Thorn, Heatley or Artinger?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Tim Pourciau, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Tim Pourciau

    Tim Pourciau Member

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    This is my first post on this forum, but i have been reading it for a few weeks now. I may soon be in the market for a custom hollow body guitar. I have been to the three of these luthier's websites and i am impressed with everything i read about all three. Who do you guys think makes the nicest hollow body double cutaway guitars. Of course, if there are more luthiers that i should check out, feel free to inform me of them. Thanks.
     
  2. niersbach

    niersbach Member

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    The biggest question is how long do you want to wait. 2nd is what you want the guitar to be, I mean if you want something that has fancy inlays and such then IMHO Ron is your man, but as far as a guitar goes, I have heard absolutely fantastic things about the Heatleys and I think he only has about a 3rd of the wait period that Ron has. I know nothing about the Artinger so I cant comment there. I called Heatley and he said the wait time is 4 - 6 months, call Ron and he will tell you over a year now I am sure as his backlog is growing rapidly since the announcement of the SC. Ron has only made a few hollowbodies (as in exactly 2 of them total) so you arent going to have too many solid opinions on how the guitar felt, played, etc... whereas the Heatleys there are quite a few more of them out there so you have a much better chance to research a Heatley also.. Now the semi-hollows, Ron has done a few more of those and he does the killer custom soundholes (that hammerhead shark still kills me, I check it out in the Thorn Gallery at least once a week!)
     
  3. Tim Pourciau

    Tim Pourciau Member

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    I did notice that the wait time was considerably longer with the Thorn. I want a full hollowbody. I really don't have to have any fancy inlays or anything like that. I really just want one with regular shaped f holes and a tailpiece. I really like the look of the thorn #28. I am sure either of these fine luthiers could make my guitar. I'd probably want a koa or cocobolo top and back and probably a korina neck.
     
  4. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    I think Ron Thorn has the best Koa stash in the world. His workmanship and attention to detail is incredible. I have seen his work on countless occasions, and it's stunning. Probably couldn't find a nicer guy and builder to collaborate with. I don't know much about Heatly, but have only heard great things about them also.

    Fwiw,

    Larry
     
  5. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    Talk to them both. I think that Scott has more options (Ie scale length) and body styles so if you want one of those two options that Ron doesn't present, Heatley would be your man.

    I really like Scots body styles. A fully hollow Moderm is ultra cool.

    cmn
     
  6. clarkram

    clarkram Member

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    Just wanted to add that while Ron has a reputation for fancy inlays his execution in building guitars is first rate.

    I own Thorn Hollowbody 002 and it has turned out to be one of the best and most versatile players (very stable tuning, solid feel) I have ever encountered.

    Clark
     
  7. PanamaCZ

    PanamaCZ Member

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    Tim,

    You wrote hollow-body and I don't know if you meant semi-hollow or full-hollow, but here's a link to a local guy that has a good reputation for hollow-body electrics. His standard offering is not a double-cut, but he may be willing to do one. I have no personal experience with his guitars, but his repair work is exceptional.

    Mike

    http://www.schroederguitarrepair.com/front.html
     
  8. Tim Pourciau

    Tim Pourciau Member

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    I wish the Heatley site had more of a gallery like the Thorn site has. I would love to see some hollow bodys other than just the base model on his site. Don't get me wrong, they are very impressive, but i am really looking for a koa top probably and a tailpiece. I know he can do it and probably has done it, i'd just like to see some pictures. The Thorn site is awesome. The cost calculator and all the options of wood you can choose is really helpful. I believe i will just have to call both guys and see what my best option is after i talk to them. Thanks for all the input.
     
  9. niersbach

    niersbach Member

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    HTat is the absolute best thing you can do. Both guys are really great to talk to and will have you gassing out of your mind within 15 minutes..I guaruntee it!! LOL By the end of hte day you will have 2 guitars on order!! LOL
     
  10. graydane

    graydane Member

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    I would have to agree Ron Thorn is the man. His attention to detail is 2nd to none. No disrepect to the other builders, but Ron is way out in front. Really look at the attention to detail i.e. hiden fret ends, back plate covers how they are attched, simple things most don't even notice. As far as the wait time, there is a reason why he has that backlog.
     
  11. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    Then you should already know the correct answer is to buy all 3 :dude
     
  12. Drunkagain

    Drunkagain Member

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    I don't think you'll go wrong with any of those guys.

    I'm partial to Ron Thorn though. I love the more classic look of his guitars and he's a f'ing great guy to deal with.
     
  13. scott

    scott Supporting Member

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    Tim- If you click around on my site you will see lots of guitars. On the under constuction page there is a about a dozen finished guitars. Also on the models pages if you click the pics at the bottom it will take you to that guitar. There must be almost 40 guitars on that site



    www.heatleyguitars.com
     
  14. twitch

    twitch Member

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    I can certainly appreciate Ron's work, and have played a few of his guitars. My question would be, have you been exposed to other builders guitars that you are saying Ron is way out in front of? Just curious.
     
  15. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    I've seen more than one guitar by each of the three builders. All three are VERY talented and they each have a solid reputation both as builders and equally important as people.

    While they each have their strengths, there is some conceptual overlap in their offerings, enough to make it a difficult choice. There is a difference in their price ranges and delivery times, but assuming those are not deciding factors, then I think the solution is simple. Call each of the three, tell them your goals and see which one of them makes you feel the most comfortable that you'll get what you're after. The great beauty of the situation is that you really can't make a bad choice. Given the talent pool that you're selecting from, whoever you choose is sure to build you a beautiful instrument.
     
  16. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    +1 +2 + 3

    that is the only way to go.

    cmn
     
  17. jamess

    jamess Silver Supporting Member

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    I am lucky enough to have a Thorn on order and a spectacular Heatley Rosewood Hollowbody in my living room so I have worked with both guys. Like the others here can vouch that thay are both super talented and super cool.

    I've never played a Thorn Hollowbody, but I can say with certainty that Scott's hollow's are superb. The tone, the feel, the craftsmanship are all first rate. My hollow is made from almost all rosewood and the sound is like no other instrument that I've heard. I love Scott's neck-thru tenon design. Is adds a resonance that goes on and on....

    Good luck with your choices. You really can't go wrong with any of these guys.
     
  18. MOJO

    MOJO Member

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    hey you ..get back to work!!!;) ahahaha

    (just joshing)

    like many have said before you can't go wrong with any of the 3 you mentioned

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    i have 2 thorn's ( the hammerhead shark guitar is one of mine) and ron is an absolute pleasure to work with and loves to try new things .Unbelievable quality instrument too.great guy

    he has 2 models a double cut and his new single cut instruments.. pretty much anything is possible with Ron
    as far as what you want to do with them

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    i have a Heatley on order ( as if you didn't quess that already) i haven't actually played any of guitars but i did not hesitate for a second ordering one..i have no doubts that my instrument is going to blow me away


    scott's also is a pleasure to work with and not afraid to try new things.. great stuff

    *big bonus points for having a number of different models to choice from* plus will do custom models if you like*

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    haven't played or heard an Artinger but have spoken a number of times with Matt,, very down to earth and personable guy..much like Scott and Ron

    has the 1 body shape that i know of but the skies the limit whatever the customer wants
     
  19. whoofnagle

    whoofnagle Member

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    I can say that Scott's work is top notch. He is very helpful and will answer all of your questions. Regarding wood selection - tell him what you want and he will get it. He is open to all suggestions and his workmanship( is very tight. He built me one hell of a guitar (My heatley )

    At the same time, Ron T is a great guy to and very talented builder. I have had the chance to play several of his guitars and should be getting my first Thorn at the beginning half of next year (Thorn #109 ). He too is a class act.

    As for Matt, I had the opportunity to hang out at his house in PA several years ago. He was in the process of building a guitar for a friend of mine. This guy is young and not as well known as some, but he too can build a fine guitar.

    All of the three you mentioned have loyal followings, as is evident frmo previous posts. I would call them all and tell them what you want and see what they have to say. I would not let their websites sway you too much because they all build sick guitars.

    Bill
     
  20. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Well said Mr. Soloway.:)

    Larry
     

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