Click on the links below for Thorell guitars currently for sale and available to audition:

James Romeyn proudly introduces a new, fresh, and modern interpretation of the “Orchestra Model” theme: Thorell “Corina” Flattop S/N 010-069 , Adirondack Spruce, Wild Olive Wood from Zambia , brimming with museum quality trim, dressed in modern elegance (“The Band” poster signed by Rick Danko not included).  Click here for a YouTube video of professional guitarist Paul Asbell playing this Thorell flattop, recorded live at the Summer ’10 Montreal Guitar Show!

This oh-so-sweet, “fat” sounding, and quick playing jazz arch top was just reviewed by Downbeat Magazine’s resident pro guitarist! Look for the rave review, images, and an interview with builder Ryan Thorell in Downbeat Magazine!
Thorell “The Sweet E” Arch Top S/N 0965 , Blonde, Carved Ebony Pick Guard

Thorell “The Grand” Flattop S/N 09-067, Turquoise Rosette, First Thorell Grand Auditorium

Click on links below for information on other Thorell guitars of interest, such as…

Tommy Emmanuel’s Custom Thorell “F.V. Premier” Arch Top, a gift from Frank Vignola to Tommy

Further Notes on Thorell Guitars

Orders are gladly accepted for most guitar types. It is rare to find a luthier equally adept at building the many different types of guitars described below; Ryan Thorell is one of those rare builders.

  • Classical
  • Electric solid body
  • The “Gianina”, a rare nylon string arch top
  • A complete line of jazz arch tops including the line endorsed by and named after the great Frank Vignola, who switched to Thorell after playing Benedetto for twenty years
  • The Sexy Sadie electric, 8-strings…on one neck! Images coming.
  • Electric bass, 4 or 5 string, fretted or fretless…coming are details of a 4-string fretted bass scheduled for December 2010 delivery. Prepare for an eye-opener: hybrid solid-hollow body, magnetic neck pickup, piezo bridge pickup, possibly stereo output. It will include a never before seen, adjust on the fly feature to maximize versatility of expression and adaptability to different playing styles…a new benchmark in bass guitars.

Thorell Flattop Line

  • Corina, similar in size to Martin OM or 000.  Click on Thorell Guitars for the link to our Corina for sale now.
  • The Grand, a grand auditorium size.  Click on Thorell Guitars for the link to the first Thorell grand auditorium size, for sale now.
  • The jumbo Guardsman
  • Dreadnaught

Flattop Nut (Neck) Widths and String Spacing at the Saddle

The standard nut width for OM style guitars is 1-3/4″; 12-strings usually measure 1-7/8″.  Even for my large hands and fingers the fret board was too wide on a 1-7/8″ R Taylor 6-string.  Our Thorell “The Grand” splits the difference at 1-13/16”, the same size recommended by finger style guitarist Eric Schoenberg.

I intend to always have on hand one flattop with a 1-3/4″ nut (such as our Thorell Corina) and another flattop with 1-13/16″.  Guitarists can then decide for themselves which is ideal.  I think dealers who do not promote this valuable service are remiss.  After careful comparison I prefer 1-13/16″  by significant margin.  You must know your ideal nut width before purchasing a guitar this costly.  You can’t know till you try the available sizes.  Weigh the outcome of your comparison if the neck shapes differ.

For our Thorell “The Grand” flattop Ryan specified 2-5/16” string spacing at the saddle, slightly wider than his normal spacing.

The Sound of Thorell Guitars

Below are my experiences hearing Thorell guitars, mostly live, in a few instances via recording. Future plans include high-quality recording equipment for our acoustically treated media room to allow web users to hear as many Thorell guitars as possible via links at this site.

  • Ryan played for me one of his Gianina, a special small nylon-string jazz arch-top (few makers of such guitars)
  • A Thorell Dreadnaught, mahogany top/sides/back, the first Thorell I saw or heard…sounded magnificent just minutes after being strung for the first time ever. I generally prefer the sound characteristics of rosewood type back/sides. But I do enjoy a great mahogany guitar, and know the difference between a good one and a great one. This was a great guitar. This brand new Dreadnaught had the rich, glowing, bronze, “bourbon” tone you want and expect from the best mahogany accompanied by the command, projection and dynamics associated with rosewood.
  • Corina flat top, owned and played by local professional Austin Weyand http://austinweyand.showitsite.com/ heard live at Crumb Brothers Bakery, Logan, Utah. Austin’s Thorell Corina can be heard on Austin’s downloads available at his website and his CD.  My brokerage was launched by presenting Austin on Saturday 9 January 2010 at the Mead Ballroom, Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas, in a live vs. recorded demonstration.
  • Corina flattop, actual guitar owned by Frank Vignola, Adirondack spruce top, mahogany side/back. This guitar is reported to outperform Vignola’s ’37 Martin D18 (some prewar Martin Dreadnaughts are valued over $100k). I played Ryan Thorell’s own very nice sounding late ‘70s Martin D28. Back in the day, owing a nice D28 was like dying and going to guitar heaven. Then Ryan took his D28 and gave me a much smaller guitar of unknown identity. After one chord I felt the Martin’s pain. I extolled the small guitar’s virtues, played some more, then turned it and read Thorell on the headstock, noting its smallness compared to the D28. Its improved clarity, crispness, harmonic sweetness and delicacy were certainly expected, but it was shocking to find it punch in a weight class above the D28 in dynamics, bass power and midbass presence. I alternated between playing it and turning it to see its face, to mentally connect its size and performance. Frank Vignola’s “F.V. Flattop” (Corina body size/shape) shattered all preconceived notions for guitars in its size category. I wanted to bring that guitar home right then.  I regret not taking images of that guitar when I had the chance.  You might think it was another nice small guitar till you start its motor and hit the gas pedal.
  • “The Grand” flattop. I commissioned and now have for sale the first ever Thorell grand auditorium: Adirondack top, Wild Olive Wood from Zambia side/back set, exquisite one of a kind turquoise/walnut/ebony rosette (more details elsewhere at this site)…one of the best sounding flattops I’ve played.
  • A Thorell classical guitar, rosewood side/back, incredible sustain and tonal quality, played for me by the builder
  • Two Sweet E jazz arch tops, one sunburst owned by a local musician who played at our Christmas 2008 home party, one blonde currently for sale at $11,990 and listed under Thorell Guitars.
  • Frank Vignola “Studio” jazz arch top heard on Frank’s CD “Looking Up”

