Master-crafted instruments that strive for the pinnacle of 21st-century guitar lutherie.
The FV Premier was originally commissioned by jazz great Frank Vignola and built with the intention of providing versatile and clear acoustic tone with a fusion of Gypsy, archtop, and flattop sounds. This FV Premier boasts Lutz spruce for the top, figured cocobolo binding, walnut for the back and sides, and a mahogany neck that’s capped with an ebony fretboard. For electronics, the FV Premier is outfitted with a blade-style P-90 called the San Rafael.
Ryan Thorell got an early start building guitars at 14-years-old. He was already playing quite a bit at the time, and like many rockers his age, he was big into Metallica and Skid Row. It was fitting that his first guitar design included a “battle-axe headstock with an eyeball logo crying blood down the fretboard.”
One probably wouldn’t suspect the heavy metal background when checking out Thorell’s wares today. His master-crafted instruments—from archtops to flattops to nylon-stringed guitars and more—represent the pinnacle of high-end lutherie. In fact, his guitars are the go-to weapons for jazz extraordinaire Frank Vignola.
Thorell contends that the early stages of learning to play the guitar were most influential and defined his sense of the instrument. “I found that I had an affinity for an instrument to respond in certain ways and I really developed a good intuition for what a guitar needed to be able to do as a tool. Once I had really dedicated myself to building instruments, that became a good basis for my explorations in what can be done sonically and aesthetically,” says the luthier. “I also think of guitars like amps, in that I try to influence how they break up or don’t as you push them or play softly.”
Before setting out on his own, Thorell did about eight years of apprenticeships and says that he’s never stopped trying to learn and develop his skills. “I look at my guitars as communal pieces of art, in that they are my responses to what my clients are looking for. If I can build and design from a place of excitement and passion about what I do, all the motives and reasons are right.”
Thorell winds all his own pickups and mostly builds DeArmond-style pups with adjustable pole pieces housed in an ebony case. He uses a slightly wider aperture for the pickup and winds them hot so they’re a “bit fatter in tone but still really crisp.” He builds various other pickups and prefers to wind them himself because it gives him more quality control.
When it comes to tonewoods, Thorell admits he has a special affinity for walnut. “I have been around it my whole life. My grandfather cut it and loved it, and I’ve used it everywhere. There is nothing like Cache Valley black walnut,” he says. “I love other woods, and even other walnuts, but local handsawn walnut always gives me reverence. I’ve also been using a lot of Douglas fir.”
One obstacle Thorell faces as a boutique builder is that some guitarists don’t consider a finely built instrument as a worthy investment when there are many less-expensive options. “It’s unlike the violin or classical guitar world where there are a large amount of great inexpensive instruments, but serious players know and have a tradition of seeking out instruments that respond as fully as possible and allow them more freedom of expression. In those worlds, it’s the experience more than the name that people are purchasing and they are willing to make a proper investment because they appreciate the rewards.”
When asked what model best represents his work, the luthier says it’s always his latest build. “Every one is so unique and I approach each with such passion that it’s hard to see it any other way. It is more of a timeline than a product line.”
Pricing and Availability
Thorell’s shop is located in Logan, Utah, where he builds approximately 20 guitars annually with the help of his apprentice of two years, Nate Wood. Thorell guitars are sold both direct and through a handful of global dealers, with a wait time of about a year. Prices vary greatly from $5,500 to $20,000 depending on build options (most of these instruments are custom designs).
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This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA
MLA Pedals AC/OD - Music & Demo by A. Barrero
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials