Franklin Guitar Company

Franklin Guitar Company

Nick Kukich will need no introduction to many, he is well known for making guitars for Stefan Grossman and John Renbourn.

Here's a history.
Shortly after building his first guitar in 1971, Nick Kukich moved to Detroit. There, he lived (and worked) in a music store that specialized in pre-war, acoustic guitars. While repairing instruments, Nick had the opportunity to see, hear, and play a multitude of guitars. The process of deconstructing and reconstructing guitars was an experience that allowed him to develop his knowledge of the instrument to an intimate and intuitive level.

A few years and a few guitars later, Nick moved to Franklin, MI. There, on Franklin Road, he formed the Franklin Guitar Company in 1974. He had met and joined forces with Laurence Ostrow, who distributed instruments through his company, Guitar’s Friend. It was Laurence who urged Nick to make the OM, styled after a pre-war Martin. He assured Nick that he could sell all the OM guitars Nick could make. To our knowledge, Franklin Guitar was the only company making the OM model, from 1974 to 1978.

In 1977, Nick and Laurence relocated to Sandpoint, ID, where Nick continued to make the OM model. Around 1980, Nick introduced his first Jumbo model. This was the model that Stefan Grossman had the opportunity to play while visiting a music store in Utah. Stefan liked the shape, which was known as a Prairie State model, made by the Larson Brothers. Stefan contacted Nick to ask if he could make some changes to the Jumbo. After some collaboration and experimentation, the Jumbo was refashioned into the guitar it is today. About a year after Stefan took possession of his Franklin guitar, he showed it to his friend, John Renbourn. John was impressed by the build quality and the sound, and ordered his own Franklin. John chose the smaller OM model, which fit his playing style. Nick remained in the Pacific NW for several decades, working in Seattle then Portland.

Nick now lives and works in a small river town in Mid-Missouri. With more than 600 guitars to his credit, Nick continues to build the OM and Jumbo models. He is also getting ready to build a Dreadnaught, a model he built a dozen or so of in the early years.

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