Frank Brothers Guitars are the new Ron Thorn

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by dougk, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. dougk

    dougk Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,857
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Here me out before going right to pitchfork and torch status. I’m not getting into the design elelement, that’s purely personal and there’s no better than. Also, sometimes we tend to want to pick teams and simply suggesting a comparison of skills sets off people. Again, there’s no better than or worse here, just sharing my observations as fans of both.

    What I’ve always loved about Ron (and still do even though he’s Mr Big League now!) is Ron’s little details and using machines, the CNC in particular in incredibly interesting and innovative ways.

    I honestly think the best at this right now are the guys at Frank Brothers (the Brothers plus a small staff). They’ve just been killing it creatively, at details, at making the entire package a well thought out experience. Even their boxes are better than most/all!

    To really see what I’m talking about you need to follow their Instagram, stories in particular where most of the “behind the scenes” gets posted but here’s a few posts:

    Here’s their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frank_brothers/




    (This one really doesn’t explain what other posts does but their fret slot sizes vary based on what fret to help control the movement of the neck under tension)



    With all the discussion of “fake social media” and other negative news as of late here thought it would be refreshing to celebrate a builder who is really doing everything right. I kind of want to go work for them instead
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
    CRAIG4FSU, jiml, SciFlyer and 27 others like this.
  2. Halsey

    Halsey Member

    Messages:
    374
    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Craft wise, spot on. Only having one body design though... that’s where I see the difference between Thorn and them. Ron rocked so many rad designs.
     
    gerg6, lifeson1, derekd and 2 others like this.
  3. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,689
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Looks like good quality stuff, though I haven't seen or played one.

    The real charm with Thorn was that he combined great quality, innovation, design aesthetic, and service - all at a fair price. You can have one or two of these and will fail miserably. (Cue the long list of quality innovative builders who are no longer in business).
     
  4. rkharper

    rkharper Member

    Messages:
    776
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Location:
    Baden, Switzerland
    Doug, you are totally right. I just posted yesterday on their IG, that Ive been following them for quite a while, but the guitars get more desirable with each passing IG post!!
     
  5. pmjgear

    pmjgear Supporting Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2016
    Location:
    West Michigan
    I'll weigh in. I picked up my Ultra Light from Tim and Nick in Toronto a couple of months ago. Amazing, flawless work in every way. But the most remarkable thing about the process was how collaborative they were. Every detail matters. For instance, all of their screws are machine screws with metal inserts in the wood. They care as much as you that your guitar comes out perfectly.

    Case in point: My build has a pearloid overlay on the headstock. About a week before the guitar was ready, I got an email from Tim, saying:

    Excited for next weekend!​

    I have some pearl tuner buttons that fit on Gotoh Minis - I thought they would look great on your guitar! Let me know what you think! Photo attached.​

    If you're not into them, we can just stick with the classic open gear tuners :)
    So, I went with the Pearl buttons, and it was absolutely the right call. Take a look!



    There were several other instances where they steered me in right direction. Seriously great stuff. And such nice guys.
     
    Gilky, WornFrets, Hate_Crew and 6 others like this.
  6. pmjgear

    pmjgear Supporting Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2016
    Location:
    West Michigan
    Here's a full body shot!

     
    gerg6, Gilky, Sociophile and 15 others like this.
  7. j.s.tonehound

    j.s.tonehound Member

    Messages:
    7,078
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    Bright side of the sun
    Interesting thread. Nice to see other builders championing other builders!
     
    GaryMcT, WornFrets, lifeson1 and 2 others like this.
  8. scmavl

    scmavl Enjoyer Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,116
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    I was (and still am) a self-admitted Thorn fanboy, owning more of his guitars that I can remember over the past 7-8 years. I found Frank Brothers a couple of years ago via The Music Emporium, and subsequently purchased one of their newly released Arcade models used here on TGP. I was blown away by the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the guitar, all the way down to how they box it for shipping. The one I bought was pretty far off from the neck specs I usually play, so I custom ordered another Arcade to my specs. I've posted before how the brothers were insanely easy and pleasant to work with, always willing to try my ideas within the confines of their model (custom pickguard, logo, inlays, etc). They delivered a stunning looking and fabulous playing guitar to me. I'm very fortunate to still own a few @Ron Thorn guitars (and a bass!), as well as this @Mr.Frank guitar. I'll probably look to order an Ultra-Light Signature model in the near future.


     
  9. scmavl

    scmavl Enjoyer Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,116
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    Oh, and @dougk I think they also harness some Yanuziello mojo. Joe is their neighbor up in Toronto, and I've seen him do similar things with switch tips and whatnot. He also stays mainly in the ballpark of a single guitar shape. What is is about Canadians and insanely good builds? Ron, Joe, the Franks... Are YOU a Canuck too Doug, as you definitely wield the wand of guitar design wizardry? :aok
     
    Jpdiff likes this.
  10. dbeeman

    dbeeman Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    DFW
    Like their approach. Shape is not my cup of tea.
     
  11. Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,720
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Wooaaahhh that is an absolute stunner. Holy cow.
     
    pmjgear likes this.
  12. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,689
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    It is difficult to come up with a distinctive shape these days. The Frank body profile takes some getting used to. but the headstock works with the body IMO.

    I have always thought it was a good idea for a manufacturer to start with one body/headstock shape until they are very well established. It gives them a clear identity. Think PRS in the 80's.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    WornFrets and lexreverb like this.
  13. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    12,863
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    What do they sound like?
     
  14. cosmic_ape

    cosmic_ape Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,381
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I couldn't commit to that comparison until I played one of their guitars. A Thorn guitar always looked impeccable. The aesthetics and attention to detail were there in spades, sure. But as soon as you played one, that's when you truly knew you were in the presence of greatness. To play a guitar that makes the ones you already own seem "cute", in comparison. That's what Ron's guitars brought to the table to me. Whatever it is you dig, but better.

    Been playing my Thorn S/S all weekend. Gotta get back to it now, I need to practice!
     
    Sociophile likes this.
  15. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,317
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    The River Bottom, CA.
    Thanks for the head’s up! @dougk
    Frank Brothers guitars look super cool
     
  16. dougk

    dougk Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,857
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    They are the most interesting to follow account on Instagram if you’re a “how we do it” junkie like me.

    They are also incredibly fun folks to drink beer with ;)
     
  17. dougk

    dougk Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,857
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Must be all the snow and riding to work on the back of a moose.

    The other thing is these guys are young (as a business), seeing what they’ve done and the creativity they’ve come up with in the last five years has been amazing. Can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
     
  18. pirateflynn

    pirateflynn Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,317
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Location:
    The River Bottom, CA.
    What do you know? Two of my favorite pastimes. Ha!
     
    Calebz likes this.
  19. big mike

    big mike Plexi Loving Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,677
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    Here, there and everywhere
    Backing away slowly.....

    ;)
     
    Gilky, Layne-o, GaryMcT and 1 other person like this.
  20. saintjohn89

    saintjohn89 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,049
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    The guitar I have from them is stunning. It’s a copper top with mini buckers and a bigsby. Just a stunning guitar. Stunning. That and my Arcturus are lifetime guitars for sure.

    And @dougk you’re not kidding about their box. I was probably way too excited about the quality of the packaging. No detail or expense spared on presenting an instrument that just rocks.

    Did I say it was stunning? Well, it’s stunning.
     
    RayRay and pirateflynn like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice