Ryan Thorell's unique and toneful Frank Vignola signature model has a carved top that is only about half the depth of a traditional archtop guitar; add to that hybrid gypsy guitar bracing and Thorell has a guitar that is both loud and stable while maintaining a bright, pleasant tone whether the player is comping chords or playing a melody line.
He likes to use myrtle wood from the Pacific coast of Oregon for the backs and sides of his guitars because, as he says, "it rings like maple on steroids." He also uses mahogany for his bodies and necks, as well as spruce tops. Some guitars have big leaf maple bodies or birdseye maple necks, and he uses both ivoroid and koa for binding on different models. Thorell finishes his guitars with nitro.
The pickup on the Frank Vignola Signature is custom wound for Thorell by Pete Biltoft. He uses minihumbuckers and humbucker-sized split-coil single coils by the same winder. He sometimes puts oil-and-paper capacitors into his tone circuits, and has his electronics integrated very cleanly into his hand-carved ebony and rosewood pickguards.
Thorell's guitars are loud and have a lot of presence, but they are not harsh or brittle sounding. The harder they're played, the more bass comes out, but the sound never breaks up or suffers imbalance. The necks are fast and clean, with hidden fret ends to keep the look clean.
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