Capital Keyboard Centre
London now has another specialist keyboard shop for the aspiring synthesist to eye up the latest technology, and yet there has been no sign of frantic building work, no time-consuming shopfitting, and above all no soul-destroying search for new premises in Central London.
The solution to the conundrum lies in the re-organisation of the Rose-Morris store at 81 Shaftesbury Avenue. While long established as a music shop specialising in Korg and Roland equipment, the store will increasingly in the future become divided into two parts, the Rose-Morris shop on the ground floor and the Capital Keyboard Centre on the first floor. Rose-Morris like to describe the first floor as "an 'Aladdin's Cave' for the synthesiser player, with more than a hundred synthesisers always in stock", and have made sure not only that much more than the complete Korg and Roland catalogue is there, but also that a wide range of keyboard accessories are available.
Accordingly at the top of the stairs sits a large display of PA and combo amplification, including Laney, Vox and Carlsbro. Many of these amps are suitable for keyboards, but the display really belongs with the guitar department and should find its way downstairs eventually. Rose-Morris have a franchise for the Laney products and manufacture Vox equipment themselves, also importing Ovation, Eko and Guyatone quite apart from their keyboard lines. Clearly the shop intends to offer a wide choice of products both within and outside the range of Rose-Morris specialties.
Manager and keyboard specialist Bernard Jones explained that the shop had to compete with other specialist keyboard centres in London, but felt they could also win out by stocking other equipment such as studio effects, rhythm machines and recording equipment. From an original stock of eighteen keyboards to the opening of the Centre at the end of October 1982, Rose-Morris have always been associated with Korg, Roland and Casio, and even with Teisco in the days when they used the brand name Kawai.
This direct association with individual manufacturers has paid off, for instance in the availability of Korg's EPS-1 piano and SDD 3000 Delay for the opening day some months ahead of their official release on a commercial basis. Another novelty from Korg at the opening ceremony was a giant MS20, one of only four in the world, intended for educational use and hung on the wall complete with its built-in speaker and amplifier.
Among other more conventional keyboards, the Capital Keyboard Centre stocks the best-selling Roland Juno 6, Juno 60 and SH-101, and the flagship Jupiter 8; Teisco's monophonic 601 and 1107 and four-note polyphonic, and old favourites such as the Korg Lambda and Sigma. Additionally there's the Korg MS10, MS20 and Sequencer, and all the useful accessories such as Foot Controllers and Interfaces.
Preset synths such as the Korg Micro Preset are also well represented, as well as a wide range of pianos from Korg's new Symphonic range to Hohner Pianets. All the latest Casio equipment is neatly displayed on multiple stands, while a glass cabinet at the rear of the shop contains much of the studio equipment which helps to make Capital more than just a keyboard centre.
Heavily featured over the next few months will be RSD's Studio 4 products, which Rose-Morris feel will give Teac and Fostex a run for their money. RSD's range includes a rackable 8:4 keyboard mixer and a mixer/cassette multitrack combination claimed to be more flexible than the Portastudio.
Also present are effects such as the MXR Auto Phaser and Flanger, again rack mounting, digital delays, the Amdek range as featured in E&MM, and The Kit together with its percussion accessories. Other percussion includes the TR606 Drumatix, the TR808, and the TB303 Bassline for a little automatic backing.
The future seems bright for Capital. Rose-Morris have a long tradition of supplying prestigious names, from Adamas guitars for Cliff Richard to synthesisers for Jim Davidson and for The Moody Blues and equipment for Status Quo, Dexy's Midnight Runners and The Clash. Business seems good, with twenty SH-101's selling in two days, a turnover of twenty thousand pounds a week around Christmas and further space being cleared for keyboards as fast as possible.
The next phase in the plan is to introduce some form of education scheme running over a few evenings, which without being a full-scale 'synthesiser school' (an idea which has been tried in the past with limited success) will at least provide hands-on experience for only a small cover charge. Bernard Jones and Rob Castle will handle the playing side, while Dave Peterson will deal more with the technical aspects.
With such varied stock and unusual plans for the future, the Capital Keyboard Centre seems certain to establish itself as a major force in keyboard merchandising almost immediately.