Thorns Over the Long Haul

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by redpill, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. redpill

    redpill Member

    Messages:
    1,231
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I am a former regular of the Gear Page who used to go by Lotus, among other names. I am also the owner of Thorns #55 and 56. I've had both for over 3 1/2 years now, and haven't bought another guitar since. When I made my order with Ron, he promised me he would build guitars that would inspire me. He delivered. Each guitar has resonance, character, and tonal range. Each one feels fantastic to play - now more than ever.

    I've never been so GAS-free for so long. I just wanted to provide a glowing long-term review, as we frequently read glowing reviews of gear that people just bought, and in the backs of our heads are probably wondering what happens when the honeymoon ends. With my Thorns at least, the love is permanent. Every other guitar I've had has come and gone, but these two aren't going anywhere unless I'm dead broke or lose an arm.
     
  2. Chops

    Chops Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,450
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    That's good to hear. I read a lot of gushing reviews here from people who have had a guitar for a day or two, and I always take them with a grain of salt. Great to see the Thorns are working for you long term.
     
  3. c-dub

    c-dub Member

    Messages:
    820
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Location:
    SC
    This is good for me to hear too, since they aint exactly cheap.
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,820
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Lotus/redpill,

    Good to hear from you again. If I recall correctly, you were one of the more level-headed folks back in the day. I'm glad the guitars are working for you. Do I remember correctly that they weren't all blinged out like some Thorns?

    Bryan
     
  5. rusmurf

    rusmurf Member

    Messages:
    187
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    Kensington, MD
    I've had mine for awhile now, never goes in the case.

    Other things come and go.

    Each Thorn was spec'd by the buyer, so alot of people will probably have different opinions about some of them. Some I've liked, some weren't for me, I've had the opportunity to try a bunch.
     
  6. Drunkagain

    Drunkagain Member

    Messages:
    614
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Going on 2 years with #107 and I still can't pull her out of the case without smiling like a goof. Ron makes amazing guitars!
     
  7. clarkram

    clarkram Member

    Messages:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Woodstock GA
    I've had No 20 for 4 1/2 yrs and HB 002 3 yrs plus. Great guitars, Lately the hollow body gets all the play time, but I usually rotate the main player with a Suhr T every few months.

    About a year ago I thought about selling the hollow body because it wasn't seeing much play time, but now its my favorite...go figure.
     
  8. prsflame

    prsflame Member

    Messages:
    2,965
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    I've had 131 and 132 since May, and Aug of 2006. I've done alot of recording with 132, and both guitars are gigged regularly. They exceeded my expectations in every way.
     
  9. DWB1960

    DWB1960 Senior Member

    Messages:
    22,006
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2005
    Location:
    SoCal by way of Boston
    Horses for courses. I've owned and ultimately sold 2 of them. Not because of any issues whatsoever with the guitars - absolute top shelf all the way - just because they simply didn't fit anymore when the honeymoon ended.

    To those having long term relationships with them: :AOK
     
  10. eric102673

    eric102673 Member

    Messages:
    689
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    VA
    I have 5 of them.

    I've been playing Thorn #10 for going on 6 years and it's still my favorite guitar of all time. I still get the occasional goosebumps and chills playing it. When I first got #10, it knocked my socks off. Way off. I'd never heard it's like before. What's funny is that I ordered it from Ron on a total lark. Up until that point I was a dyed in the wool vintage Gibson P-90 and PRS soapbar fan. Ron only had a couple instruments completed at the time. No hype. No nonsense. Just a fantastic instrument from an unknown guy. Guitars I have bought and subsequently sold include many vintage, high end and boutique guitars of all sorts and price ranges. So many it's rather embarassing to think about.

    I kept going back to Ron for 1 reason. He builds an absolute stellar guitar and if you really know what you want and listen to his advice, you can end up with a guitar that is hard to hold a candle to. At least where my money and ear has been concerned.

    That said, buying another guy's custom order isn't my bag and there are some Thorns that wouldn't and haven't done it for me tonally. There are some that also seem to have been ordered by folks who really either didn't know what they were looking for, or insisted on specs that just didn't add up.

