RIP. Every guitar repairman like me is thankful for all the knowledge you shared with us all.
A great loss. Through Frets.com he has been my most important teacher. RIP.
Frank was a visionary teacher and communicator, a phenomenally knowledgeable luthier, and just a lovely guy. When you look at the quality and quantity of stuff on frets.com, and then recall that he compiled most of that stuff back in the 1990s when the internet was in its wild infancy - it is extraordinary. I started to get into guitar building and tinkering about 15 years ago and I ate up everything that Frank wrote. He achieved the perfect balance of technical content, clear communication and humour. Also excellent photography and presentation.
I live in Australia but in 2007 I was traveling in the SanFran Bay area and of course made a couple of visits to Gryphon Stringed Instruments. I bought a Martin 000-15 as a 21st birthday present for my son (and really should have bought that used Lowden that I tried and still think about). Anyway, Frank was in the house, sitting up at the repair bench in a loud Hawaiian shirt, and I went up and introduced myself as a wannabe luthier from Australia who loved frets.com and thanked him for all of the great teaching. He then gave me about 45 minutes of his valuable time showing me all over his workshop and pulling all kinds of cool instruments out of cases in the back of the shop. I felt like a kid being given a personal tour of the candy shop by Willy Wonka himself. Such a generous and self-effacing guy, but totally boss at the same time. Years later my son also visited Gryphon and mentioned it to me later - "I chatted for ages with this old guy in a really bad shirt who knew everything about vintage Martins, so cool!". I said, "yep you obviously met Frank". Farewell Sir, you were one-of-a-kind.
Wow what a shock to hear this sad news, RIP Frank.
Frank's knowledge and skill knew no bounds, and he shared so much so freely. I learned so much back in the day that has continuously guided me through my instrument repair and building journey.
He caused me to put “try another way” into my luthier’s toolbox.
He will be sadly missed.
I'm so sad about Frank's passing.
I have never met him, yet I feel like I've always known Frank. He taught me so much with all the knowledge he's shared over so many years, I sure feel he's been one of my most beloved teachers. We repair guys and gals, as a community, owe so much to Frank's generosity. I'm just hoping he fully realized what an impact his selfless sharing of knowledge and expertise had on so many.
My deepest sympathies to the family and friends… all over the world.
Yes, I'll sure miss him. Even though Frank's health has been bad for several years, it just seemed like he'd hang in there forever. I'll add some personal anecdotes, if that's ok with y'all. Frank and I have been friends since I was in High School; he was my brother's college roommate, and I'd come up to Santa Barbara to visit sometimes. We'd talk about slot cars, old mandolins, and early Country Music artists like the Louvin brothers and the Blue Sky Boys, which we were both hooked on. When Frank and Richard opened the first pocket-sized Gryphon I'd go up and visit. After they built a very nice F5 mandolin I asked them to build me one. I'm still waiting.
I saw Gryphon grow, and Frank and Richard become heroes of old acoustic instruments, and I got the foolish notion to follow their lead. So about 5 years after they opened, I opened Shade Tree Stringed Instruments down in Orange County. My focus was more on instrument sales and teaching, and I encouraged them to expand beyond repair.
Frank, ever the curmudgeon, would never come to the annual music trade show, NAMM, but the rest of us west coast acoustic music mafia would cruise the booths together, and meet to eat, drink, and gossip in the evenings.
He taught me how to reset Martin necks, and graciously rescued me from a few repair nightmares I got into. I've learned a bunch of cool tricks from Frank over the years, and I'm proud to say I've shown him one or two too!
Yeah, he'll be missed by lots of folks. I'm sure he was bummed that he didn't die with a chisel in his hand, Lord, Lord.
So sorry to see Frank Go.
I never expected him go before Willie Nelson!
I took one repair workshop with Frank, and have thought of him as a friend ever since.
Frank, with a few others of his time, with the new movement toward openness in the trade,
started the world down the road to the Golden Age of Guitars and acoustic instruments, that
we live in today! His influence will live to my end, and I’m sure well beyond.
I just saw this post a moment ago and I am so sorry to hear of Frank's passing. I first met Frank in the early 1970's at the "old" Gryphon location in Palo Alto. Though I have never been a super serious luthier, I have dabbled in it for several years. Frank was Always a source of inspiration to me and a fountain of knowledge, which he gave freely to myself and others with abundant generosity. His creativity at problem solving was unusually gifted and insightful. He definitely left a mark on the world and I feel blessed to have known him. RIP Frank
RIP. Great loss for the community.
Fantastic Frank. A superb craftsman with a wealth of information to share.
I've just seen this, and this has made me very sad. Frank taught me so much about everything, and not just about repairing guitars. He was a pioneer in so many areas, way ahead of his time.
Now every time I use his " Frank the gripper " tool, I'll think of him.