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  #16  
Old 03-21-2019, 11:29 AM
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blindboyjimi blindboyjimi is offline
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I love the story and Franklin OMs...I own 3. They are all German over Brazilian. Nick has re-voiced his guitars over the years. My 1980 is 39 years old and will give any old Martin a run for its money, with its old punchy, very dry vintage tone. The 1989 one is designated an OM-S with fancy blue/green paua. The tone is rich and more complex. My 2007 is built the way Nick is building currently with a bit of arch in the top and back. It’s a more modern, and a bit darker or richer tonally if that makes sense. The 1989 was my first. I had no intention in buying the other 2 but they sort of fell into me. I thought for sure I’d play one against the other and sell the loser, but it is always a tie. Plus the other 2 are both 1 13/16 x 2 3/8 which is my preference. I’ll try to post a picture of all 3.
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  #17  
Old 03-24-2019, 03:15 PM
FormerFoodie FormerFoodie is offline
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Awesome review. I really dig your sound clips and other reviews, so I was really keen on hearing your thoughts on Nick's guitars.

Nick's guitars are definitely on my short list. In my only visit to Luthiers Collection, Mike Joyce suggested I play a Franklin. The OM I played was the second or third best guitar I played that day (a Kim Walker secured best in show for me that day). The Franklin definitely left a positive impression in my ear.

I'm at the point where I can't just justify buying another guitar. If I could, commissioning a Franklin would be up there. The Cuban Hog build that was recently documented, led me to take multiple cold showers. I gotta stay off this forum, but somehow manage to keep coming back to torture and tempt myself by reading everyone's post...

Thanks again for sharing!
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  #18  
Old 03-27-2019, 05:03 PM
usb_chord usb_chord is offline
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Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
Great story, Mr. Chord. Glad you're enjoying this killer new guitar!
Thanks, Juston! Happy new guitar day to you, too! There's another Circa in the chamber for me, too. Remember that '31 OM-28 at Schoenberg's you liked? The one with all the low-end? Well, that guitar is in my living room right now.
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  #19  
Old 03-27-2019, 05:04 PM
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Thanks, Juston! Happy new guitar day to you, too! There's another Circa in the chamber for me, too. Remember that '31 OM-28 at Schoenberg's you liked? The one with all the low-end? Well, that guitar is in my living room right now.
Dude! Holy smokes.
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  #20  
Old 03-27-2019, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by FormerFoodie View Post
Awesome review. I really dig your sound clips and other reviews, so I was really keen on hearing your thoughts on Nick's guitars.

Nick's guitars are definitely on my short list. In my only visit to Luthiers Collection, Mike Joyce suggested I play a Franklin. The OM I played was the second or third best guitar I played that day (a Kim Walker secured best in show for me that day). The Franklin definitely left a positive impression in my ear.

I'm at the point where I can't just justify buying another guitar. If I could, commissioning a Franklin would be up there. The Cuban Hog build that was recently documented, led me to take multiple cold showers. I gotta stay off this forum, but somehow manage to keep coming back to torture and tempt myself by reading everyone's post...

Thanks again for sharing!
I always love reading your posts, FF! It's pretty obvious our tastes are pretty well aligned. I've been a diehard fan of Nick's since that day. Obviously I loved the one I played at Robin's, but the thing is, I continued to play outstanding examples long after that. Two separate Brazilian OMs over at LC and again, both were as compelling as anything else I played that day.

