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  • NGD: Greven Travel Guitar

    Finally got my favorite luthier to make me one of his travel guitars (the sound sample is my actual guitar).

    Man, is it nice! It's small enough that you can lean back on the couch and play it comfortably, but it still has that big Greven Sound. Not quite as much bass as his full-sized instruments, but it has a lot of presence: ringing trebles and beautiful midrange, almost like a built-in chorus effect. You can't hammer it with a pick, but it's great for fingerpicking. Takes a capo very well ("Here Comes The Sun" sounds awesome) and it loves alternate tunings.

    He managed to find a vintage suitcase to house it, too.


  • #2
    How does it come apart ? johns one of my favorite luthier's as well ( own a Jumbo of his )

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    • #3
      Wow! For a guitar that breaks into two pieces and fits into a suitcase, it sounds absolutely phenomenal. I think you did all right.

      Guitars: Seagull S6+CW, Epiphone LP Standard, Ovation CU247, Gretsch G5120, Seagull S12 (w/ JJB Prestige 330), Martin GPCPA3 Mandolins: Mid-Missouri M-2, WWII-era Octave MandolinAmps: Fender Princeton Chorus, Marshall AVT50H/AVT412, Crate VC120HEffects: EBow > AKG Wireless > Boss TU-2 > Boss PH-3 > EHX Doctor Q > Dunlop 535 Wah > Boss OS-2 > Boss EQ-20 > Boss CH-1 > Boss NS-2 > Boss RV-3
      LHGCC Participant ~ Jimmy Caper

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      • #4
        How does it come apart?


        I figured I'd hear from you. I think you're the only other guy on the forum with a Greven.

        Here's a PDF of his first effort:

        http://electronworks.com/stuff/travel-guitar.pdf

        Mine is only his fourth, but now that he's put it on his site I expect he'll sell a lot more. He uses a pinless bridge now, and the bolt is slightly larger. He's still refining the construction, so each one is a bit different. Mine has a Lutz spruce top, for example, which gives a warmer, woodier sound.

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        • #5
          Wow! For a guitar that breaks into two pieces and fits into a suitcase, it sounds absolutely phenomenal.


          You should hear his other instruments (and you can, on the site). When I got my first full-size guitar from him I realized that my 1973 Martin D-35 sounded muffled and boomy by comparison, so I sent it to him for a top replacement. Now it's huge and bright.

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          • #6
            Wow. Sounds incredible! Congrats!

            How is he doing? I heard a few years ago that he'd had a stroke. Last I heard (had a very brief unrelated email exchange with him about his work), he seemed to be recovering well.

            The man makes absolutely incredible, magical instruments. The best guitar I've ever heard in my life was a small-bodied Greven with lacewood b/s and a Carpathian spruce top. And he seems like a super nice guy as well. I emailed him once to ask him about the lacewood he used (there are a few different species listed as "lacewood" by various suppliers), and he was nice enough to provide quite a lot of helpful information. Definitely one of my instrument-building heroes.

            Congrats again on an awesome instrument.
            I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn't. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.I.K.F.C.E.S.C.Potato SocietySAWG

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            • #7
              How is he doing? I heard a few years ago that he'd had a stroke.


              He's recovered nicely, and is cranking out his backlog as fast as he can.

              The man makes absolutely incredible, magical instruments. The best guitar I've ever heard in my life was a small-bodied Greven with lacewood b/s and a Carpathian spruce top. And he seems like a super nice guy as well. I emailed him once to ask him about the lacewood he used (there are a few different species listed as "lacewood" by various suppliers), and he was nice enough to provide quite a lot of helpful information. Definitely one of my instrument-building heroes.


              The first one he built for me has lacewood b/s. It's beautiful.



              And you're right, he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet. His guitars, although more expensive than the priciest off-the-shelf intruments, are a real bargain for custom-made guitars. Well worth the price and the wait.

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              • #8
                It's beautiful.




                Understatement.
                I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn't. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.I.K.F.C.E.S.C.Potato SocietySAWG

                Comment


                • #9
                  Congrats! That Greven d00d seems like a cool character. He recently updated his website and now includes some rants.

                  http://www.grevenguitars.com/pdfs/MartinMyths.pdf
                  Frog Rock Tenor Uke
                  Frog Rock 00-12
                  The thing with Chinese guitars is that when I play one, half an hour later I want to play it again... -- Knockwood
                  If you know who wrote it, it ain't folk music. -- DHone
                  Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. -- Richard Feynman
                  De recta non tolerandum sunt. -- Monty Python

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                  • #10
                    Heh, I hadn't seen the Martin rant, but it fits my experience: the '73 Martin was overbuilt, with thick braces and a huge bridge plate. Since John replaced the top, it's a joy to play and rings like the proverbial bell.

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                    • #11
                      Here's a picture for comparison. A Greven top is on the left and my '73 Martin is on the right. The bridge plate is the most noticeable difference, but you can also see the massive upper-bout bracing and the thick unscalloped lower-bout and cross-bracing. The difference in tone is astounding.



                      (Astute viewers will notice that my old Martin was originally a left-handed guitar. It had been converted to right-handed, which some people say gives a different sound. All I know is that the old top sounded muddy.)

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                      • #12
                        The bridge plate is an interesting topic. The only thing that's certain is that a small bridge plate, like the one in the Greven, will lead to bellying of the top over time.

                        A larger bridge plate can actually work out better IMO as long as the plates are relatively thin. I stole this idea from Somogyi, who makes very responsive guitars.

                        Frog Rock Tenor Uke
                        Frog Rock 00-12
                        The thing with Chinese guitars is that when I play one, half an hour later I want to play it again... -- Knockwood
                        If you know who wrote it, it ain't folk music. -- DHone
                        Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. -- Richard Feynman
                        De recta non tolerandum sunt. -- Monty Python

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Congrats! That Greven d00d seems like a cool character. He recently updated his website and now includes some rants.

                          http://www.grevenguitars.com/pdfs/MartinMyths.pdf


                          Read this w/ much interest...and agreement.
                          God(s) bless the rest of the world(s), too

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The only thing that's certain is that a small bridge plate, like the one in the Greven, will lead to bellying of the top over time.


                            The bridge plate keeps the strings from tearing out. Bellying happens when the lower-bout braces come loose.

                            A larger bridge plate can actually work out better IMO as long as the plates are relatively thin. I stole this idea from Somogyi, who makes very responsive guitars.


                            That may be true. I'd like to hear one of those guitars.

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                            • #15
                              The bridge plate keeps the strings from tearing out. Bellying happens when the lower-bout braces come loose.


                              If you talk to Greven, I have no doubt he could tell you a lot about bridge rotation without any loose braces -- it's a common feature of vintage guitars.

                              Most builders simply accept it as something that happens to responsive guitars. Not me.

                              I like Somogyi's view of the bridge plate -- he believes a larger rigid plate helps move the X braces and that it should also extend more into the lower bout to help get the lower bout moving. As a side effect, a larger plate reduces the tendency to belly.
                              Frog Rock Tenor Uke
                              Frog Rock 00-12
                              The thing with Chinese guitars is that when I play one, half an hour later I want to play it again... -- Knockwood
                              If you know who wrote it, it ain't folk music. -- DHone
                              Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. -- Richard Feynman
                              De recta non tolerandum sunt. -- Monty Python

                              Comment



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