he offers. From custom paint jobs, to custom pickguards, to custom pretty well everything and anything. From 15 string monster basses to 4 string classics, collectable all.  

His repair shop is second to none and his inlay department, he says is run by one of the finest inlay artists he has ever seen, much less employed. On top of all of this, he has his own line of instruments, culminating all he has learned over the years.  

He also offers a creative idea in instruments that will have you considering how much you could get for your house on the market today. A brilliant idea that has him offering you a whole line of instruments in one block package. Add on top of that the unique idea for fretboard inlays tied into this idea that is totally his own.  

All of this will be covered in the pages to come. So why not hang around for a while? Come join us as we visit one of the BIGGEST music stores we’ve ever seen. Oh, and bring a drool bib. You’re gonna need it! 

Global Bass:  Fifty thousand hits a day must generate a lot of actual business. Needless to say, this is what you do full time? 

Ed Roman: I’m not doing this for the money. Well I am, but that’s not my principal motivation. It doesn’t have to be, because I do so well with it, that it’s not something I have to worry about.  

GB: Because of your passion for it, do you think?

Ed: That has a lot to do with it. People understand when somebody cares. They eventually see through it. The only problem I have is deprogramming people. They come to me, they’re preprogrammed, full of preconceived notions. If I can get 15 minutes with them on the phone, in that 15 minutes I have to turn them around from 15 years of thinking.  

GB:  You say on one of your opening pages that you are not impressed by the Old Guard, that in fact you are bored by it. By this of course, you mean the top four or five manufacturers, that wouldn’t and couldn’t change what they have been doing for up to 50 years. Established product lines that, as you say, people are programmed to always consider first when buying an instrument. 

Ed:  When I make statements (deprogramming) and they’re pretty bold and brash, I can back `em. I can back everything I say. I’ve made mistakes and I’ll make more mistakes. I will be the first to retract them and apologize. I’ll admit I made a mistake, but you can’t move forward without making some mistakes.  The guy who hits the most home runs is also the guy who strikes out the most.  

Ed offers a wide range of custom paint jobs. He also offers the ability to reproduce anything you supply as artwork. Below are a few examples of some of the more exotic and stunning custom paint jobs available on both basses and guitars.


Blue Marble

White Marble










South Seas Island


King Crimson


Simpson Family


Lightning Bolts

Ed Roman respects the small luthier. In fact he expressed a clear wish for any independent guitars makers who see this article to contact him about their product. He is actively and consciously searching for builders of integrity. He says, “ I am always looking for people with new and different idea’s and are not afraid to show `em. I would generally buy almost anything. Even if I personally don’t think it’s gonna sell, I might buy one for my own collection, because it’s different.” He is also a realist and understands that the small manufacturer that manages to become successful

eventually faces the need to mass-produce. He has seen it more than

Cream-one of these was once owned by Jack Bruce

once and says he will see it again.  He feels it is inevitable, but wants to do business with the luthiers that have not yet made that leap. In speaking about one particular luthier that he presently buys from, he sees he can see that the individual is becoming so successful that changes are inevitable. “I just see the writing on the wall. I could see the change. I felt that way for about two years, I could feel it coming. I was in denial, I was in denial and finally I realized, ‘Hey man, the train has come and gone, that train has left the station.” 

GB:  Do I have my numbers right? Do you have a collection of over 120 guitars of your own?

Ed: Personally, hmmm, between 80 and a hundred and twenty.  

GB:  Do you also presently have any kind of storefront operation?

Ed:   By appointment only and that way I keep the riff-raff out.   

GB:  The 13 year old time waster playing “Stairway to Heave” at 11 with a guitar that hasn’t been tuned since it left the factory?

Ed:  Well, we don’t have that problem! We’ve got problems, but not that one!

GB:  You were originally a bassplayer? 

Ed:  I was actually originally a guitar player and I am back to playing guitar in the band I am in now. I’m primarily a singer and I find I can sing a lot better when I play guitar but I basically got forced into playing bass about 20 years ago, because the other guy was a better guitar player than me. Also we wanted to keep it a power trio and I switched to bass. I love to play bass! I really enjoy playing bass. It really makes no difference to me if I play bass or guitar. Currently I am in a 4-piece band and we have a great guitar player and a great bass player but whenever the bass player is off somewhere I will usually play bass. I can fill in but primarily I am still a vocalist.  

GB:   Apparently, you are also in the recording studio? 

Ed: Yeah, I am quite busy. I’ve got 4 CD’s in the process right now. I have fallen asleep at my computer a number of times.  

GB:  On your pages, you refer to your inlay artists as being the very best in the world.  

Ed:  Dave McNaught is the best inlay artist I have ever worked with. He is absolutely the #1 best and he is only 28 years old. He was born the first year I went into business. When I say to him “Where did you learn to do this?”, he doesn’t have an answer. I ask him “Where the hell did you come from? How can you do this?” He’s also the very best painter I have ever worked with. 

Now I don’t know how to actually rate this, but I also have probably the best woodworker I have ever worked with. That man is Ron Blake.  

Ron Blake
Shop Foreman for World Class Guitars

Before he joined World Class Ron worked for Carl Thompson Basses creating for artists such as Stanley Clarke and Les Claypool

In the search to find a suitable person for the job, Ed had to interview over 30 people. He searched for 3 years before he found Ron. Ed thinks so highly of Ron’s work that he guarantees that any repair will never break again. Below are a few examples of before and after repairs.

