CARLSBRO SOUND CENTRE of Mansfield are only three miles from the M1 motorway and quite accustomed to having top musicians calling at their new showrooms. Recently Steve Marriott and Justin Hayward were in looking over the quality guitar ranges and each bought a Gibson.
Keith Woodcock, the showroom manager, has noticed quite an upsurge in the sales of quality drum kits and the demand for lighting equipment is increasing.
Personalities calling at the showrooms recently were The Merseybeats, Paper Lace, Alvin Stardust and the Eric Delaney Band. Savoy Brown and Jimmy James and the Vagabonds called in at Carlsbro's Sheffield shop in the Berkeley Precinct.
DANDELION of Huddersfield have the new 'SHOW-BUD' range of pedal steel guitars in from the U.S.A.; other specialist lines featured in their studio are ARP and Minikorg synthesisers. Dandelion also specialise in twin-neck and Ovation round-back guitars.
Recently John Lees bought a Fender Stratocaster and Barclay James Harvest called in to discuss their P.A. System. A Peavey bass stack went out to Be Bop De Luxe after their bass player had been in for a demonstration.
Nick Strut and Billy Clarke are top musicians living locally who buy their equipment from Dixie Kidd at Dandelion. Nick is recording at Look Studios in Denby Dale and Billy is the chief engineer at Box Studios in Heckmondwike, who have a new 16 channel desk.
LESJAY LIMITED of Sheffield have had visits from Roy Wood and Gerry Marsden recently, Greengage, a local band doing recording work at the moment, have been equipping at Lesjay's London Road showrooms. Greengage have a hit record out in France.
Phil Jackson, the general manager at Lesjay's, mentioned that synthesisers were selling quite well now and that there was quite a big demand for the Colorsound Doppletone and Phase 4 effects pedals. On the guitar scene, Gibson and Fender were out in front followed closely by the Antoria range.
Lesjays are able to give an advisory service on large P.A. set-ups and are specialising in Soundcraft and Canary mixers. Eliminator 1 cabinets are popular and selling well to local bands.
MACARIS in Charing Cross Road have found that the market for their Colorsound effects pedal is increasing tremendously. The big favourites are the 'Supaphaze', 'Overdriver', 'Wah-Swell' and Doppletone units.
Compact pianos and synthesisers ate also going well and CSL copy guitars and Yamaha acoustics are very popular with the bands. Amongst famous faces that called at the showrooms recently were Hank Marvin, John Farrow, Jack Bruce and Geordie.
MATTHEWS of Maidstone are experts in sound systems and amplification products and have a separate division, E.S.E. Hire to manufacture and hire out large P.A. set-ups to professional bands. They have P.A. rigs out at the moment Charley Pride, Kool and the Gang, Ohio Players, The Chi-lites, Bill Anderson and Glen Campbell.
MUSIC EQUIPMENT LTD of London, SE5, specialise in good quality second-hand amplifiers and guitars. Ric mentioned that electric pianos were selling well and that disco systems were selling in a big way for home use! We're glad that we don't have his customers as neighbours!
BEN PAGE & SON (SOUND EQUIPMENT) LTD of Doncaster are well known for their range of Sun amplification and speaker products. John Entwhistle was in the shop recently and ordered a Sun combination amplifier. John is also trying a Microfret Husky bass guitar with Sun equipment on stage sometime in the future.
Genesis are also impressed with their six string baritone Microfret bass guitar that they are ordering another.
Ben mentioned that combination amplifiers are hot sellers, especially the Sun solid stage range, £240-£420 approximately, from 50 watts upwards Guitarists are using echo units a great deal now and Genesis bought two Dynachord units and want a further two for instrument use.
ROSE-MORRIS SHOWROOMS in Shaftesbury Avenue were visited by Jack Parnell, Barbi Benton, Cozy Powell and Mike Oldfield recently. Electric piano sales are on the increase and Martin guitars are selling extremely well; Mike Oldfield bought one incidentally.
The new Marshall solid state range is on show which is causing great interest. A lead or bass 100 watt amplifier from the range retails at approximately £143. A very interesting new impact line at the showroom is the Fibes drums which work out at approximately £575 for a five drum kit.
