We simply want to get old guitars into the hands of appreciative players.
Bruce was introduced to old blues and folk music as a child in the 1960s by his father, who had a love for that music, and an impressive collection of record albums to go with it. Bruce began playing the guitar seriously in the late seventies, and was fortunate to study with Dave Van Ronk, Erik Frandsen, and Jack Baker at the Fretted Instrument School of Folk Music in New York City where he concentrated on learning fingerpicking guitar, especially blues and ragtime, in the early 1980s.
Bruce then moved to Philadelphia to attend college and studied with former Winfield fingerpicking champion Rolly Brown. Bruce moved back home to Lancaster, Pa in the early 1990s, where he and his father, Michael Roth, administered the Bessie Smith Society Concert Series at Franklin and Marshall College. After retiring from musical performance in 2003, Bruce was able to pursue his interest in old guitars and other stringed instruments, and he enjoys the thrill of the hunt for these instruments as well as placing them into the hands of musicians who appreciate them.
As a teen in the mid-sixties, Tom’s musical tastes included Cream, The Byrds and Dylan. Before he entered college in the early seventies, Tom worked a wide variety of ‘jobs’ including a funeral home, a factory, and a tour of duty in Viet Nam as an infantry soldier. It was during his college years that Tom gravitated toward older folk music and blues and eventually became a big fan of what’s commonly called ‘country blues’. He was lucky to see a few of the old-timers like Honeyboy Edwards and John Jackson perform, plus many of the contemporary players who play that style.
As a way to better connect with the music of the old players on the early 78 recordings, Tom sold his new Martin and began to seek out older guitars. He settled in on Gibson L-00-type flat tops, and studied with country blues and ragtime with Ari Esinger for a few years. Lately, he’s mostly been playing his Stella 12-string jumbo and chasing the likes of Blind Willie McTell and Leadbelly. Tom’s resolved to being a lousy guitar player, but he’s determined to be the best lousy guitar player out there! Now retired after thirty-one years in public education, he’s begun in earnest to seek American made guitars from before WWII, get them back into playing order, and into the hands of guitar players in a sort of guitar ‘catch and release’ effort.