Q: Where can I play a Ronin?
A: We have worked out a deal with Cliff, the owner of LA Vintage Gear in Burbank CA to act on our before and provide a fantastic shop to get your hands on our guitars. We will set aside instruments from each capsule collection to be showcased on LA Vintage Gear so check with Cliff regularly. Other locations in the United States, Europe and Japan are currently under development.
Q: Do you take custom orders?
A: At this time, we are NOT accepting customer orders. Exceptions will be made for south paw players and specific overseas buyers on a case by case basis. If there is something you would like us to make, please feel free to send a request and we will consider it on our next build run. Join the Ronin Buyers Club Newsletter and you'll get first dibs when the new builds are available for sale on our site.
Q: How does Salvaged Old Growth Redwood compare to other tone woods?
A: Our vertical grain, reclaimed old growth redwood is some of the oldest wood in the world and exhibits some of the most inspired musical qualities a tone wood could posses. The simplest answer to this question is that the wood sounds broken in, as if it has been played every day for a 100 years. The strength-to-weight ratio is fantastic, making it easy to build balanced musical instruments. Unlike other softer tone woods such as cedar, pine or spruce, redwood is not fibrous but rather brittle and can splinter. This "dry, earthy snap" provides a frequency response where the midrange is natural and musical, the high end sweet yet richly nuanced and the bass response sustained and strong. You will know it's a Ronin the moment you strum the first un-plugged chord. You can feel the resonance in the neck and body travel right through your chest. The sustain of a Ronin is the result of strong sound generation within the instrument and the voicing of our proprietary pickup designs. Our collection of reclaimed old growth redwood is separated in our wood vault by its density and location where it was salvaged. Further separation occurs when we choose the model of Ronin—our extensive experience with this wood allows us to fine tune the instrument by selecting the proper piece of the instrument's final voice.
Q: What is the Tornipulator and how does it work?
A: The Tornipulator was invented by David Torn and was first used in a guitar built by visionary luthier Uli Teufell. Master Luthier Saul Koll also installed his version of the Tornipulator into David's Tornado guitar. Ronin has built David three instruments, all of which have our version of the Tornipulator. While it is mostly unchanged from the other versions, the Ronin Tornipulator has its own particular wiring schematic which yields the best results for our Mirari and Morningstar models.
The specialized shaker mic capsule inside the Tornipulator is activated by a momentary button that bypasses the pickups. The second button induces noise via ground lift and the third button is a kill switch.
Q: What is the Magic Button or Resonant Switch?
A: This switch is an option on the Mirari and Morningstar models and activates a specialized passive piezo wafer which resides in the bridge pickup cavity route. When activated, the body becomes alive and can be played like a drum! The tremolo springs become widely vocal and the instrument can general a wide array of dobro, steel-string, banjo and sitar inspired sounds—all while blending with the sound from the pickups. The "sweet spot" comes from rolling your volume knob off about 10-15% although many other uses have been found by adjusting your controls, amp and playing technique. Switching between pickups and using your tone control will all have an impact on the sound. Using this feature at louder-than-bedroom levels is advised to achieve themes versatility. This feature is meant to be a fun way to create texture and atmosphere and does not take away from the core functions of the instrument.
Q: Why do you use Roasted Maple on some neck builds?
A: The torification or "roasting" of tone woods can increase stability, resonance (sound velocity) and reduce weight. The process is very particular and over roasting the wood WILL destroy it. The first time we worked with a neck blank of properly roasted maple I knew within the first 10 seconds of carving that I would love the way it sounds. The gummy, dead qualities which maple possess were all but gone and the maple now reminded me of what I love most about the ancient reclaimed redwood we use for our body wood.
Q: Are your pickups for sale separately and do they fit in standard routes?
A: Our pickup designs are completely proprietary and do NOT fit any standard route. We are considering selling small quantities of our pickups designs in the near future—www.foilbucker.com is the website to visit so you can get on a list to receive the latest information regarding these matters.
Q: What kind of tone capacitors do you use?
All Ronin instruments use vintage NOS tone capacitors which are sourced from some of the most extensive collections from the 50's and 60's military-grade manufacturing. Each cap is tested in the guitar before it gets to stay in the instrument—this ensures each instrument has the proper tone-roll off voicing. Pyramid, Sprague, Gudeman, and some hard to find Russian caps are among the most common brands we have come to love.