I was wondering, too. I kinda thought John's plan was for the guitar to keep moving along every 3 days or so...
Let us know where it is and what you think!
Yes...the guitar was at another "roadtrippers" house this last week, and is in the process of moving on to the next stop, but for some reason, the last person has elected not to post as of yet...which I thought was part of the deal...you get the guitar to play, in return, you post your review so we can track peoples thoughts as the guitar moves through the road trip...
Not sure what happened this week...maybe the road trip person had something come up which has delayed their posting. I do hope that they will offer their review...good, bad, or otherwise...as that was the purpose of this trip!
And, a follow up question: How many stops has the RTG had to date? What cities/towns?
I think this is such a great idea and unique way to connect us all in the common love of and interest in guitars!
Sorry for the delayed post, seems like life always gets in the way of my guitar obsession.
I had the Greven for 5 days (got it late Wednesday) and I got to play it quite a bit. I'm not a dreadnaught guy, so my take may be a little different than those who are more used to them than I. Having said that, for me, body size isn't that big of a deal.
I'm a big vintage fan and obviously this guitar fits the bill from an aesthetic point of view. The woods are beautiful and John's interpretation of the Martin craft is spot on. The first thing that struck me when I started to play it was the feel of the neck. It fit my hand perfectly and the action was very comfortable. It plays very comfortably up and down the neck and intonation was right on target. I had made a comment in previous posts about the coated strings that were on the guitar when I received it and I wanted to play it with both types of strings. I left the LifeSpans on for a couple of days and made mental notes as best as I could.
I put the J-17's on Sunday morning and continued to play for the rest of the morning. Certainly not an earth shattering difference, but there are so many small things that contribute to the tonal envelope and to my ear the J-17's bring out more of what this guitar has to offer.
I had a few of my guitar playing buddies over Sunday evening and each player spent about 20-30 minutes with the D-28 and I got only positive comments. All of these guys are good players, but this was their first exposure to a handmade guitar. They're not familiar with John's work, so their frame of reference is a little different than mine or most of the participants on this forum. It was interesting that a lot of their initial comments shared my first response to the neck shape and action. One of my buddies who normally plays a Taylor and raves about it's playability felt the Greven neck and playability was better. He played a couple of fingerstyle songs and I felt like it responded very well to the lighter touch. Not something I normally expect from a dreadnaught.
The tone of the guitar, to my ear, is just what I expected from John. I've played lots of John's guitars in the past and his tonal envelope and my preferences just seem to match. It's still a little tight, but I attribute that to the Adirondack top, and that will mature over time. I've talked with John many times about the Adi vs. Lutz comparison and these two builds seem to confirm his opinion that while both woods are great, you'll get more of the vintage sound "right out of the box" with the Lutz. I wish I'd gotten to play the Lutz topped D, but maybe someone who did can comment. OK, enough top talk............The volume on this one is excellent and what I particularly liked was that when you play it hard, it has all the volume and power you expect from a dreadnaught, but you can also play it softly, even fingerstyle and the response doesn't suffer. It really helped me to be able to play it and then immediately listen to someone else play it. I need to do more of that, as you hear different nuances as a player than you do as a listener. A very helpful exercise.
I sent it on it's way early Monday to Josh A. and he received it yesterday. He's in for a real treat as are all the participants. I know John really appreciates the feedback from everyone.
JimmyThis message has been edited. Last edited by: jcsw,
Sent you a PM.
Still have the Greven RTG here for a day or so. Spent quite a bit of time with it thus far, played the Lifespans/D'addarios/John Pearse PB Mediums. I love the guitar. A few things really stand out off the top of my head:
-I typically prefer the attack/decay of mahogany in dreadnoughts. I've owned a few RW dreads and found the fundamental tones would get lost in the 'chime'. Your guitar truly is the best of both worlds. The notes lead over the BRW chime, and retain a clarity I've never heard in a large BRW guitar before. Norman Blake-style playing is right at home on this baby.
Related to that is the headroom on the top. Jimmy and I swapped some emails, and I too am really impressed by the guitar's ability to be played hard without the loss of clarity. Drop the flatpick and do fingerstyle, and the tonal response is the exact same. Really remarkable. It's like a swiss army knife!!
-This thing plays like an electric, effortless. I agree with Jimmy, the neck is perfect.
I like guitars that can do several things. This is one of them. The fit and finish is remarkable as well.
. . . and where is the Greven RTG today ?
I hope it doesn't end up pictured on a milk carton !
