In 1982, at the age of 13, Ron Thorn was given a "Prestige" branded guitar neck from a friend. No body, no parts, no clue. Being raised in a family of carpenters and having a wood-shop at his disposal, turning this into a functioning electric guitar didn't require a second thought.
With Fair Warning cranking on the stereo, he and his father built and painted a custom shaped body. Junior-high "Metals" class is where a pickguard and bridge were hand-made, and a single Seymour Duncan pickup, purchased at a local music store, provided the heat.
Ron was off and running as a guitar player, but more importantly a guitar builder.
In 1993, Thorn Custom Inlay was officially born and by the mid '90s he and his father became the sole inlay artists for the Fender Custom Shop, a position he is still proud to retain today.
Late 2000, after a few years of building necks and bodies for numerous boutique builders,
Thorn Custom Guitars was launched with the Artisan series.
Exotic woods, intense inlays, and ultra-custom features resulted in every Artisan being a one-of-a-kind show piece, with a delivery time that matched.
With over 100 Artisans back-logged, Ron decided to stop taking orders for them in 2005.
In 2006, teaming up with John Gaudesi and Martin Bravo, a standardized model was offered with less options and a quick delivery. Based on the wood and pickup combination of Artisan #010,
the Junior Ninety model was a huge success and was built thru 2008 when they too were discontinued to make way for the SoCal series currently being offered.
After 10 years of operating out of the cozy 1500 sq. ft. "cave" under the bridge in Glendale, Thorn moved into their new 5000 sq. ft. shop in San Fernando in mid-2012 - corresponding with the introduction of the DeLuxe model.
The DeLuxe is based on a hybrid of the Artisans and the Junior Ninety models, with a vintage flavor and a taste of exquisite details.
On July 1st, 2014, after 9 months of R&D/tooling/prototyping, the Grantura was introduced. The most challenging and labor intensive model to date featuring a full laminated construction body - a technique very few builders can accomplish due to the specialized tooling and skills required.
The Grantura has once again set Thorn apart from all the rest.
Meet Team Thorn:
Austin MacNutt ~ Woodwork / Fretwork
Canadian born and bred, Austin's love of guitar started at an early age with the introduction of Rush and Loverboy...heh.
After graduating Musician Institute's "Guitar Craft Academy" he was immediately hired-on as an instructor where he taught guitar building for over 5 years.
Joining Team Thorn in 2010 part-time, Austin has come aboard full-time in 2012...we're lucky to have someone with such experience and skill.
Tony Ramirez ~ CNC Operator / Millwork
At the age of 15, Tony was offered the choice of his first car....a Fiat Uno, or his first guitar...a used Gibson SG. He wisely chose the SG and, being a lefty, flipped the nut and never looked back - smart kid.
Joining Team Thorn in 2003 as the CNC operator for the production inlay, Tony's chops have grown into machining most everything associated with Thorn Inlay and Guitars, from back plates and pickguards, thru fretboards and carve tops.
Martin Bravo ~ Paint
In this industry, few have been at it longer than Martin. Starting at BC Rich in the late 70's thru Valley Arts in the 90's, Martin's decades of experience shows in every Thorn nitro-lacquer finish that leaves the shop.
Steve Mather ~ Woodwork / Design
Another graduate turned instructor of 5 years at the Guitar Craft Academy, Steve joined Team Thorn in 2010 and with him brought not only a pair of hands highly skilled in the art of lutherie, but also an amzing eye for design and details.
"Pops" Thorn ~ Inlay
Due to the tremendous back-log of inlay work in the mid-90's, Pops stepped up to help out his son Ron and in the process quickly became one of the most talented inlay artists on the planet.
Even the tiniest of inlay pieces was no match for his 6'-6" frame and gigantic hands.
He has retired from working at the shop on a daily basis, but will still lend a hand from his home-shop cutting the sterling silver "Thorn" truss-rod cover inlays found on the DeLuxe and Grantura models in addition to custom work when required.
Ron Thorn ~ Woodwork / Assembly / Set-up
Art, engineering, craftsmanship. This has been Ron's passion in life and every Thorn Guitar is a representation of such.