Both myself and a professional bass player note that one of Thorell’s trademarks is that higher up the neck the guitars maintain a consistent attack, sustain, presence and purity of tone, even high up the high E string. Just picking my own Thorell up and hitting a few solo notes, its sweetness and delicacy higher up the neck are noted, even after a few months of ownership.

My two other favorite flat top builders are Steve Klein and Eric Schoenberg. Klein is estimated to be in his mid-50s and Schoenberg is maybe a bit senior (I wait patiently for my own senior discounts in a few years). The fact that Ryan Thorell, much younger in age, can be mentioned in the same breath with the above two highly respected builders is a fitting tribute to his level of skill and promises great things for his future and that of guitar lovers.

Personal Customer Services

Customers will receive every reasonable amenity and accommodation for a pleasant experience with this brokerage.

I will take accurate notes of your desires and dreams, wood and performance preferences. The notes will be forwarded to builder Ryan Thorell for feedback, and this cycle will continue until your dream guitar is documented and agreed to in writing. I will forward pictures of the exact woods to be used for your specific instrument.
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After we all agree on the exact guitar build specs and materials, an invoice is sent showing the total amount due and 25% deposit required. An ETA will be put in writing. Current lead time is 11-12 months.

At times during construction and convenient to builder Ryan Thorell I will visit the shop (seven minute drive from me), take images, write notes from Thorell regarding construction progress, post images and notes at my blog and/or send images privately to you.

Payment Methods

  • Direct Bank Deposit
  • Paypal
  • Money Order only from recognized institutions; merchandise paid for by money order is shipped only after the issuing institution confirms the instrument has cleared. Please be aware such payment is not same as cash.
  • Cashier’s Check only from recognized banking institution located in the continental 48 states of the USA. Merchandise paid for by Cashier’s Check is shipped only after the issuing institution confirms the instrument has cleared. Please be aware such payment is not same as cash.

Personal Notes on Thorell Flat Tops

I played electric bass years ago but my greatest experience is playing flat tops; it is fun conversing about the fine points separating the good from the very best.
Flat Top Sizes

The following will help customers in their choice of flat top size.

The largest guitars (Dreadnaughts) are desirable for their volume to play with banjos and mandolins. They generally have less harmonic sweetness and treble performance. While considering my second Thorell I recalled a $25k Klein jumbo that combined bass, loudness and harmonic sweetness like no other large guitar. Ryan said he is familiar with the drawbacks of large guitars and knows how to work around their pitfalls to deliver balanced tonal quality. The Guardsman jumbo looked very attractive.

Soon thereafter, during a visit to Thorell’s shop, I carefully held and considered the feel, size and proportions of a Thorell Guardsman jumbo, a Martin D28 and a Thorell “Corina” (the smallest Thorell flat top). The Guardsman and Dreadnaught stressed my right forearm and shoulder, and felt more cumbersome while being moved about or playing, seated or standing. Even at 6-3 235 lbs the Corina’s comfort and compactness was preferred.

I highly recommend the most ardent jumbo or Dreadnaught audition a Thorell “The Grand” or a Thorell “Corina” to compare overall performance.  A Thorell Corina belonging to Frank Vignola played much louder and had stronger bass than Thorell’s nice Martin D28. The Grand is 10-15% larger than the Corina. Any size player can appreciate both the Corina and The Grand.  Smaller to moderate sized players may prefer the size of the Corina.  Players of any size who desire just that much more bass and volume will appreciate The Grand.

An all-mahogany Thorell Dreadnaught played loud and big as expected, and with exceptional tonal balance and harmonic richness. The only other large guitar that could touch it was a $25k Klein. If you must have the volume and bass impact of this size guitar, Thorell will deliver superior nuance and harmonic richness.

Any of the four models are highly and enthusiastically recommended; my personal pick is The Grand.