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-   -   NICK KUKICH (Franklin Guitar Co.) The OMC (German Spruce / Cuban Mahogany) (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=522401)

iim7V7IM7 09-19-2018 04:43 PM

NICK KUKICH (Franklin Guitar Co.) The OMC (German Spruce / Cuban Mahogany)
 
After a year + of waiting, my build slot with Portland, Oregon luthier Nick Kukich (Franklin Guitar Company, http://www.franklinguitarcompany.com/) has finally arrived. Given when he is starting, this looks like a February 2019 delivery.

The Guitar...

Nick will be building me one of his “The OMC” models with a Venetian cutaway. Nick’s OMC is larger than its Nazareth namesake and his OM model. It has a 15-5/8” in width at the lower bout (vs. 15”-15-1/8” for an OM), a 19-13/16” body length (vs. 19-1/8” for an OM) and is 1/8” deeper in its end depth at 4-1/4” (vs. 4-1/8 for an OM). The larger size is to increase the body volume to compensate for the volume lossed from the cutaway and create an aesthetically pleasing plantilla. I believe that he has been making his most recent embodiment of the OMC for about the last 10-15-years. Nick’s guitar designs have evolved from strict Nazareth traditional design over the years which will become evident as you watch this build. I haven’t seen a Franklin Guitar Co. build thread of his work here on AGF for about 8-years now. I will try to share some these distinctive build features in this thread.

Some Preliminary Specs...

We have worked out some basic specifications for the guitar:
  • For the top, Nick has chosen some >50-year old, seasoned, German Spruce that I believe that he purchased decades ago together with is friend and fellow luthier Jeffrey Elliott.
  • For the back and sides, he will be using some very dense, figured, quartersawn Cuban Mahogany that he purchased from Bart Potter in Hawaii (It was introduced from the Caribbean as a foreign tree into Hawaii in the early 1900s);
  • We have selected a Gaboon Ebony fretboard, a 25.4” scale length with Abalone diamonds & squares long pattern inlays;
  • 1-3/4” nut width with 2-5/16” string spacing;
  • Jescar EVO 43080 frets;
  • Brazilian Rosewood bridge;
  • Curly hard maple binding with a Style 40 - Paua Abalone top purflings;
  • Paua Abalone rosette.
We have a number of aesthetic decisions still to make, but we’ll make those as we move through the process. I will update this thread if and when and if I receive updates from Nick.

Here are some photos below of the German Spruce top with naphtha spread on it. This wood is stamped January 17, 1968 from its supplier so it was harvested, prepared and seasoned >50-years ago. The subtle darkened discoloration seen near the center seam and edges of the two plates is oxidation. Nick had some newer wood sets that were aesthetically superior, but this type of aesthetic defect does not bother me enough to overrule the luthier’s sense of which set has the greatest sonic potential. Nick felt that this wood was sonically the best that he had.

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/...sxann4qvv.jpeg

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/...stira83jo.jpeg

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/...s3ya0cket.jpeg

Here are two photos of the Cuban Mahogany set that Nick is using for the guitar with naphtha applied to better see its figure. Nick explained that it is extremely dense set for a Mahogany, overlapping some Rosewoods in its density. It also has a distinct ring to its tap. I am more used to seeing a ribbon figure in the Florida and Caribbean sourced Cuban Mahogany. This Hawaiian sourced Cuban Mahogany seems to have developed a fiddleback figure much like some Honduran Mahogany presents when quartersawn.

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/...sja9z9dek.jpeg

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/...sx5tqo9jl.jpeg

About Nick as a Luthier...

For those of you who have not heard of Nick, I believe that his career in lutherie started as many others did in guitar repair where he was afforded the educational opportunity to work on vintage instruments (about 47 years ago in Detroit, MI). Nick started the “Franklin Guitar Company” in 1974 in Franklin, Michigan (hence the “name”). Over the decades, his shop has moved around the country a number of times from Michigan to Idaho, to Washington, to Oregon, to Missouri before returning again last year to Oregon last year. Over the four plus decades, Nick has now made more than 600 guitars. Nick is building instruments as a solo custom luthier and produces about a dozen guitars a year, one at a time.

