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Thorn Artisan “Beauty of the Black” #1

Thorn Artisan “Beauty of the Black” #1

Price: $--SOLD

inquire - info@crguitars.com

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mahogany body/top/neck

The tonal signature of this guitar owes its foundation to Ron’s astute wood selection, and the hand-wound Thorn staple top GT-90 pickups give the electric tone a full dynamic balance, with solid bass, clear trebles and no midrange push. At a very comfortable 8.5 pounds the guitar has very impressive sustain and warmth, and yet it is incredibly articulate.

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CRAIG'S POV

In the mid 2000s Ron Thorn developed the Artisan Series, guitars that were inspired by historic designs, but with Ron’s exacting detail work. He brought all of his legendary skills to the Artisan guitars, and the committed Thorn fans that got one were over the moon about them.

Most of us merely clamber toward perfection in whatever we do, but rare is the person that actually gets close. It takes years of devotion to something, patiently moving forward step by step, and especially not wavering, having the determination and grit to keep growing. Ron Thorn’s reputation as a world class luther is well established at this point, not least by his enduring work as the primary inlay artist for the Fender custom shop since the mid 1990s. His own guitars are coveted by a growing group of players and collectors who found him in their search for the very best guitars being made.

But the Artisan guitars were a lot of work, and Thorn put the design on hiatus, at least in part due to the considerable time it took to construct such masterpieces.

Fast forward ten years, and I asked Ron to rekindle a version of his design for a run of six sunburst finish instruments for CR Guitars. The results were so extraordinary, and so appreciated by the players who took the instruments home, that we considered the venture an eminent success. We then decided to think about another limited series, this time a run of four guitars inspired by the fabled late 1950s Black Beauty, of course with some important Thorn touches!

This is the first one in the series, and it is a stunning guitar. It's difficult to really describe Thorn’s artistry, the perfection of every joint, of every line. If you know Ron’s work, you know his mastery over build technique, and as a craftsperson he is second to none. So instead let’s talk about the tone.

I love Gibson guitars, and early in my career I thought Gibson instruments were the ideal. Later, working professionally, I realized that there was something in the clarity and articulation of Fender style instruments that made them better tools for my working life as a guitarist. Playing Fender style guitars I came to really appreciate and depend on the way they were able to speak very clearly, both in the recording studio and on the bandstand.

The greatest ‘bursts that I have played also had impressive articulation, but the lion’s share of mahogany solid body / set neck instruments often lack clarity to my ears, and the tone can seem muddy. Of course, there is a warmth and sustain in these guitars that for many players is worth the trade off, but I wanted all the warmth and none of the muddiness, and I knew Ron was the luthier to make this happen.

The tonal signature of this guitar owes its foundation to Ron’s astute wood selection, and the hand-wound Thorn staple top GT-90 pickups give the electric tone a full dynamic balance, with solid bass, clear trebles and no midrange push. At a very comfortable 8.5 pounds the guitar has very impressive sustain and warmth, and yet it is incredibly articulate. From clean tones to mild overdrive to rich harmonic distortion there is a throaty quality to the notes that never falters and stays dynamic and crisp. Rock and blues guitarists will be keenly appreciative of Thorn’s ability to refine the details of this design and open a spectrum of nuance rarely available in such instruments. Jazz guitarists will love the balance of warmth and clarity, especially those that play in true electric jazz settings.

The finish has startling depth, a black that reminds me of the ocean in the middle of the night. Its easy to imagine an infinity of music just waiting to emerge from the depths, and all that is required is your hands and heart

There are luthiers that do amazing work as a craftsperson, those that excel at the aesthetics or vintage vibe, and still others who focus totally on achieving magical tone, but its not particularly common to have all three in equal measure. Ron is such a luthier, someone I might call a total guitarmaker, and this beauty of black—like a black opal—captures the essence of its historical forebear but moves the design closer to the ideal than the original makers dreamed possible.

If you'd like to find out more about this item, just call or e-mail me. It would be my pleasure to talk to you about it.

ABOUT THORN CUSTOM GUITARS
Raised in a family of carpenters, Ron Thorn had access to a home wood shop for as long as he can remember. Repairing, modifying and building guitars since age 13, his specialty became precision inlay work and by the mid '90s he became the sole inlay artist for the Fender Custom Shop, a position he is still proud to retain today. In 2000 Ron began putting the Thorn name on the headstocks of some of the many guitars he was building and today, 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. Those who know, know Ron as one of the most brilliantly talented luthiers and inlay artists of the 21st century. It is a reputation that has earned him a following that is best described as "near fanatical."

Serial #Artisan LTD, series Five, 1/4
BodyHonduran mahogany
Tophand carved Honduran mahogany
NeckHonduran mahogany
Fretboardebony
Neck carvefat back ~ .880 / .980
Radius12"
Fretwire6150
Headstock inlaysmother of pearl "T"
Input jack platealuminium reinforced cream plastic to eliminate cracking
Back platesbakelite
Tunerscustom locking Sperzel for straight string pull
Truss rod coverengraved 2-ply
Switchmil-spec 3-way toggle
PickupsThorn Staple Top GT-90 in both positions
Pickguqardblack bakelite
Finishnitro-lacquer in Raven Black
Weight8.5 pounds
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