Update on Frank's Cranks Availability

Frank's Cranks Update

The first batch of Frank’s Cranks sold out very quickly and we were surprised, delighted and overwhelmed with the response. We thought the initial batch of 60 would last us a few weeks but they sold out in 24 hours. Our long-time pal Grant Groberg, who has taken on the job of completing the last made-by-Frank examples, will have another batch ready in a few weeks. We’ve set up an email address specifically for those who want updates on when the next batch will be available:

frankscranks@gryphonstrings.com

Everyone who sends an inquiry to that address will be notified when more Frank’s Cranks are available. We don’t have an exact count of how many cranks will be in the final batch, or what sizes they will be. We’re sorry, but we can’t respond to emails about Frank’s Cranks individually.

Thanks again for your support. It means the world to us.

The Gryphon Crew

P.S. We will only use your email address for Frank’s Cranks updates.


The Story of Frank's Cranks

During his long career as a luthier and instrument fixer-upper, Frank Ford tried just about every string winder out there. He was frustrated by the generally wobbly nature of the rotating joint as well as the potential for the hard plastic head to scratch the sides of a headstock. About twenty years ago, he started teaching himself metalworking and machining, and he began playing with string winder designs off and on, eventually settling on the current design that corrected the faults of the cheaper units.

Frank designed the head of his winder to fit the tuner buttons closely, an important part of their utility. Also, The head was soft and resilient to help avoid scratching sensitive finishes, even if it does happen to make contact. They had a seven-degree offset angle for the handle to mimic wrist action and make the winder track more accurately. And they were fitted with a full-length bearing in the handle for stability. Frank’s Cranks have the heft of a real tool because it's made of aluminum, brass and steel.

At first, Frank made his winders for his own use. He then made a few as gifts for people in the luthier community whose work he admired. Before long, though, people began noticing them in repair shops around the country and began asking if Frank could make some to sell. When time permitted, Frank would fabricate the parts in his home workshop and then assemble the winders while watching reruns of Perry Mason. They proved to be quite popular and over the years we sold quite a few through the store.

Sadly, as Frank’s health declined, he lost the dexterity needed to assemble the string winders. When he passed away, he had enough parts to make about 150 or so. Frank hated leaving a job half done and his widow Joy wanted to get the remaining string winders finished as a tribute to him.

We got in touch with our old pal Grant Groberg, who had worked with Frank on numerous projects over the years and he agreed to assemble them for us. Thanks to his efforts, we now have a limited number on hand for sale, five versions with acrylic handles and one with rosewood. We are donating a portion of each string winder sale to the Frank Ford Scholarship Fund, which will help aspiring luthiers attend the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery. And in case you're wondering, Frank's favorite colors were a tossup between the orange & black and the green & purple.