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Greven Prairie State Acoustic Guitar "Prototype" Built For Stephan Grossman

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Greg's Gear
Rochester, MN, United States
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About This Listing

Extremely rare! Corresponding with Mr Greven about this guitar, he stated only two prototypes were made before building and modifying the future production line of his Prairie State guitars. From what I understand, only 14 others were built after the prototypes and he discontinued the line in 2018. This Prairie State I have listed was built for Stephan Grossman as the posted emails state.  That means there is only two of these guitars in the world, considering the other prototype still exists. If your are a collector of rare guitars, or Greven guitars, this would be a nice addition to your collection, "once in a lifetime find". This guitar was sent back to Mr Greven from the previous owner for a re-top and neck reset, plays and sounds wonderful. No cracks, lifting of bridge, scratches or structural issues whatsoever. The neck is straight and the intonation is perfect. There is no discernible fretwear.  This guitar does have your usual handling marks for a guitar of its age, I would rate its condition 9+. This guitar has been well taken care of and is kept in a climate controlled music room, 45/55% humidity levels. Verification as to its authenticity is the emails listed below between myself, John Greven and Stephan Grossman. A copy of these emails will accompany the guitar. As stated by Mr Greven below: "The warranty is not to the original owner, but to the guitar, so whoever owns it is also entitled to full warranty coverage".

This jumbo features a 17” lower bout, built along the lines of the famous Larson Brothers Prairie State models built in the 20’s and 30’s.

Full specs are as follows:

Shape - 6-String Jumbo
Back & Sides - East Indian Rosewood
Top - Select Sitka Spruce
Soundhole Rosette - Three Ring
Neck - Mahogany
Fretboard - Ebony with Binding
Fretboard Inlay - Abalone Snowflakes
Headstock Overlay - Indian Rosewood
Binding - Ivoroid
Bridge - Ebony Pyramid
Nut & Saddle - Bone
Scale Length - 25 1/2"
Neck Width at Nut - 1 3/4"
Saddle Spacing - 2 1/4"
Lower Bout - 17"
Upper Bout: - 12 5/8"
Waist - 10 1/4"
Body Depth - 3 7/8"
Body Length - 20"
Overall Length - 41"
Case - Hardshell

This guitar is in excellent shape, 9+ with low action and no issues to speak of. It is a rare guitar built by one of the most iconic builder of our time.


Emails to John Greven:  
Mr Greven.  
I am interested in purchasing this guitar from an online retailer but would like to confirm their listing is true and correct.  Below is their statement on the guitar.  
Thank you for your time; Greg.
This is the Prairie State prototype model built by John Greven and it was originally owned by Stefan Grossman, the original label reflected this. In 2011 the guitar was sent back to John for a neck reset by the previous owner, at which time John suggested the guitar would need to be re topped. All work was done by John himself.

Yes, I remember the guitar. I reset the neck and did a new top (something I am known for), so it should be in fine shape. I should also let you know that my warranty is not to the original owner, but to the guitar, so whoever owns it is also entitled to full warranty coverage.   This means I do the work without cost to the owner provided you/they pay shipping to return it to me and I do the work and pay for return shipping.   That way, I know my instruments are properly taken care of rather than being worked on by a potentially under skilled repairperson. I take care of my "kids".


Thank you John for your reply.  
Was this guitar originally labeled for Stefan Grossman as the listing stated?  Did you replaced the inner label after repair?  I know you are a busy man and really do appreciate your time to answer my questions. It's very seldom you get a reply from anyone, so I thank you so much.
Thanks again; Greg.  


I built a number of guitars for Stephan and the original label had his name on it as "his" model.   When it was reserviced, since it was no longer his personal guitar, he asked I change the label to my standard one.   It was built for him and he moved on to other makers after a long run with me. It is, in fact, a guitar he ordered from me. If I can be of further help, let me know, but that is a long time ago and my memory is a little fuzzy after all these years.



Mr Greven.

I emailed you the other day asking about this guitar and you responded that you did in fact remember doing a neck reset and re-top. I went ahead and purchased this guitar. I have attached three photos, could you look at them and tell me if this is in fact the guitar you built and repaired. Also, the retailer stated that this was the Prairie State prototype owned by Stephan Grossman but the inner label does not show this. I have 72 hours to accept the guitar or return it. I just want to make sure this is the real deal and not a copy. Thank you for your time. The serial number is 1336, I think that is what the neck block reads.


Yes, this is the one that I reserviced.   My warranty continues to you if you go with the purchase so anything that it needs now or later will be taken care of by me. These instruments are like my children and I want them well cared for.   Who better than the man who made it.



One last question:  
How many Prairie State models were made?


I made my first Prairie State models back in the mid 1990's when Stephan Grossman contacted me to make one for him based on his late 70's conversion of an original 17 inch Larson Brothers arch top model that Mario and John Lundburg's Berkley shop retopped as a flat top. Stephan sent me his Larson conversion and I built two repros of it at that time and several others to follow. I added the model, my version of it, to my line in 1994 and have made a total of 14 of them over the years. All different woods and tops and decoration, but this is one of the two originals taken from the Larson retop and so has no regular serial number. I would consider it one of the prototypes for my Prairie State guitar.   I recently discontinued building them (the last one is about the leave the shop next week for a customer) as my focus has changed to smaller guitars and getting the most power etc. from the small box rather than the 17 inch guitar size. The PS is a killer finger style instrument due to its real estate but thin box. The thinner PS box gives you tons of power but with a balanced bass to mids and highs without the boom of the added depth.



Emails to Stephan Grossman:


Mr Grossman.  
Thought you may like to take a trip down memory lane...  
I have seen you play many different guitars from Franklin, Prairie State and others. I always thought it would be nice to own one of these guitars and just by chance I came across an online listing:  
This is the Prairie State prototype model built by John Greven and it was originally owned by Stefan Grossman, the original label reflected this. In 2011 the guitar was sent back to John Greven for a neck reset by the previous owner, at which time John suggested the guitar would need to be re topped. All work was done by John himself.  
Before purchasing this guitar I contacted John Greven about the authenticity of this guitar. John stated that he remembered the guitar and the listing was correct. I purchased the guitar and now after playing it have a whole new desire to advance my playing skills. It helps to have a beautiful playing guitar such as this one. I have attached three photos of the guitar. If by chance this was not your guitar, it still is a Prairie State model and is a wonderful guitar.  
Thank you for your time; Greg  
I have several guitars made by John Greven, they’re beautiful guitars and great sounding. When John was interested in doing a replica of my Prairie State I sent the guitar to him.  
My Prairie State was from the 1920s but had been a flat-top F hole model. Jon Lundberg converted the guitar to a regular round hole flat-top. I used this guitar on recordings and performances.  
John copied the bridge that Lundberg had designed. He made a prototype and sent the guitar to me. Unfortunately Greven’s replica was about a ½” deeper then my Prairie State and as a result the sound was too bassy/tubby for my like and playing. I returned the guitar to John and asked him to remove my name from the model.  
That’s the story of that guitar and me.  
I hope you are enjoying it and that it suits your playing. Stay well, Stefan Grossman  
Mr Grossman.  
Thank you for the reply . Hope you have a prosperous 2018. Greg  
Shipping will be to the lower 48 only, confirmed address, no P.O. box.

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.

Product Specs

Listeda year ago
ConditionVery Good (Used)
Very Good items may show a few slight marks or scratches but are fully functional and in overall great shape.learn more
Made In
  • United States

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