Below: Five photos from stages in the repair of a badly damaged Warwick. A job Ed Roman is certain most other repair shops couldn’t and wouldn’t even try. Ed also guarantees that when the repair is done, you won’t even be able to see that anything was ever wrong or damaged with the instrument. The customer was so pleased with the repair he ordered a custom inlay job as well.

Ed: You want to see a repair that will make you crazy, I just put it one the web page a couple days ago.  It’s on the BC Rich page. It’s a section called the Amazing BC Rich Repairs. It’s a guitar that literally fell out of an 8-story window.  

GB:  It was from your site that I discovered that Bernie Rico, the creator of BC Rich guitars and basses passed away a short time ago. 

8 string USA BC Rich Bich Bass

Ed:  He was one of my principal influences as a guitar builder. The problems with BC Rich guitars was when he started he built some of the most incredible guitars you ever saw in your life. But he didn’t have the first clue about marketing. In his mind the way to sell guitars was to sell them for a lesser price than somebody else. Of course, that’s the worst thing you could do. 

It was the #1 worst mistake to make, you must always sell your guitars for the most expensive you can and you must promote yourself as being the best by saying you are the most expensive. 

GB:  On your site, you sell a bass that you recommend very highly. The Warrior Bass. All Warrior basses have a theme. I noticed also with your own series of guitars and basses that you have involved a story that is expressed in the inlay on the guitars. Your Crusader Series involves the theme of The Knights of the Round Table.

Ed:  The Crusaders are Warriors that are made for me. A private brand name, the inlay is done by my inlay people. 

GB:  I noticed also that you have a penchant for collecting a whole series of instruments from a manufacturer, for example the BC Rich. 

Ed: I try to buy one of each model. Some people collect colors, some people collect years, I like to collect models.  There’s something I feel very strongly about that I haven’t put up on my site. When you buy a collectable item very rarely does it become collectable.  

GB: And why would that be?

Ed:  Well, because you are paying the premium ahead of time. You’re prepaying for that premium.  

GB:  What you’re saying is you are paying $10,000 dollars for a guitar you think of as collectable, that is actually worth at most $6000 now, in the hopes that in 25 years it may be worth at least $10,000?

Ed:  And at the rate of inflation, that ain’t no deal! For example, PRS is kinda my main whipping boy. I admired them SO much and then when they changed, I just couldn’t…I had a hard time with that one. 

GB: Do you find most of them change invariable at one time or another?

Ed:  Every one of them. Even Dave McNaught will  sooner or later. (Editor: the inlay expert) So will I! I’m building 6 brands of guitars here you know? Seven if you count the basses. I don’t know of anybody else in the industry that builds a product like the J Frog. I build a bass that’s consistent with Alembic and Carl Thompson quality. The bass that I build is called the ‘Roman and Blake’. That’s the latest thing we are doing. Ron Blake is my partner in that. He is my employee in everything else, but he is my partner in that one.  The guy is a genius and I feel he deserves a piece of that.  

GB:  I was looking at picture yesterday from about 25 years ago. I realized at one point that everything and everyone in that picture, except me, was gone.  Does this kind of thing tie in with what you are saying when you say that Blake and MaNaught are wonderful artists and wonderful friends. That you enjoy their company and their expertise NOW… 

Ed:  And being smart enough to take advantage of them NOW is smart. Don’t wait until they become better known because at that point their prices are gonna be higher, Number 1, and Number 2, their quality is not going to be the same.   

GB: And in 20 years, if you’re still doing this, you will have to find another ‘Blake’ and another ‘McNaught’.  

Ed:  Twenty years?!?! We’re talking about 20 months! I do think that McNaught will give me a longer than usual run, I give him 5 years total. It’s already been 2 years.  

We asked Ed if in building his 7 lines of instruments, or in any of the instruments he buys from other luthiers, whether or not he has ever come across an instrument that seemed to be set apart, a cut above the others. An instrument that had a special ‘something’ that couldn’t be measured, but could be felt, could be sensed. Something he thought held a quality that was truly remarkable?

Ed: I don’t want to blow my own horn here, but frankly some of the ones I have been building have been blowing me away. I took 3 guitars home Friday night. We rehearsed with them and I was knocked out.  I also have an `86 PRS that I would put in that category. I know exactly what you are saying. I’ll tell you what though, what is blowing me away though is my Quicksilver’s. They seem to have a personality in two and half weeks. I’ve been building guitars for a long time and I could never say that about my other guitars.  

Ed has a humorous section dedicated to the explanation of why he believes that a guitar made of 200-year-old wood is superior to one made of younger wood. In this section he has a mock conversation with a pseudo-salesman from one of those giant music Super Stores. Just one more location on the site that combines humor with an object lesson. Though the site is predominantly a site for guitars at this point, there is a strong presence in basses. Ed has a strong desire to develop that aspect of the site even more than it is today. As mentioned before he welcomes luthiers to contact him.

A site made up of 1300 pages, with over 2700 instruments made by 400 manufacturers and luthiers.  Easily one of the most incredible sites we have yet come across in terms of sheer site, accessibility, useful information and enjoyment. Tons of photos too. Established luthiers and many you may have never heard of before. When I grow up I’m moving there.


You can reach Ed Roman at:

(203) 746-4995 

His offices are located at: 

155 New Fairfield Road, CT



His website can be found at:

 All photos are taken directly from the site of Ed Roman World Class Guitars with permission.





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