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  #121  
Old 09-14-2020, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wengr View Post
My guitar was built in 1992. It measures 3 1/2'' at the neck and 3 7/8' at the tail block. I purchased it some years back from Bat McGrath, and he referred to it as a Prairie State. I cant say What Nick called it.
Nothing new is happening with my build at the moment so I have had to satisfy myself with related pursuits, including roaming the internet looking at listings and descriptions of Franklin guitars.
When I noticed that a Franklin guitar that was listed at Luthiers Collection is referred to as a Franklin Prairie State: https://luthierscollection.com/guita...prairie-state/
but the exact same guitar, when it listed at Guitar Gallery, is called a Franklin Jumbo: https://www.guitargal.com/collection...birdseye-maple
I was reminded that a couple of posts ago Wengr had asked about why Nick’s Jumbo is sometimes referred to as his “Prairie State” and whether Nick had ever called it that. I had posted a short reply after I asked Nick about it.
Then I stumbled across another discussion of the Franklin “Prairie State or Jumbo” name question from a late 2003 thread on the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum. It adds a few more pieces of information, although it also adds some more confusion as well.
Here’s the post on the UMGF that got me going:
https://umgf.com/the-return-of-nick-...rs-t49609.html
From this discussion — which gets quite heated at one point — it appears that initially the guitar shape was labeled “Jumbo” in the earliest Franklin Guitar Company brochures. You may have seen them posted in a thread on AGF, but if not, here’s the link:
https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...=541520&page=3
When I asked Nick about it he said he hadn't named the model himself: the “Jumbo” moniker was a decision in the 80’s by his distributor, Laury Ostrow at Guitar’s Friend, when Nick first started building and selling Franklin guitars. Laury Ostrow was responsible for putting out the Franklin Guitar Company Brochures and he decided to label it the “Jumbo”. Nick added that calling it a “Prairie State” doesn’t really make sense because Prairie State is actually a whole line of different sizes and shapes that includes the jumbo (actually a re-topped archtop guitar) that Nick based his model on.
In the thread on UMGF, the OP announced that he had just received his new “Praire State” Guitar from Nick, and says that’s how Nick referred to it in their correspondence. However, he later mentions that the build (and all correspondence) was actually handled through a friend and former assistant of Nick’s, Mike Dulak of Middle Missouri Mandolin. In the early 2000s Nick was starting up Franklin Guitars again after a hiatus. According to the thread on UMGF, Mike helped Nick start promoting his return to building guitars. It was actually Mike Dulak who informed the OP that Nick was making two models: A Prairie State and an OM. So once again it may have been someone acting as an intermediary for Nick who named the model, this time the “Prairie State.”
The thread on UMG adds an interesting footnote — at that time, 2003, John Greven was offering a “Praire State” model, and apparently credited Nick’s guitar and Stefan Grossman’s original Larson Bros. guitar as being the inspiration. It was initially going to be a “Stefan Grossman signature model,” but that doesn’t seem to have come to pass.
If you look at the current Greven website, he doesn’t offer a “Prairie State” anymore. While he does have a Jumbo, the shape seems inspired by a Gibson J200.
As a footnote to this footnote, here’s an old listing for the Greven Prairie State prototype:
https://reverb.com/item/32777463-gre...show_sold=true
It seems that John Greven only made about a dozen of his “Prairie States” and discontinued the model in 2018.
So, that’s the long answer to the question.
The short answer is that it was a “Jumbo” in the early brochures, and is currently a “Jumbo” on Nick’s website. Apparently at one point in the early 2000s Mike Dulak briefly marketed it as a “Prairie State,” probably in reference to the Prairie State guitar that belonged to Stefan Grossman. I think Mike Dulak's involvement with Franklin guitars was short-lived. Nick seems to have been managing Franklin Guitars on his own fairly soon after this, calling the model a Jumbo. In any case, neither name seems to have originated with Nick.
I think the bottom line is that no matter what you call it, it’s an incredible design with an incredible history. It was Nick who repaired Stefan Grossman’s original retopped Prairie State Jumbo — the replacement top had “caved in”, according to Nick, because it was too lightly braced. Nick was enchanted with the shape of the guitar and traced it, going on to build his own version. Later he showed it to Stefan who loved it, but asked Nick to build him one that was not as deep — closer to the depth of an OM. Thus was born the fantastic guitar that Nick continues to build.
Maybe to be most accurate, it could be called a “Franklin Stefan Grossman Prairie State Jumbo”, but that’s a mouthful!

Last edited by mhw48; 09-14-2020 at 03:55 PM.
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  #122  
Old 09-18-2020, 12:42 PM
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Some news to report -- Nick dis-assembled my guitar in preparation for the finish. "I miss it!" he told me. He's been playing it every day since temporarily attaching the neck and bridge about a month ago. Nick applied a coat of shellac to the body:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0337.jpg (37.9 KB, 312 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0339.jpg (45.0 KB, 311 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0340.jpg (47.7 KB, 310 views)
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  #123  
Old 09-18-2020, 12:47 PM
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Default Nuts and Bolts

The morning after updating me on the current state of the finish, Nick sent me another photo, stating "I didnít show you my bolt-on neck. The bolt is made of Brazilian Rosewood and the nut is Pernambuco with a carbon graphite ring."