I also played a few Walkers that day, a Traugott, 3 Somogyi OMs. Blazer and Henkes, Dudenbostel . . . Good grief. I came away all the more convinced of Nick's mythical powers. I'm really excited to fire things up for recording again!
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  #21  
Old 03-27-2019, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by blindboyjimi View Post
I love the story and Franklin OMs...I own 3. They are all German over Brazilian. Nick has re-voiced his guitars over the years. My 1980 is 39 years old and will give any old Martin a run for its money, with its old punchy, very dry vintage tone. The 1989 one is designated an OM-S with fancy blue/green paua. The tone is rich and more complex. My 2007 is built the way Nick is building currently with a bit of arch in the top and back. It’s a more modern, and a bit darker or richer tonally if that makes sense. The 1989 was my first. I had no intention in buying the other 2 but they sort of fell into me. I thought for sure I’d play one against the other and sell the loser, but it is always a tie. Plus the other 2 are both 1 13/16 x 2 3/8 which is my preference. I’ll try to post a picture of all 3.
I'm really excited for you to get that '07 back! Keep me posted, BBJ!
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  #22  
Old 04-14-2019, 11:32 AM
mhw48 mhw48 is offline
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Great thread, and a beautiful guitar. I understand completely your love of your Franklin guitar, having succumbed to the same disorder, so hopefully you won’t mind if I add my story about my Franklin guitar as well.
I have been a fan of Nick's guitars for decades, having first heard of them in the 80s through Stefan Grossman's endorsement (and playing). Very occasionally one would appear at Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island, and if it wasn't already gone by the time I got over there, I'd spend a good chunk of time playing it, comparing it to other guitars in the shop and wishing I could afford it. Mandolin Brothers is closed, and none of the current guitar places in NY have had a Franklin to try out, so I hadn't actually played one for about a decade.
Instead I'd check the on-line inventory at various guitar shops across the US, or I’d eye Nick's website, and although I couldn’t play any of the Frankins I’d see, I’d get very engrossed in reading discussions, listening to the audio and video samples available and trying the impossible feat of comparing it to my 10 year old memories of actually playing a Franklin.
A Franklin jumbo that listed on the Dream Guitar site as “sold” had particularly captured my attention, and I had told myself that if I had come across it while it was still available I would have “definitely” bought it. (A safe statement to make, since it was sold.) Then that exact same guitar turned up for sale on a Japanese website.
"Just out of curiosity," I began looking into what was involved in importing a Brazilian rosewood guitar. After much research, I came to the conclusion that while theoretically it is possible, practically speaking, it can’t be done. Certainly in the case of this particular guitar it was not possible: not only do you have to obtain paper work certifying that all of the wood was legally sourced so that the guitar could be exported from Japan back to the US, but also you have to have all the original paper work from when the guitar was first imported into Japan. That paperwork didn’t exist, because this guitar had arrived during a less stringent period of CITES.
One might think that at this point I could happily revert back to simply fantasizing about owning a Franklin, but my decision to obtain a Franklin had taken on a life of its own. Partly the change was due to actively researching how to import a specific guitar, but mostly it had to do with the fact that in that process I had contacted Nick to see what he could tell me. Instead of just responding to my email, Nick called me and we had a wonderful conversation about his guitars, about the particular guitar in Japan as well as some others that were available on US sites. I was really impressed that Nick took the time to talk to me, and impressed by how knowledgable, friendly and just down right likable he was.
At this point I happened to stumble across a video of El McMeen playing a 12 fret Franklin Dreadnought, and also read a bit about El’s affinity for Franklin guitars. I was surprised to see El playing a dread. Of course, on Nick’s site I’d seen that it was one of the models he offered, but I had assumed that by dreadnought, he meant a Martin style Dreadnought. As a strictly fingerstyle player I wasn’t interested, so I hadn’t even read the description — which I finally did — discovering that Nick’s dreadnought is, as Jeanne wrote to me, “Not your daddy’s dread.”
So on an impulse I wrote El an email asking him about his experience with the various models, and in particular what he thought about the Dread. El, another very generous soul, wrote back immediately to enthusiastically endorse Nick’s guitars and to laud the dread, which he informed me was back with Nick so if I was interested I should contact him. El had eventually parted with it, replacing it with a “signature El McMeen Franklin OM” because he often plays with a capo and the 12 fret neck on the Dread, when capo’d, would quickly run out of room.
Nick indeed had the guitar — which turned out to be the Dread prototype that Nick had shown at the 2011 Healdsberg show — and offered to send it to me on approval. Red spruce over figured mahogany with one of Nick's hand rubbed sunburst finishes, it arrived this past September. While its too late to make a long story short, but to make a long story a little less long, I’ll just say that after playing the guitar, there was never a question of sending it back.
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Last edited by mhw48; 04-28-2019 at 06:27 AM.
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  #23  
Old 04-14-2019, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhw48 View Post
Great thread, and a beautiful guitar. I understand completely your love of your Franklin guitar, having succumbed to the same disorder, so hopefully you won’t mind if I add my story about my Franklin guitar as well.
I have been a fan of Nick's guitars for decades, having first heard of them in the 80s through Stefan Grossman's endorsement (and playing). Very occasionally one would appear at Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island, and if it wasn't already gone by the time I got over there, I'd spend a good chunk of time playing it, comparing it to other guitars in the shop and wishing I could afford it. Mandolin Brothers is closed, and none of the current guitar places in NY have had a Franklin to try out, so I hadn't actually played one for about a decade.
Instead I'd check the on-line inventory at various guitar shops across the US, or I’d eye Nick's website, and although I couldn’t play any of the Frankins I’d see, I’d get very engrossed in reading discussions, listening to the audio and video samples available and trying the impossible feat of comparing it to my 10 year old memories of actually playing a Franklin.
A Franklin jumbo that listed on the Dream Guitar site as “sold” had particularly captured my attention, and I had told myself that if I had come across it while it was still available I would have “definitely” bought it. (A safe statement to make, since it was sold.) Then that exact same guitar turned up for sale on a Japanese website.
"Just out of curiosity," I began looking into what was involved in importing a Brazilian rosewood guitar. After much research, I came to the conclusion that while theoretically it is possible, practically speaking, it can’t be done. Certainly in the case of this particular guitar it was not possible: not only do you have to obtain paper work certifying that all of the wood was legally sourced so that the guitar could be exported from Japan back to the US, but also you have to have all the original paper work from when the guitar was first imported into Japan. That paperwork didn’t exist, because this guitar had arrived during a less stringent period of CITES.
One might think that at this point I could happily revert back to simply fantasizing about owning a Franklin, but my decision to obtain a Franklin had taken on a life of its own. Partly the change was due to actively researching how to import a specific guitar, but mostly it had to do with the fact that in that process I had contacted Nick to see what he could tell me. Instead of just responding to my email, Nick called me and we had a wonderful conversation about his guitars, about the particular guitar in Japan as well as some others that were available on US sites. I was really impressed that Nick took the time to talk to me, and impressed by how knowledgable, friendly and just down right likable he was.
At this point I happened to stumble across a video of El McMeen playing a 12 fret Franklin Dreadnought, and also read a bit about El’s affinity for Franklin guitars. I was surprised to see El playing a dread. Of course, on Nick’s site I’d seen that it was one of the models he offered, but I had assumed that by dreadnought, he meant a Martin style Dreadnought. As a strictly fingerstyle player I wasn’t interested, so I hadn’t even read the description — which I finally did — discovering that Nick’s dreadnought is, as Jeanne wrote to me, “Not your daddy’s dread.”
So on an impulse I wrote El an email asking him about his experience with the various models, and in particular what he thought about the Dread. El, another very generous soul, wrote back immediately to enthusiastically endorse Nick’s guitars and to laud the dread, which, he informed me was back with Nick, so if I was interested I should contact him. El had eventually parted with it, replacing it with a “signature El McMeen Franklin OM” because he often plays with a capo and the 12 fret neck on the Dread, when capo’d, would quickly run out of room.
Nick indeed had the guitar — which turned out to be the Dread prototype, that Nick had shown at the 2011 Healdsberg show — and offered to send it to me on approval. Red spruce over figured mahogany with one of Nick's hand rubbed sunburst finishes, it arrived this past September. While its too late to make a long story short, but to make a long story a little less long, I’ll just say that after playing the guitar, there was never a question of sending it back.
Figured mahogany and no photo of the back?? For shame, sir!
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  #24  
Old 04-14-2019, 04:43 PM
mhw48 mhw48 is offline
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Figured mahogany and no photo of the back?? For shame, sir!
What was I thinking?!?
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  #25  
Old 04-14-2019, 07:18 PM
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What was I thinking?!?
That was a close one. Good save! Nice hog!
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  #26  
Old 04-25-2019, 03:50 PM
OM45 OM45 is offline
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Default 1984 Franklin Guitars Brochure