I have the guitar. It arrived in West "by God" Virginia yesterday afternoon. I spent about two hours with it yesterday evening. I put a fresh set of EJ 17's on it and got down to business. I spent the biggest part of the evening a/b ing it to the 34-d. Tonight, I break out the Merrills, Saturday will be the Lucas, and Sunday will be the Collings. Life is good.
I was going to wait until tommorrow to post my review, just so I could spend another day with it. I have spent a good bit of time with it over the past couple of days. I sat it out in my living room and just went back and forth between in and the other guitars. You read a lot about what people say about a particular guitar maker, and often draw conclusions prematurely and that aren't always accurate when you get the guitar in your hands. I would like to start off by looking at the fit and finish on this guitar. I found the fit and finish on this guitar excellent. There were a copule of little things that I noticed, but I couldn't say for 100 percent the issues were becasue the guitar had been sent all over the country and the issues were due to handling, or the issues occured due to the handling process. Overall the guitar was beautiful. The pictures just don't do it justice. John added a beautiful toner to the top and the brazilian was stunning (and you guys know I'm not a lover of figured brw). The guitar has pins with tortise inlays that complemented the pick guard very well. I know its not all about how a guitar looks, but I think when you look at a guitar and "damn - that thing is pretty" - it just sort of does something with the bond between you and the guitar. This guitar has that. I have also picked up a stunning looking guitar and it sounded terrible - definitely not the case. The guitar was also very light. I was on par with the Cruz, Lucas and Merills within an ounce or two, although I didn't put any of them on the scales. Next comes the playability. This guitar had a killer action right out of the box. It was my favorite thing about the guitar. The guitar has a great action and great playability. The neck shape was sort of on the beefy side, which I liked. It is just beefy enought to make it comfortable. Probably closest to my Merrill d-28 (which I love the neck shape of). The string spacing perfect as well. It allowed for great strumming and picking. I play mostly with a pick and crank out your normal blue grass runs and riffs. Very nice here as well. Finally, the tone. This guitar has a very warm tone. I play down to about the fifth fret with barre chords and there are a couple of songs I play with the I capo on the third. This guitar didn't loose anything with the capo and the notes and chords were crisp anywhere you went. I wont say the guitar was overly powerful. I don't know that I expected it to be a cannon, per se. Tough to put into words, because I don't think its fair to put it up against guitars with more hours of play time or against builders with different philosophies. I'm trying to evaluate the guitar against my standards (what I want a guitar to sound like in my head) instead of what other guitars sound like. If I had to pick one word to describe this guitar, I would say "balanced", which I think is a good thing. It wasn't in your face loud/overwhelming, it wasn't overly bright in the trebles, and the bass was right on with the rest of the guitar. What could be done to improve this guitar? I'm not sure. It would all depend on what you you are shooting for. I personally would like to see a little more "oomph" or power in a dread. It wasn't dead by any means. John and I have emailed back and forth about some things. Would I buy a Greven? Absolutely. In my limited email conversations with John, I think he could nail whatever sound you were looking for out of a guitar. I would incorporate a couple of different things which John was very receptive to. Thanks very much to Mr. Greven for giving us the privelage to play one of his insturments. I was a great chance to play a great guitar, and experience the works of a great luthier.
Thank you Greg for a most thoughtful and insightful response to your playing sessions with the travel D. It is this kind of side by side comp-ing with guitars old and new-ish that provide me with data points for the next builds. Even after 50 years and 2100+ guitars, there is far more to learn than there is time left to do so.
One can never have too much good information, and this road trip is providing just that. Yes, it is quite subjective, but then, isn't it all really that way? Talk to me about the taste of a fine Pinot or the colors of a sunset or the sound of that revered "37 D-28 resting in the closet. We each have our "absolutes", but they are as individual as our signatures. I love it. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Thanks to all who have taken the time and effort to allow one of my guitars into your playing lives for a short stay. Your efforts are much appreciated. We have all learned something; I know I have.
The road trip has only two more stops and then my baby comes home for some R&R before leaving to its new owner. Thank you all for being such good sports. Now at least some of you can no longer say you have "never played a Greven".
Anybody in Chicago that wants to try this guitar out, please PM me and maybe we can get a small group meeting set up somewhere.
It's gotta be set up soon though as the guitar will be here soon, maybe even tomorrow.
Clean hands, cotten shirts and no metal buckles...
No suspenders & take the keys out of your pocket, too!!
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