More when I get it...

DanR 09-19-2018 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 5841923)
Nick had some newer wood sets that were aesthetically superior, but this type of aesthetic defect does not bother me enough to overrule the luthierís sense of which set has the greatest sonic potential. Nick felt that this wood was sonically the best that he had.

My eye would see that aesthetic as superior, knowing it's sonic qualities.

Coincidentally, Nick did work on my D-35 in late '75 when he was in Franklin. My very first Martin, a D-12-20 was set up by Jeff Elliott when he was an apprentice with Richard Schneider in Detroit in '72.

iim7V7IM7 09-19-2018 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DanR (Post 5841939)
My eye would see that aesthetic as superior, knowing it's sonic qualities.

Coincidentally, Nick did work on my D-35 in late '75 when he was in Franklin. My very first Martin, a D-12-20 was set up by Jeff Elliott when he was an apprentice with Richard Schneider in Detroit in '72.

Cool story (thanks for sharing). Both Nick and Jeff are still friends and both live in Portland, OR today...:)

Diamondave 09-19-2018 05:23 PM

Wow, those woods give me goose bumps...!!!

justonwo 09-19-2018 05:40 PM

This is going to be totally awesome. A Franklin has always been at the top of my list of guitars to try, but I've never had the opportunity. I know that Luthier's Collection gets a fair number of them, but they aren't really in driving distance. This will be a fun one to follow. You're rolling out some drool-worthy build threads these days.

gitarro 09-19-2018 06:21 PM

I have only played one Franklin guitar but it was a spruce/mahogany om and that was surprisingly more rosewood like than any non rosewood guitar that I have played. It had a thrilling treble on it and is an excellent guitar indeed. Your franklin has fine woods and with such an experienced and skilled luthier, ot has every chance of being a superb build. Definitely a custom build tjat I am going to lool forward to reading about in the weeks ahead.

iim7V7IM7 09-19-2018 06:37 PM

Dave/Juston/Barry,

Thanks for your kind words and well wishes...:up: Yes, engaging a luthier who has built >600 guitars over 40+ year period using > 50 year old top wood set to make a guitar is stacking the deck a bit in the clientís favor.

All is fair in guitars and war...:)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Diamondave (Post 5841948)
Wow, those woods give me goose bumps...!!!

Quote:

Originally Posted by justonwo (Post 5841964)
This is going to be totally awesome. A Franklin has always been at the top of my list of guitars to try, but I've never had the opportunity. I know that Luthier's Collection gets a fair number of them, but they aren't really in driving distance. This will be a fun one to follow. You're rolling out some drool-worthy build threads these days.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gitarro (Post 5842000)
I have only played one Franklin guitar but it was a spruce/mahogany om and that was surprisingly more rosewood like than any non rosewood guitar that I have played. It had a thrilling treble on it and is an excellent guitar indeed. Your franklin has fine woods and with such an experienced and skilled luthier, ot has every chance of being a superb build. Definitely a custom build tjat I am going to lool forward to reading about in the weeks ahead.


justonwo 09-19-2018 06:50 PM

I do think youíre a little late to the party. I heard he peaked during the French Revolution.

Mr. Jelly 09-19-2018 09:43 PM

I bought one of his guitars back in the 80s. It's crazy for me to think back on it now. I had to send him the whole price of the guitar and wait a year to receive it. That is if I remember correctly. I wrote a song on that guitar that I play to this day. I remember that it was more guitar than my skill level deserved. Nothing's changed.

Tone Gopher 09-19-2018 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 (Post 5841923)
After a year + of waiting, my build slot with Portland, Oregon luthier Nick Kukich (Franklin Guitar Company, http://www.franklinguitarcompany.com/) has finally arrived. Given when he is starting, this looks like a February 2019 delivery.

