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Ron Kirn’s Templates . . end of an era…

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Ronkirn, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Gawd! could it be that long ago.. somewhere in the late 70’s or early 80’s… while perusing the pages of Guitar Player Magazine, I notice a couple of tiny adds in the back, some Turtle named Warmoth … you could actually buy a body and a neck… and make your own.. If I recall, Charvel was doing the same…. :)

    So anyway, I run into my friend, Alan Chester ( Alan maintained Molly Hatchett’s and Limp Bizskit’s guitars back when). . .at the Mall and ask him about ‘em.. he said he had seen a few, they were “close” but no cigar… I was shattered . . I’m like you, it’s perfection or the dumpster….

    Well I got to thinking… there has to be an alternative… I’m no stranger to a wood shop… perhaps . . all need is a template…

    So I begin a massive search lasting for a few years … the obvious places, StewMac, I think Luthier’s Mercantile was around.. First Quality Banjo was a big in in the Blue Grass world… I even wrote Fender… got the same response from them as if I had asked a Mullah for a pulled pork sandwich… :confused:

    I even wrote a number of the guys selling parts and related advertising in any guitar related magazine I could find..

    By the mid 80’s, there simply were no templates to be had… at least for sale… I’m sure someone somewhere had made a set.. they were just keeping it a secret… So . .

    I took a 54 Tele… Now in the mid 80’s you, me, anyone, could waddle into a pawn shop and find a stack of teles in the corner, all for under a hundred bux… so I made a set… My first templates…

    ‘Bout early ’90’s My best friend asks me to make him a Strat… nada biggie, so I knock it outta the park with Warmoth stuff… he’s stunned… says, “You should write a book about how to build these things, ’n put it on eBay.” “EEAAAAYYY?? what the heck is that?” he brought me up to speed… at that time all I did on the old 486 was write letters and play Aces of the Pacific .. eBay?? whut da??

    So anyway I do so…I write “Building the Ultimate Strat”.. put it on eBay, and WHAM!! sell, maybe 10,000 of ‘em the first year … they get circulated .. and I start getting hammered with eMails requesting everything imaginable.. including templates… not to mention requests for custom guitars… it also lead me to a lotta heavy weight guitarists, some have become good friends over the years.. and, of course, Bill Lawrence…. I do miss that guy...

    So I start making templates… a boat load of ‘em..

    Because of the booklet I was selling, I get contacted by a number of others in the boutique part of the industry…. Several have original Vintage guitars scheduled for refinishing because they were just too far gone with refin after refin…. we “work out the details", they send me the bodies.. I make the template, and make them a body… so.. I wind up making a 1950 Broadcaster, 53 Tele, 54 Strat, ’62 Strat 63 Jaguar, 52 P-Bass.. and on and on… I probably have 50 different guitars, all made from the original guitars..

    While that kinda accuracy isn’t at all important to the final project, some guys just like knowing their guitar is that close to something made in the “golden era”.. Doing so was easy to accommodate… and, despite my growing reputation by that time, the list of detractors decrying any supposed accuracy continued to grow too… However, they were indeed a dead spot on perfect copy of an authentic Vintage Fender guitar..

    That continued for about 10 years, until around 2006… by that time my name was becoming more and more well known… and I was busier ’n a long tail cat in a room fulluh rockin’ chairs….:cool:

    I stumbled on until the article in Premiere Guitar came out… then I was hit by an avalanche… Every day started out like the opening sequence in “Indiana Jones” where he’s running down the cave with the giant boulder right on his heels…. pant, pant… :eek:

    So.. I hand the templates off to my Son In Law, Pierre.. a pretty darn good wood worker too.. He’s happier than a Squirrel that broke into the Planters Peanut factory… cranking ‘em out…

    everything’s fine for years until a few years ago.. now everyone had a table top CNC, and can down load Terry’s DWG of the tele, or any one of a number of other fine drawings available.. and burn a set and sell ‘em for a few bux…. Even AlParts began offering Templates… few, if any, know where it started… ;)

    Now, again, those CNC babies are probably just fine, but far more of y’all than you would ever think, actually prefer hand made templates, made directly, . . . well within a generation or two . . . directly from the original guitars…