    Still, Ron's repeatedly shown that he's dedicated to give folks exactly what they want, even if he may not agree with the choices himself. Can't blame the guy for trying to make someone else's dream come true.

    In the interests of the new TGP disclosure clause, I've been friends with Ron over the years. Pretty much since I first ordered from him. It's hard not to be friends with Ron actually.

    I also am the one who started the TNDP in 2003 because guys were increasingly asking about Ron's guitars on the old PRS Forum and the still relatively small GP. I was answering a lot of those posts and feeling awkward about it, like some jerky cheerleader for this unknown guy, simply because I found my new gutiar mind blowing, and had been through the order process. I was seeing a lot of what felt too spam-like to me from other builders and their buddies, and I didn't want to be that guy.

    Ron knew nothing of the TNDP until I told him about it after the fact. Rather than eating up tons of bandwidth talking about Ron's work with a slowly growing fan base, I wanted to take the party somewhere that folks wouldn't feel like they were spamming their fellow players and could discuss the ins and outs of everything from guitars in progress to the type of pie they like to eat. Like TGP with a much tighter focused group of players. Thus far, the TNDP has been completely funded by yours truly out of my own pocket. It's a small place but it's friendly, mellow and very very informed and an intelligent group of players, including some non-Thorn owners. I'm glad that Ron participates as it gives his fans a lot of insight into what he does and kind of pulls back the curtain. I've learned as much there as I have here.

    These days I'm relatively GAS free, though I have been known to buy a guitar here or there. Nothing that I've kept though. To me #10 is still my tonal heart's desire and the root of all of my enthusiasm for what Ron does. It's no more complicated than that.

    -e.
     
  11. PRSOPHILE

    PRSOPHILE Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    PRS-Land
    Howdy ALL!

    I still do have most of my guitars. Don't really like getting rid of any except for the ones that I know I'd just never get around to playing and that was only a few.........

    Now as for my Thorns, well, I've always been a fan of the traditional slab-board flat-topped Tele "ergos". It's what I've really just felt at home with. So when Ron & Team Jr90 started kicking out these Jr90's in every flavor but Strawberry, I was in orbit! Needless to say, I'm looking forward to see what the next salvo of Jr90's will be and each volley thereafter!

    I'm not trying to collect the entire set of Jr90's but man that would be a TRES-AWESOME RACK!

    Anyway, you won't meet a better person than Ron. The fact that his guitars are truly an extension of his ingenuity and style is just icing all over the place! I respect those who don't dig them but there aren't too many Thorns changing hands and I'd bet it's safe to say that there won't be too many doing so in the future.
     
  12. hansoloist

    hansoloist Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,981
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2002
    Location:
    NJ
    Selling my Thorn is my only guitar-related regret. Granted the money went towards a good cause (my wedding) and the guitar went to a good guy (a charming bloke in Hove) but I'll always miss it. I'll own one again...some day.

    Guys just don't come any nicer than Ron.

    peace
    -jeff
     
  13. bforest4

    bforest4 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,341
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    los angeles
    Really dig my 2 Thorns(#74 & #89), and have a few more coming! Between my Thorns for setneck/humbucker and P90 sounds, and my D'Pergo AVC strat for single coil, I am pretty happy right now!!
     
  14. Izy

    Izy Member

    Messages:
    439
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Location:
    The Red Dot
    Has Ron started taking orders??

    I have been waiting for the longest time to order a guitar from him.

    Still waiting.

    Maybe some of the learned people here can pm me and give me some advice to me on how i get order one from him.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  15. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    12,351
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    western ma
    Damn, what a reunion.

    Good to see posts from Ed, Lotus, and the rare hansoloist sighting.

    Lotus and Ed - where have you boys been?
     
  16. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,074
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Ron hasn't opened up custom orders again yet, but the Jr90's and some special Jr90 runs (like koa tops) are available.