Hello all. I stop by AGF every once in a while and came across your Franklin thread. I've never owned a Franklin, and have never even played one but was intrigued with his guitars for many years. Was Nick the first Boutique builder? I had written Guitars Friend (the people who carried Franklin guitars at the time) and they sent a brochure of Franklin Guitars and thought I'd share. Please note the price list... and cry.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/163440.../shares/J19i0h
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  #27  
Old 04-28-2019, 06:20 AM
mhw48 mhw48 is offline
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Thanks for posting the brochure! What year is it from? Nick surely must have been one of the earliest "Boutique" luthiers. There was also Stuart Mossman, whose Mossman guitars got going around the same time; Gurian, of course and I'm sure there were some others. Without the internet, it was difficult in those years learn about these builders, other than word of mouth. I first read about Franklin guitars in the introduction to one of Stefan Grossman's guitar books.
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  #28  
Old 04-28-2019, 06:58 AM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Originally Posted by mhw48 View Post
Thanks for posting the brochure! What year is it from? Nick surely must have been one of the earliest "Boutique" luthiers. There was also Stuart Mossman, whose Mossman guitars got going around the same time; Gurian, of course and I'm sure there were some others. Without the internet, it was difficult in those years learn about these builders, other than word of mouth. I first read about Franklin guitars in the introduction to one of Stefan Grossman's guitar books.
That brochure is from the mid 1980s. Nick started as a solo builder in the mid 1970s but grew into a small shop builder for a period of time (this brochure is during a small shop period) but later on after leaving lutherie for a period, returning as a solo luthier again almost 20 years ago. There are a number of solo luthiers who have been building flat tops as long as Nick who are near the back end of their careers (John Greven, Bernie Lehmann, Bruce Sexauer and Ervin Somogyi to name a few).
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  #29  
Old 04-28-2019, 10:37 AM
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Nick is somewhere in the mid 600s in terms of number of instruments he’s built. There aren’t that many guys around with that kind of experience.
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  #30  
Old 04-28-2019, 11:34 AM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Nick is somewhere in the mid 600s in terms of number of instruments he’s built. There aren’t that many guys around with that kind of experience.
My Franklin delivered this March is #691 off Nick’s bench, so he should pass #700 this year...

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