Don Grosh spent his early years working around his father’s shop where he helped his father build sets for Hollywood film productions. That environment is where the vision, expert craftsmanship and attention to detail began to develop. In his father’s shop, Don became a journeyman level carpenter and also became proficient in metal work. Outside of the shop, Don built BMX bikes, worked on motorcycles and started building and working on guitars in his spare time. Don also became a guitarist himself. Realizing he had an innate vision and calling for craftsmanship and for the guitar, he started knocking on shop doors in the burgeoning Southern California guitar-building scene. It wouldn’t take long for his impact to be felt.
In 1985, Don joined Valley Arts, a famous guitar building shop in North Hollywood, California. The shop quickly grew to 35 employees with Don Grosh running the shop as Shop Foreman. Don and that team created guitars for such elite musicians as Larry Carlton, Steve Lukather, Jay Graydon, Lee Sklar, Vince Gill, Lee Ritenour and many others. Don remembers those times fondly, “Working with players of that caliber taught me a ton about dealing with very particular clients!”
After many years of building guitars for others, Don decided it was time to venture out on his own and pursue his vision of what a custom boutique guitar company should be. In 1993, Don started Don Grosh Custom Guitars in the 3-car garage attached to his parent’s house up a canyon in Santa Clarita, California. The vision was clear—to build hand-crafted custom guitars with the best tone, looks and playability available, and to build them from the from the ground up, from original design and concept to full production of the necks and bodies. The first three guitars built were Grosh-designed variations of a T shape: a Retro Classic Vintage T, a Flat Top Custom T with humbuckers and an Electric Classical nylon string. Later, an Electric Classical would find it’s way into the hands of multi-platinum and multi-Grammy award winner Brian McKnight. That is the guitar under Brian’s arm on the cover of his smash release “Back At One”.
The next original Don Grosh creation was the Retro Classic, an inspired take on that classic California double cutaway bolt-on neck design. Although inspired by that classic California-style guitar, Don conceived and designed every aspect of the Retro Classic from scratch, from the body dimensions, countours and routing to the neck design, construction and headstock. The goal was to create a truly revolutionary instrument with unmatched tone, looks, balance and playability. The Retro Classic has proven to be just that. In the April 1995 issue, Guitar Player Magazine reviewed the Retro Classic and handed out one of the highest reviews they have ever given any guitar … “Acoustically, the Retro is one of the beefiest and most buttery-sounding Strat-style axes we’ve ever heard. It really nails that aged magic usually absent in new instruments. Plugged into any of our amps, the Grosh yielded rich, complex, and incredible well-balanced tones. The Retro Classic is a superior choice for players who crave creamy Eric Johnson tones or for anyone who wants the sound and feel of an old Fender. This guitar plays exceedingly well, and the smooth, precise trem gave us no tuning headaches.” The Guitar Player review went on to say, “Don Grosh has really nailed the vintage formula, and the Retro earns our highest rating. You can follow many trails searching for a fine original or replica Strat, but it’s doubtful you’ll find anything that sounds or plays better than the Grosh.“
With the launch of the Retro Classic, the dealer base quickly grew to a handful of dealers in the first year. By 2001, Don’s shop had produced over 1000 instruments built entirely from the ground up. One at a time, each instrument would add to the growing Grosh legend and reputation. Don’s way of producing superior instruments proved to be just right for the demands of the worlds top professionals and fellow guitar enthusiasts the world over.
In August 2001, Grosh expanded into a new shop in a rented industrial space in Santa Clarita. That shop allowed for a larger team and increased production capacity. It also proved to be the birthplace of the Grosh Set Neck model. Drawing inspiration from the other camp of classic instruments, Don bravely set out to raise the bar once again. Launched in 2003, the Set Neck has proved to be just as ground breaking and visionary as the Retro Classic. Again, his work garnered praise and wonderful reviews from the guitar industry as a whole.
In 2005, with an eye on the future of the company, Don began searching for the ideal place to continue to grow the company and build a team. With family in Colorado, Don made the decision to relocate his family and the business to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Broomfield Colorado, just outside of Denver. In August 2005, Don acquired the current shop space and started building the team that would take Grosh Guitars to the next level.
Today Grosh Guitars is building guitars, basses and pickups at the highest quality level ever achieved. Don is still the driving force in the shop everyday, but now he has a team and a facility that is capable of creating more magical instruments with world class tone and old world craftsmanship. Grosh Guitars offers many different guitar, bass and pickup models that are all customizable and created from the ground up one at a time. Some things never change.
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