    I've not gigged another guitar since getting 140. My band members used to make bets about what I'd show up with before that. Add to that my first one, second hand #18 and the Jr90 to get my P90 fix..I just couldn't be happier.

    Glad to see you around Matt.
     
  17. Izy

    Izy Member

    Messages:
    439
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Location:
    The Red Dot
    Thanks Big Mike for the info.

    Been wondering when Ron would be open to take custom orders again. I hope it will be soon.

    In the meanwhile i'll be save up and selling gear to make room so that i could order a thorn.
     
  18. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,442
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Northern California

    Keep an eye on the Jr. 90 page, there are many cool creations coming out of the shop...Koa, Flamed maple/korina, rosewood....:cool:
     
  19. Mark Ray

    Mark Ray We're Jammin' Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,186
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm still enthralled with #29. It is more than what I even imagined when Ron and I put the specs together. It was a completely stress free experience to order a guitar from Ron. He truly is a great human being who happens to be an artist of extremely high caliber.

    Mark
     
  20. daveS

    daveS lefty dude on hiatus Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,604
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Location:
    Between the San Andreas and Calaveras Faults
    I first inquired with Ron about a guitar back around July/August 2002. I can't remember where (probably PRS forum) but I saw a picture of a couple of his Koa guitars (#003 & #005) and saw some of his inlay work online. I remember thinking that I had never seen such an amazing looking guitar with Koa wood like that, matching wood pickup covers and the detailed inlay. The more info I discovered about Ron's work, the more I was sold.

    It was always hard for me to find a left handed guitar without paying a huge upcharge, but Ron was totally cool with it, and was already thinking about how to do it when we spoke. So, we started planning #016 mid 2002. I knew I wanted a Koa top, Limba body/neck, semi-hollow with single sound hole, and tremolo.....I was unsure about pickups and inlay though. I finally decided I wanted to try P90s, similar to what I saw in #003 and #005. We had a few challenges with mine due to neededing to find a lefty tremolo and lefty reverse taper pots. Ron had plenty of other stuff going on at that time too. By the beginning of 2003 I think the specs finally frozen and Ron was busy cutting wood. This was before the he had his monster CNC machine. If I remember correctly, Ron made my guitar on his early milling maching which I think he designed and built himself.

    I picked up #016 from Ron around X-mas 2003. Wow, I was pretty speecheless when I got the guitar. I was so floored by the way it looked and felt I actually fumbled quite a bit trying to play it....I was almost intimidated by it. :rotflmaoRon just left me in the front room with it and walked off into the shop with a big grin. It was the first time I had ordered a pure custom built guitar, my first Thorn, my first Koa guitar and my first P90 guitar. It was also a time in my life where things were terribly strained at home and work, and I needed a boost like this one. I was totally jazzed ! Ron came back with a camera to take a pic. The one funny thing is that while he was aiming the camera, he said to me "man you are holding that guitar too softly, hold it like you mean it man !" and he chuckled. So I copped a Hendrix chord and he snapped a photo. A great experience that day for sure.

    It wasn't until I got #016 home that I discovered how special this guitar was. Lightweight, flawless fretwork, well balanced and so reasonant and articulate that it sounded almost piano like. Played like butter and the neck was just so smooth it felt almost teflon coated. The guitar just puts a smile on my face...both unplugged and plugged in. The P90s were a pleasant surprise, although later I did swap the bridge p'up out for an original Bill Lawrence mini humbuker (for those 80s leads :rolleyes:). Ron's guitars have a lot of little hidden details that show how carefully thought out the insturment is (I discoverd this when I replaced the pickup). And the cool thing is that when you are finished helping the cool tones emanate from your Thorn guitar, you can hang it on the wall and just stare at it....they are stunning looking guitars.

    I've had #016 for about 4yrs now. I think it's the only lefty made thus far too. Ron was infinitely helpful, professional and patient through the whole process, a true gentleman. My #016 is the one of the best guitars I have ever owned. I can't see how I would ever part with this guitar as long as my fingers still work.....I just wish I had more of them (Thorn guitars not fingers :crazy) !

    -Dave
     

Share This Page