Nick's waiting to put the finish on the neck until after the body is done. He wants to be able to stain the neck to match the final color of the body.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0344.jpg (26.6 KB, 312 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0345.jpg (27.3 KB, 303 views)

Last edited by mhw48; 09-18-2020 at 03:15 PM.
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  #124  
Old 09-20-2020, 09:02 AM
4mykey 4mykey is offline
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When I met with Nick a few weeks ago, he showed me those bolts. They're really amazing and quite ingenious. He said he designed them in response to criticism for using bolt on necks instead of dovetails. No metal hardware used now.
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  #125  
Old 09-20-2020, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4mykey View Post
When I met with Nick a few weeks ago, he showed me those bolts. They're really amazing and quite ingenious. He said he designed them in response to criticism for using bolt on necks instead of dovetails. No metal hardware used now.


It is quite an elegant solution, and quite attractive as well!

Last edited by mhw48; 09-20-2020 at 08:12 PM.
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  #126  
Old 09-24-2020, 04:21 PM
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4mykey, I envy your proximity to Nick's workshop, and the fact that you can stop in and see things in person, but I have the compensation that Nick sent me some of the test wooden neck bolt sets -- along with instructions -- The black stripe on the Pink Ivory nut is carbon fiber strands that were saturated with epoxy, then set in a groove in the nut.
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File Type: jpg IMG_0105.jpg (29.0 KB, 238 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0102.jpg (20.8 KB, 233 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0101.jpg (18.8 KB, 236 views)

Last edited by mhw48; 10-05-2020 at 06:41 PM.
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  #127  
Old 09-26-2020, 08:52 AM
4mykey 4mykey is offline
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Mhw48, that's really cool Nick sent you some test bolts. I was really impressed with the idea and his execution of it. Not only are they functional, but elegant and beautiful at the same time. It just shows me his high level of care and thoughtfulness that he puts into his builds.

Yeah...I am lucky to able to visit him. It's going to be challenging for me to avoid wanting to drop in all the time once he starts my guitar! I just want to give him the space and time to do what he does best.
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  #128  
Old 10-05-2020, 03:52 PM
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Default Photo finish

Nick sent me some pictures of the varnishing process. The first photo is of amber chips, which Nick is sorting and cleaning. They get heated (outside!) to around 380įC. Once melted and the impurities have burned off, the heated amber is combined with cleaned oil. The second photo is of the oil being cleaned. It gets shaken several times with water. Once the water and oil fully separate, the water (at the bottom) containing any impurities cleaned from the oil is drained off.
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File Type: jpg L1060966.jpg (45.8 KB, 184 views)
File Type: jpg L1060964.jpg (15.9 KB, 182 views)

Last edited by mhw48; 10-05-2020 at 07:33 PM.
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  #129  
Old 10-05-2020, 03:55 PM
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This is the varnishing workstation -- brush, varnish, and a kind of "rotisserie" for holding the sanded guitar body.
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File Type: jpg L1060976.jpg (17.9 KB, 181 views)
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  #130  
Old 10-05-2020, 04:34 PM
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To Work!
L1070002.jpg L1070003.jpg

L1070012.jpg L1070013.jpg
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  #131  
Old 10-05-2020, 04:43 PM
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Knowing Nick, those shots were taken at 2 AM and not 2 PM...
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  #132  
Old 10-05-2020, 04:44 PM
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The varnish really brings out the grain of the African Blackwood. Nick says that because the lighting is not ideal for photos in his finishing room the color is not completely accurate, and he'll send me some under natural lighting when he brings the guitar out of the finishing room
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File Type: jpg L1070018.jpg (20.7 KB, 176 views)
File Type: jpg L1070017.jpg (19.7 KB, 176 views)
File Type: jpg L1070009.jpg (15.6 KB, 174 views)
File Type: jpg L1070016.jpg (24.3 KB, 175 views)

Last edited by mhw48; 10-06-2020 at 06:02 AM.
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  #133  
Old 10-05-2020, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
Knowing Nick, those shots were taken at 2 AM and not 2 PM...
No question! And probably another 2-3 hours before Nick called it a day.

Last edited by mhw48; 10-05-2020 at 06:27 PM.
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  #134  
Old 10-09-2020, 05:43 PM
4mykey 4mykey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhw48 View Post
The varnish really brings out the grain of the African Blackwood. Nick says that because the lighting is not ideal for photos in his finishing room the color is not completely accurate, and he'll send me some under natural lighting when he brings the guitar out of the finishing room
It looks beautiful!!!
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  #135  
Old 10-09-2020, 05:50 PM
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This for sure makes me want to trade something in for a 16Ē or jumbo. I wish I had something I didnít absolutely love so I could trade up. Itís awesome.
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