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  #1  
Old 03-12-2019, 11:08 AM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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Default NGD (sort of): Franklin 12 Fret Dreadnought

This Franklin is Nickís 12 fret dreadnought model. The top is red spruce and the back and sides are Brazilian rosewood. Itís a long scale length and most of the other dimensions are pretty standard.

This is a sort-of new guitar day. I received this guitar back in December from a Reverb sale. The guitar was described as having been loaned to a friend and improperly humidified. The guitar was said to have developed some cracks as a result and was sent to Nick Kukich for repair. I asked a number of questions of the seller and was assured the guitar was ďlike newĒ except for the repaired cracks in the back.

When I received the guitar, I noticed the heel was cracked and was told it must have happened in shipping (I later realized from the ad photos that it was cracked before shipping). The buzzing was so bad the guitar wasnít playable. I thought it was just a high fret. Stupidly, I agreed to get it fixed and ended up owning a whole host of issues. Hereís what Lewis Santer, my trusty luthier, found:

1) Heel was cracked
2) Top seam was split and had to be cleated
3) The neck had to be reset after the cracked heel was repaired. This was complicated by the fact that the hide glue used to seal the end grain on the neck had re-activated and glued itself to the body (the neck is a bolt on)
4) Many frets were totally loose and the fretboard had to be completely leveled to render the guitar playable
5) The saddle was loose and leaning forward about 25 degrees. The slot had to be deepened and a new, thicker saddle was made.
6) The case was designed for a 14 fret, so the headstock was laying on top of the accessory compartment. This is probably why the heel cracked at some point along the way. That case had to be replaced.

Lewis and I had to call Nick about removing the neck because it wouldnít come off when the bolts were loosened. We learned from Nick that he received the guitar after it had been loaned out. He guessed it had been left in direct sunlight or in the trunk of a car because it had essentially fallen apart. He described cracks so large in the back that you could see through them. He told the owner the guitar was a ďtotal lossĒ and should be submitted as such to insurance. Regardless, the previous owner had Nick rebuild the guitar.

Iíve never had a buying experience remotely like this one, and it has cost quite a bit of time and money to get it into playing shape. Itís my fault for agreeing to have the heel crack fixed. I should have sent it back as soon as I received it. You can imagine my frustration when, a couple of months later, I re-examined the ad photos and found the heel was cracked before shipping.

Anyway, the work has finally been completed and the frets have been re-glued and Plekíed. Iíve had very little time with the guitar in playable condition, but it has a huge, cavernous bass. Itís not unlike many of the Somogyi-style guitars Iíve played over the years, though perhaps not quite that bass focused. It really growls when tuned down to open C. I think drop tunings are this guitarís strong suit. I looked around for an inexpensive case solution, but ended up getting a Karura in the end. Itís a standard dreadnought case, I believe, but it fits the guitar well and the headstock clears the accessory compartment.

Iíll spend some more time with it in the coming weeks and report back on more details.























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  #2  
Old 03-12-2019, 03:50 PM
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iim7V7IM7 iim7V7IM7 is offline
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Congrats....

I am certain the process of receiving and restoring may not have been in your original plan and was a unpleasant surprise. Hopefully with the guitar now in restored condition it is both a joy to play and hear and adds some new sounds to your musical repertoire..
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:11 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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It's always frustrating to hear about fraud.

I like the stain on the soundboard - it reminds me somewhat of a violin finish. Do you know how it was done?
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:25 PM
Fretcruisin Fretcruisin is offline
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I am the happy owner of one of Nickís Dreads dated 1981. Adirondack and Braz I think. It has been used professionally, privately and needed some TLC when I got it. But like all of the Franklins I have played (11 over the last 12 years) it impresses me every time I pick it up. His Dreads are rare. I think he has only built a dozen or so. My bet is you will find the repairs money well spent. Congratulations on the find.
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Old 03-12-2019, 04:28 PM
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I think the finish was hand rubbed. It's described as a Loar style burst, but I'm not certain how he does it. I think it looks fantastic. Bob probably knows!
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
I think the finish was hand rubbed. It's described as a Loar style burst, but I'm not certain how he does it. I think it looks fantastic. Bob probably knows!
Nick uses a traditional hand rubbed finish. The spruce top gets a sealer/conditioner coat typically with shellac. The dyes are applied by hand with an application cloth to apply them to the sealed top. These are colored, water based dyes, frequently cut with some alcohol. The creates a charming, antique looking somewhat splotchy sunburst. After the color is applied to create the hand rubbed burst coats of nitrocellulose lacquer is applied.
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:51 PM
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Smile Sorry to hear of your headaches...

Jeez, this kind of story is a bummer! I have learned to ask a zillion questions and actually TALK ON THE PHONE, with a seller if possible.

If the seller will not answer I just walk. There are a LOT of mighty fine guitars, as a quick peek thru the FS listings here will show!

And I now ask for clear, detailed and closeup pics of any issues. But how do you deal with LIES?

And, now that this is in tip top condition again, I am sure you may well be glad you persevered!

Hope so!!! Have fun and play pretty

Paul
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
Nick uses a traditional hand rubbed finish. The spruce top gets a sealer/conditioner coat typically with shellac. The dyes are applied by hand with an application cloth to apply them to the sealed top. These are colored, water based dyes, frequently cut with some alcohol. The creates a charming, antique looking somewhat splotchy sunburst. After the color is applied to create the hand rubbed burst coats of nitrocellulose lacquer is applied.
I knew youíd have the answer!
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
Jeez, this kind of story is a bummer! I have learned to ask a zillion questions and actually TALK ON THE PHONE, with a seller if possible.

If the seller will not answer I just walk. There are a LOT of mighty fine guitars, as a quick peek thru the FS listings here will show!

And I now ask for clear, detailed and closeup pics of any issues. But how do you deal with LIES?

And, now that this is in tip top condition again, I am sure you may well be glad you persevered!

Hope so!!! Have fun and play pretty

Paul
Itís a pretty rare experience. Most of my purchases have been overwhelmingly positive. Canít wait to put some hours on this one!
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:03 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Unhappy

It is unfortunate that you had to go through all that grief for this guitar but hopefully it will give you years of playing joy.

This guitsr looks like one i saw on sale a few years ago on luthiers collection website.

I dont usually like sunburst finishes but this one looks very nice. Very nice brazilian rosewood also.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:27 PM
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Juston, I bet Lewis did an awesome job on this one! Hope for the best result~
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:43 PM
FormerFoodie FormerFoodie is offline
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Sorry to hear about the excessive drama. That's definitely no fun.

I remember seeing that guitar on Reverb and was smitten by that 'burst. I'm hopeful that there will be a happy ending with this axe. Nick Kukich is definitely on my short list of builders!
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:17 PM
SJ VanSandt SJ VanSandt is offline
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That's a horror story, but a gorgeous guitar. Really, I think that is the most beautiful burst I've ever seen. I hope the guitar treats you as well as you have treated it!
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:20 PM
SuperB23 SuperB23 is offline
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I remember seeing this one at Luthiers Collection years ago. Sorry for such a frustrating purchase. Glad it turned out good in the end.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:05 AM
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Iím very happy to see this guitar resurrected! I chose it for Fretboard Journal as one of my faves of the Healdsburg festival. A wonderful guitar.
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