The former Fender Custom Shop Master Builder & Director has relaunched Thorn Custom Guitars with the brilliant SoCal C/S - this being one of the first 3 serial numbers.
If you're into boutique electric guitars, chances are pretty good that you've heard the name Ron Thorn. Ron has been in the industry for nearly 3 decades in various roles and capacities, such as:
Fender's sole inlay artist since 1995; in 2000 Ron started building guitars under his own name, gaining a loyal following amongst players in addition to establishing himself as a builder with serious chops; for the last 5 years he served as the Principal Master Builder at the Fender Custom Shop, and after 2 years he was appointed Director of Master Build Operations.
Ron is helping us kick off 2024 with a bang by re-launching Thorn Guitars, and we are excited to announce a) we're Thorn's sole dealer at the moment, and b) we just took delivery of a batch of the first SoCal C/S models Ron's made since leaving Fender.
While it can be hard to sum up everything we love about an instrument in a short write-up, we'll do our best to describe why we're so blown away by these guitars - and why we're thrilled Ron has decided to call The Music Emporium home.
Let's start with the C/S's atypical silhouette.
What might seem like an arbitrary shape to the casual observer actually has several well thought out benefits to the player - when playing in a seated position, the C/S's slightly offset shape balances perfectly while also angling the neck at the perfect playing position. It's subtle, but genius, and it makes the C/S exceptionally comfortable right off the bat.
Next, let's look at neck. The medium C neck carve, Ron's "hidden fret ends" (and phenomenal fret work), the 10" radius, lack of a string tree (due to a specially engineered neck angle making a string tree unnecessary), and Ron's ultra-stable dovetail neck joint make the C/S a joy to play. This is the sort of neck carve that simply works, beautifully, and "gets out of your way" when playing. There's no fighting it, thinking about it, no struggle....it simply becomes an extension of your left hand.
Electronics. The C/S is loaded with Ron's own in-house wound VC-50 pickups, and their atypical orientation and wiring (volume, tone, 5-way) offer up some really amazing tones - think expanded Strat-like tones and you'll be in the ballpark. There's more range and fatter bridge tones than a standard Strat....it's incredibly cool and inspiring whether you live in clean tone land, edge-of-breakup land, or love to get into EVH territory.
Last but not least...Ron's original bridge designs. The C/S comes in three bridge flavors - hardtail, 1-piece tremolo, and a 2 piece bridge & tremolo, the latter features Ron's "Brass Knuckle" saddle and ridiculously cool, touch-sensitive, and expressive tailside vibrato. The 1-piece tremolo, pictured here, has a very expressive, smooth travel with no tuning concerns whatsoever.
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.
photo credit: guitar.com