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Thorn Custom Guitars

A look at Ron Thorn''s custom offerings.

A local go-to repair guy since his teens, Thorn Custom Guitars owner Ron Thorn has been offering custom inlay and other guitar design and builder services to numerous companies since 1993. In 2000 he began putting the Thorn name on the headstocks of some of the many guitars he was building. Together with his father and the rest of “team Thorn”—John Gaudesi, Nick Viglienzoni, Tony Ramirez, Glenn Matejzel and Martin Bravo—Thorn’s Glendale, CA operation builds approximately 50 custom guitars a year and also provides custom inlay services for many guitar manufactures, such as the Fender Custom Shop, Ibanez, Schecter, Yamaha, and numerous boutique builders.

SoCal Custom Series
The first two models of Thorn’s new SoCal Custom Series are the R/S and the G/T. They feature black limba and white limba (korina) bodies and necks and quartersawn Honduran Rosewood fretboards. All pickups are made in-house, with multiple configurations available for both models, including Thorn’s GT-90 Staple Top pickups. Bourns Mil-spec pots, CRL switches, and Switchcraft jacks are standard components on the SoCals. Custom wiring and control configurations are optional.

Two bridges are offered on the SoCals. The Thorn tremolo is an exclusive one-piece solid brass tremolo that pivots on 6 knife-edged screws, with an adjustable push-in stainless steel arm and coupled with locking staggered tuners (no string trees) for tuning stability. The other bridge is the newest version of the 2TEK hardtail.

Each string saddle sits on an individual “tonal finger,” which separates each string from the other five. Gotoh locking/adjustable post-height tuners, Tusq nuts, Jescar fretwire (nickel or stainless) and Dunlop Straploks are standard. Thorn also custom-machines the G/T control plate, shifting the middle knob away from the switch for better pinky clearance. The R/S pickguards are also machined in-house allowing for a variety of materials and pickup/control configurations. SoCal Custom Construction Thorn’s Precision Lock neck pocket design provides 8% more solid contact surface area over a traditional neck pocket by interlocking the neck and body through a custom CNC-machined dovetail lap joint. Stainless Steel machine screws threaded into inserts installed under the fretboard mate the body and neck into a completely rock-solid, sustain-enhancing coupling. The 2+2 ferrule and back-plate configuration allows for a comfortable contoured heel and effortless upper-fret access.

The fretboards feature “hidden fret-ends,” a process Thorn pioneered seven years ago. The curved fretslots stop .070 from the edge of the fretboard, creating a clean look while eliminating chance of fret-sprout in the future. The scale length is 25.5" with a 10" fingerboard radius. The neck carves are hand-shaped to customer’s specifications. Inlays are mastodon ivory, including the Firesun design on the 12th fret, and finishes are ultrathin nitrocellulose lacquer.