opens in Pride Hill Centre, Shrewsbury
A guitarist who has played with chart-toppers The Specials and Dexy’s Midnight Runners has opened Golden Guitars, a music store in Shrewsbury’s busy Pride Hill Shopping Centre.
Rob Cook-Williams and his band are still regulars on the pub and club circuit in Shropshire and Mid Wales and the 40-year-old is currently working on a CD of his self-penned songs.
Rob and his wife, Karen, who runs the Golden Lion, in Llandysilio, near Welshpool, also operates a thriving mail order music business but the Pride Hill Centre venture is is a first for him.
“I’m a song-writer and guitarist myself so I know the music business really well and I’m also keen to support local artists and bands and hope to have their music on sale here as well.
“I have a full range of guitars and other musical instruments and equipment and accessories available either here or to order and we’re agents for Marshall amps which are the big name in music systems.
“Even though I am a guitarist and we sell guitars and do guitar set-ups and restringing, that’s not all we do. We’re able to supply all sorts of musical instruments and accessories, from drums to wind instrument reeds.
Rob’s band sees him on guitar alongside ex-Renaissance drummer Phil Beaumont and bass player Brian Snelling, who played with jazz giant Henry Mancini back in the 60s. He also plays with another local band, White Noise, and guests at live gigs with other groups.
“I’ve played in bands and I’ve taught and I used to do demos for guitar makers at events like Music Live at the NEC. I’ve even played with members of The Specials, Selecter and Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
“The beauty of it is that you can take up the guitar at any age. Lots of people decide to learn when they’re in their 40s, 50s or 60s because they’ve got more time than they had when they were young and guitars are now so reasonably priced.
“I’ve even taught a lady of 76 to play the mandolin so age is no barrier. If you’ve got the music in you then it will come out.”
The young Rob graduated from a steel-string acoustic Spanish-style guitar – “so big I could hardly get my ams round it” – to an electric guitar at the age of 16 and was soon in his first band.
“I’m self-taught and I teach guitar as well and we give lessons in the store or privately. We’ve even got booths in the store if you want your lesson in private.
“Guitars are so much better and more affordable today. For about £100 you can have a perfectly good, playable guitar and the quality control is much better than it was.
“Years ago if you paid that much then it would sounds terrible and bits would be falling off.”
His own pride and joy is a vintage Fender Stratocaster, the first choice axe of guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, and Rob said: “I’ve tried others and they’ve been good but I’ve always gone back to the old Strat – it’s usually the one I play at gigs.”For more on Rob Cook Williams and Golden Guitars go to www.reverbnation.com/robcookwilliams, www.goldenguitars.co.uk (under construction) and www.goldenguitars.net
-- Yoland Brown Brownhill House B&B, Ruyton XI Towns, nr. Shrewsbury SY4 1LR ShACC - Shropshire Alternative Car Club www.eleventowns.co.uk www.eleventowns.com www.ShACC-uk.org Tel: 01939 261 121 Fax: 01939 260626