MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CNN) – Dave Rusan has made hand-made guitars for some of rock's biggest bands.
His clients include the Rolling Stones, The Who, and Sheryl Crow.
Rusan also created the "Cloud Guitar" that Prince used in his 1984 movie "Purple Rain."
He clearly remembers the day the artist walked into his shop, speaking in third person.
“He said, ‘Prince is gonna make a movie,’ and I remember thinking, ‘Oh geez, he’s going to make a movie. Huh, wow. And he needs a guitar built for the movie, and you’re going to make it,’” Rusan said.
When Prince died in 2016, Rusan saw a surge of people wanting him to build replicas of the guitar. So, he got the design trademarked in February.
"It's important to me,” Rusan said. “It's one of the highlights of my life, making the ones for Prince."
A short time after he trademarked it, the guitar maker said he received a letter from Paisley Park, Prince’s estate, asking him to give up his claims to the design.
“It’s like my legacy,” Rusan said. “It would feel real bad.”
He said he hopes it doesn’t come down to a legal battle, because he knows it would be lengthy and expensive.
"It's kind of a daunting thing,” he said. “I'm trying to run my business, too. At the same time, you know, I'm mostly by myself."
WCCO-TV reached out to representatives for Prince’s estate, but they declined to comment.