Los Angeles, CA


Ron Thorn is regarded in guitar circles as a builder's builder. He's been the Fender Custom Shop's sole inlay artist since 1995, a Fender Custom Shop Principal Master Builder and later the Director of Master Builder Operations, and has produced his own line of guitars under the Thorn name since 2000. Ron's instruments are renowned for their impeccable build quality, innovative features, effortless playability, and inspiring tones.

Meet the Thorn SoCal C/S

C/S Body Shape

The Califonia Special's unique body shape creates a really comfortable seated playing experience. The shortened lower horn allows for effortless upper fret access while also placing the neck at the perfect playing position when seated.

Thorn VC-50 Pickups

Each VC-50 pickup is wound in-house, allowing for ultimate control over tone and quality. The unique placement of the 3 single coil pickups on the C/S allows for a wider range of familiar-yet-new Strat-like tones.

*Pictured with Thorn's 1-Piece Trem.

Precision Lock Neck Joint

Ron's design joins the neck and body via a custom CNC-machined dovetail lap joint which results in 8% more contact surface area vs traditional neck joints. This design yields an incredibly solid coupling of the neck and body along with increased sustain.

Hidden Fret Ends

Thorn's fingerboards feature "hidden fret ends", a process Ron pioneered years ago. Each fret slot is curved and stops .070" from the edge of the fretboard prior to installing each fret. This serves both an aesthetic and functional purpose, creating a clean look and eliminating the chance of fret-sprout in the future.


The California Special offers three unique, Thorn bridge designs:

  • a Tail-Side Vibrato (pictured)
  • a 1-Piece Trem
  • a Hardtail

All three designs offer exceptional tone, string to string balance, and tuning stability.

No String Tree

Ron designed the neck angle of the California Special to allow enough drop on the headstock to eliminate the need for a string tree. Coupled with staggered locking tuners and a lubricant infused nut, the lack of a string tree results in greater tuning stability and easier behind-the-nut bends.