Ed Roman on Bo' Diddley  RIP

Bo Diddley (born December 30, 1928) Sometimes called "The Originator", is an influential American Rock N' Roll singer, songwriter, & guitarist. He is often cited as a key figure in the transition of blues into Rock N' Roll, by introducing more insistent, driving rhythms & a hard edged guitar sound.

He was born Otha Elias Bates in McComb, MS and later took the name Elias McDaniel, after his adoptive mother, Gussie McDaniel. He adopted the stage name Bo Diddley, which is probably a southern black slang phrase meaning "nothing at all", as in "he ain't bo diddley". Another source says it was his nickname as a Golden Gloves boxer. The nickname is also linked to the diddley bow, a one stringed instrument used in the south by mainly black musicians in the fields.

Bo Diddley, played the pawnbroker who deals with Dan Aykroyd in the movie "Trading Places" with Eddie Murphy....   His famous line when Aykroyd hands him the expensive watch has been used and re-used "Burnt my Fingers"   and my favorite one was "In Philadelphia it's worth 50 bucks"   The look on his face when Dan Aykroyd says "How Much for The Gun"  Is Priceless.

Bo's Guitars are of course legendary,  "The Jupiter Thunderbird,"  "The Cadillac" and the rectangular one that he played were in fact originally not Gretsch Guitars. They were custom made for him using Gretsch necks, Thus the Gretsch Logo.....  There are numerous stories floating around about the Billy Gibbons connection and most of them are fallacies. I am in a unique position to know the real story but guitar politics and the guitar police prevent me from posting it here.    (Can You Say Ghostbuilders)

Ed Roman 2005


"To Cool, For School"


Bo Diddley was born in Mississippi and raised in Chicago, where he was exposed to music and the blues. After studying violin and trombone, he took up the electric guitar.

Bo's  flamboyance, & strange shaped innovative guitars and distinctive backbeat (sometimes described as "shave-and-a-hair-cut") earned him a record contract with Chess Records, and in 1955 he had his first hit with the two-sided "Bo Diddley/I'm A Man." Although he had numerous hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and appeared on TV with Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan, Diddley's aggressive beat, suggestive lyrics and raw performances ended up making him more influential than rich and famous.      (Because Bo is Super -Cool and most people are  Super -lame)

This photo is a very rare shot with the "Cadillac"  Guitar,   If anyone, anywhere, has a better picture of Bo with this guitar, or any picture of Bo, or The Duchess, with this guitar, please send it to Ed Roman.   See  edroman.com.

Bo was definitely the coolest, I have yet to meet him, I've done some biz with some of the band members, but Bo himself 'hasn't been in the shop yet.  Oh well sooner or later everybody gets in here.  That's the only reason,  I still love this pain in the ass job!!!

Ed Roman


Billy Gibbons,  playing the now famous & finally accepted Billy Bo, My friend & associate John Bolin has built about 30 of these guitars for Billy G.   The very first one, that Gretsch ever made is currently in my collection.

Billy has drawn pinstripes on it and autographed it over to me as  serial # 1.   it was made in 2005! None of the guitars, you see in any of those Billy Gibbons Photos, were ever made by Gretsch.  Can you say (Ghostbuilders).

As a guitar designer myself, my favorite thing about Bo Diddley is the fact that he was way ahead of the curve on guitar design.  He wasn't one of these bland lemmings who chose to play some bland looking piece of mass produced crap.  Instead he used the guitar to extend his already bigger than life personality.

When I was a young punk ass kid, growing up in super bland super white Ridgefield, CT.  Which was a veritable  Cornucopia of White Wonder Bread Slimy Corporate Scum. 

The first time I ever heard Bo Diddley's name was in a rhyme that we used to sing in Miss Morehouse's Class in 5th grade.  
(Yeah, Yeah, I was Hot For Teacher)

No Disrespect To Bo Diddley Intended.... I must now share it  with you  !!!

"Old Bo Diddley,  Went to the Store,        Shit on the Counter,  Pissed on the floor.
Wiped his Ass With a Piece of Ham,        Told the Man, He Don't Give A Damn"  
"Sung To The tune of Bo Diddley"

This was the first time,  I had ever heard the phrase  "The Man"  I didn't pick up on the underlying meaning of this short little rap song until years later.  Incidentally this was one of the cleaner little ditties we used to sing. Now I'm gonna get sentimental & name my best friend Alan Fowler R.I.P. & Pete Bunblasky R.I.P. along with a bunch of other little hooligans that used to sing all these gory little songs.  Paul Frulla, Phil Frulla, Tommy Glynn, Bob Woschner, Bob Van Wagner AKA  Wiggle, Andy Gaeta, Nicky Gaeta, Alan Martin, Timmy Martin, Glenn Abissi, Kevin Galbraith, "Hit The Road Jack" Tommy Dwyer, Bill Baggot, Billy Wygant R.I.P.  Lance Ballou R.I.P. Eugene  "JUJU" Moulton & poor Mrs. Crowley my 6th grade teacher, that I slowly drove crazy when I used to get up in the middle of class & simply jump out the window without even waving goodbye...

Ed Roman 2006 



Built In Ed Roman's Customshop 2008








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