Rockin’ is the Rokher business
—and business is good.
No, our copy editor didn’t miss something: R-O-K-H-E-R is indeed how it is supposed to be spelled, pronounced ROCK-her. What’s a Rokher? It’s a uniquely designed, ergonomic, patented rocking chair designed to combat back and spinal issues for musicians. The brainchild of Timothy J. Martin, a/k/a “Tryst” of innovative rock outfit Rhythm Tryst (must-hear: 2014 album In Light of All We Can’t See), the Rokher chair was initially conceived in late 2013, when Martin increasingly found himself dealing with chronic back stress issues.
“Basically,” recalls Martin, “in song development, 80 percent of your time will be in writing and arranging where you’re sitting on the porch or in the studio. Inevitably, I’d be at the chiropractor’s office every month with chronic tension and debilitating nerve tingling—the culprit being lousy chairs that didn’t support my needs for form and comfort.”
In order to enjoy extended playing time, professional musicians need to maintain a healthy posture. Standing 100% of the time is not an option. And most standard rocking chairs not only have a poor seat-to-back angle without proper lumbar support, they also tend to have arms that block the body of the guitar. The Rokher, by contrast, is a one-piece, seat-to-back construction specifically designed for good body alignment, with a smooth, graduating rocker radius either for rocking or a forward, erect playing position.
Martin describes his Rokher journey as a lengthy process that went “from Frankenstein to Flintstone to level six prototype to market.” He would purchase rockers at flea markets, taking them apart and experimenting with different rocker radiuses, seat types, and back styles. “My vision was minimalist and sleek, to emulate the guitar head-stock shape for the chair back, with a tuning head-style rocker base. Once I had an acceptable model, I sought out a furniture craftsman [Asheville’s Robert Parker]—this took a year because I wanted a seasoned designer. We developed the one-piece, bent wood, form-fitting chair back and the seat ergonomics.
“Then, with the plethora of woodworking shops here in North Carolina, it took another six months to lock down our partners; we actually had to rethink our wood bending group and do a new mold after our first run. Once I had a small number of finished prototypes, I had to prove there was a ‘market’ and this included going to two NAMM events (National Association of Music Merchandizers), visiting countless music stores, two High Point Furniture Markets, and being a vendor at numerous music festivals. The result? With a mid- to high-line product price-point, we have sold 30 units, work with a select cross section of retailers, and will have an additional 50 sold by this Christmas 2016. Not just to musicians—40 percent of our sales come from buyers that do a lot of computer work or meditation.”
Rokher’s first model is called the Raven, which has a beech veneer and personifies the maxim “beauty through simplicity.” The company will also offer exotic woods for custom orders whereby a musician can select the headstock shape, color, and finishing to match the finish color (for example, sunburst) of their guitars. Martin says that he anticipates for the near future “major artist endorsements, partnering with a major guitar manufacturer, and new product development including new chair styles and ancillary products.”
“And,” he adds, “we’ll have affiliate marketing relationships where we are helping musicians support themselves through Rokher sales. This is an opportunity for me to help and meet other musicians.”
Details, testimonials, retail locations, and demonstration videos: www.Rokher.com
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