SOUND CENTRE OF CARDIFF are experts in amplification equipment and instruments and find musicians calling in from all over Wales due to their technical service set-up. Personalities calling in at their retail premises at St. John's Square recently were Paul Jones, Wout Steenhuise and the Bandwagon band. Managing Director Roger Jenkins mentioned that they carry a permanent stock of about 40 Gibson and Fender guitars. Small synthesisers have been selling well recently. Sound Centre manufacture their own range of custom built speaker cabinets.
SOUTH EASTERN ENTERTAINMENT of Lewisham are featuring an exciting new import line from Meazzi, the 'Wooding' drum kit. This is a five drum see-through kit and retails around £295. Also in the Meazzi range is a small practice amp retailing at £21 which can be carried on a shoulder strap. Another interesting piece of equipment is the Computer Echo amplifier for guitar or P.A.
Mike Rossi and Alan Lancaster from Status Quo each bought guitars at the shop recently; Mike bought a twin neck Grimshaw double six and Alan a Fender Mustang. Jean Springate from the Glitter Band was also in recently and bought a Fender bass. Tom Jones' backing band called in for accessories and the roadies from T.Rex bought a Clavinet D6.
R.S.D. SYSTEMS LIMITED in London, W8, opened their specialist shop in January and have been visited by many well known professional musicians including Rick Price, Russ Ballard and Ariel Bender. Geordie and Argent are among the bands calling in to discuss matters concerned with P.A. set-ups. R.S.D. specialise in building large professional P.A. systems and also have a hire division. At the moment there are P.A. rigs out on hire to Argent, The Kinks and Babe Ruth.
R.S.D. also manufacture their own unique range of custom built studio consoles known as the Mark I 'S' Range. Simplified versions of these consoles are being made and supplied in flight cases for touring bands.
TONY SAVILLE of Manchester has found that big P.A. set-ups are going well with local bands. This is also reflected in the increase in the demand for combination amplifiers and the decrease in sales for the big traditional stack. On the guitar front Gibson and Fender are selling extremely well and the trend towards phase pedals is very noticeable.
The Alvin Stardust Band, the Doobie Brothers and Tower of Power were all in the shop recently. Rabbit, who have a single out at the moment, and Bosworth, a local band who appeared on the New Faces show in January were also in for equipment.
Comsar sound-to-light sequencers are doing extremely well and combination amplifiers are selling in a big way.
THE FENDER SOUND HOUSE in Tottenham Court Road is the meeting place for many pro musicians. Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, John Farrow and the roadies from Deep Purple are just a few of the personalities that were in the showrooms over the last few weeks. The Bay City Rollers bought a Rogers kit and Roy Wood and Ric Price bought some Fender amplification.
Rod Alexander mentioned that Rhodes pianos were selling well and that there seemed to be an upsurge in sales for electric pianos generally. Combination amplifiers were outselling stacks.
CLAUDE VENET ENTERPRISES at Watford can take anything in their stride from air hostesses to Suzi Quatro. Suzi called in recently with the band and bought three amplifiers and a couple of guitars. Alvin Stardust, The Shadows and Tony Reeves from Greenslade were also in the shop recently.
Claude Venet is a P.A. specialist with an amazing selection of equipment for sale including 15 mixers in stock. They have a fully equipped audio laboratory for testing equipment as well as an acoustic room for rehearsals. Two full-time guitar makers are on the staff and they can tackle any repair or service Job. Sun and Acoustic combination amplifiers are doing very well, and a new phase pedal from Ibanez giving a superb rotor sound was going in a big way with local bands. Suzi Quatro was also using a couple.
WINGS OF BROMLEY are very well known for their stock of high quality secondhand guitars. They are also known as specialists in guitar making and servicing and do work for celebrated artists such as Jeff Beck.
Wings have a phase pedal of their own design currently being used by The Strawbs and Steve HiHage from Gong.
P.A. systems are a specialty with Wings and they have found that the days when a pair of columns would suffice have virtually finished. Another side of their business is the hire department which also specialises in Traynor equipment on hire. Bonaroo, the support band on the Doobies' tour is using a Traynor rig from the company.