The Guitar...

Nick will be building me one of his ďThe OMCĒ models with a Venetian cutaway...

The larger size is to increase the body volume to compensate for the volume lossed from the cutaway and create an aesthetically pleasing plantilla. I believe that he has been making his most recent embodiment of the OMC for about the last 10-15-years. Nickís guitar designs have evolved from strict Nazareth traditional design over the years which will become evident as you watch this build. I havenít seen a Franklin Guitar Co. build thread of his work here on AGF for about 8-years now.

That may have been my olí thread.

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...light=Franklin

Regardless, Nick was great to work with, and the guitar truly wondrous. Enjoy the path.

FormerFoodie 09-19-2018 11:26 PM

Oh man... I am JEALOUS! :D

I played a Franklin at Luthier's Collection a few years ago, and it definitely caught my ear. One of the best I played that day and immediately put Nick on my short list of luthiers to buy a guitar from.

The Cuban Hog is amazing!!!!

I think you are going to be very, very happy. I am going to look forward to the updates on this build!!!

swiftz07 09-20-2018 03:24 AM

Congratulations! You are going to love your Franklin guitar.

I have two of Nickís OMs and they are built extremely lightweight, and has a tone that rivals some of the best vintage martins. He uses interlocking top braces - I always wondered if that contributes to his awesome tone.

Nick also seems to excel with using German spruce, which he has very nice old wood cut decades ago. I donít think you could go wrong with this one! I look forward to seeing your guitar come together!

iim7V7IM7 09-20-2018 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly (Post 5842140)
I bought one of his guitars back in the 80s. It's crazy for me to think back on it now. I had to send him the whole price of the guitar and wait a year to receive it. That is if I remember correctly. I wrote a song on that guitar that I play to this day. I remember that it was more guitar than my skill level deserved. Nothing's changed.

Cool story...thanks for sharing...:up:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tone Gopher (Post 5842186)
That may have been my olí thread.

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...light=Franklin

Regardless, Nick was great to work with, and the guitar truly wondrous. Enjoy the path.

Yes, your build thread was one that I saw (there are also a few others)...:)

Quote:

Originally Posted by FormerFoodie (Post 5842191)
Oh man... I am JEALOUS! :D

I played a Franklin at Luthier's Collection a few years ago, and it definitely caught my ear. One of the best I played that day and immediately put Nick on my short list of luthiers to buy a guitar from. I will be curious to hear how it sounds given its heavier density and ringing tap tone.

The Cuban Hog is amazing!!!!

I think you are going to be very, very happy. I am going to look forward to the updates on this build!!!

Thanks...:). I honestly have never seen Cuban Mahogany with this type of fiddleback curl in it. Keep in mind, these trees were introduced to Hawaii back in the early 1900s and they may develop differently in the Hawaiian terroir than the Caribbean or Florida. That wood typically has a beautiful ribbon figure to it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by swiftz07 (Post 5842242)
Congratulations! You are going to love your Franklin guitar.

I have two of Nickís OMs and they are built extremely lightweight, and has a tone that rivals some of the best vintage martins. He uses interlocking top braces - I always wondered if that contributes to his awesome tone.

Nick also seems to excel with using German spruce, which he has very nice old wood cut decades ago. I donít think you could go wrong with this one! I look forward to seeing your guitar come together!

Nick's approach to construction is interesting. I hope to share a bit of it here on AGF as the build evolves...:up:

mikealpine 09-20-2018 07:42 AM

I'm not a mahogany guy. Or I wasn't until I heard a Charis in Cuban Mahogany that made me rethink what that wood sounds like. I can't describe what made it different, but I just know I should have bought it. Love the figuring in yours, I can only imagine that this is going to be a wonderful instrument.

Marcus Wong 09-20-2018 09:28 AM

No way that is Cuban Mahogany..... lucky you Bob! Looks incredible


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