    Well, since making ‘em, packing ‘em and hauling ‘em to FedEx has to be cost effective, and since Pierre does own a real business …. it had simply become, no longer cost effective, even as a labor of love… it actually became a PITA… with the ever growing litany of questions and complaints due to a misunderstanding of the metrics and how whatever came to be… and guys that refuse the basic instruction to make a working set... then cut their originals in half, then want a replacement set for a few bux..:mad:

    So.. thanks for the memories everyone… both Pierre and I sincerely thank you for your business.. but Pierre’s router has been turned off for the last time…

    I’ll still continue to answer questions relative to the templates, and I’m contemplating doing a thread on how to use mine, and/or anyone else’s to accommodate the ubiquitous anomalies inherent in purchasing parts, et al, from various suppliers so you can make the guitar correctly. I still see glaring faux pas in many of the builds that make me cringe, but I just let it pass…

    I hope my sharing this “history” will answer those that are calling, emailing, sending in SWAT teams, after a set of templates, as to why they are no longer available..

    and to my detractors that seem to never get anything I say right, :D no, I'm not leaving the forums.. it's just that the templates are no longer for sale...


    Again,

    thanks to you all,

    Ron Kirn
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
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  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That is totally true. These young guys have no clue how one was on their own back then with no internet. In '83, I ended up making a makeshift pin router to copy a friend's tele body and a strat body I got from Veneman music through a catalog. Pattern bits didn't exist yet for DIY woodworkers. I was lucky enough to know a couple local repairmen who had some factory replacement fretboards to get me started and they also help me source some parts. Then Stewmac evolved from a banjo supply company a few years later. That was heaven!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  3. 6stringcowboy

    6stringcowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry I never got one of your templates.

    Congrats and thanks for all you've contributed to home guitar builders!
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  4. Bob.M

    Bob.M TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all you've done, Ron!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  5. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thank you, Ron. I'm lucky enough to have a set of your templates, so I'm in good shape.

    It's great having guys like you and Marty around. If I could work out a way to sit down and have dinner with you guys, you'd better believe I'd have you talking all night about the old days. It's because of guys like you two that guys like me can do what I do — standing on the shoulders of giants and all that.
     
  6. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    But will you still be selling the templates?
     
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  7. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

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    Ron,

    Thank you for your service to the community! Your guidance and advise will remain priceless. As long as you don't stop bringing logical commentary into threads about tone wood or breathable finishes, I think we'll all be ok!

    John
     
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  8. gpasq

    gpasq Friend of Leo's

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    I heard he's leaving the forums
     
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  9. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool post. Ron, you should be inducted as a Knight Templar.
     
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  10. brewsterallen

    brewsterallen Tele-Meister

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    Those things never worked anyway.
     
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  11. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Afflicted

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    I too an lucky enough to have a set of Rons templates.

    THANK YOU Ron!- Not only for the templates, but for answering all my dumb questions. I have learned a ton from you. THANKS.

    You da man.

    Jim
     
  12. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Damn, not going to be the same without him RIP in peace.
     
  13. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    Never "made my own", just partscasters from existing parts. But I love reading your posts, Ron. Informative, insightful and full of good humor.
     
  14. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

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    It really stinks that a "good ol' boy," "trail blazer," "OG," "true craftsman," or whatever you'd like to be called was pushed out. I appreciate your contributions to the forum and hope you don't find my actions overly egregious.
     
  15. mikeyb

    mikeyb Tele-Meister

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    Didn't think my templates would be a collectors item. Cool!
     
  16. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Afflicted

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    I am a Young guy, but not too young to remember when we didn't have the easily accessible information we do now. My first build Was in high school and all my info came from a poorly written book that really didn't promote guitar building even though titled "build your own electric guitar."

    The idea was build a partscaster and have a tech set it up. The resources weren't there and it took guys like Ron, and the blokes on this forum to create actual, useful, and demystified how-tos. I thank all the trend setters for giving us blokes the courage to merely believe it's possible to run out to the garage and cobble a playable guitar together.
     
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  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Ron, Ron, Ron, Ron, Ron Ron! (hand up)

    Can you make me a template and a body to go with it? Ron can ya can ya can ya? Pleease?

    OK seriously, let's make a deal...
     
  18. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I still have my original Patterns including thinline center template I got from Ron probably 13-4 years ago if memory serves. I have made use patterns over and over off them.

    Oh, and the two small booklets that came with. ;)

    Maybe I should e-Bay the originals, I shoulda asked Ron to sign them. ;)

    Nice post, thanks for the memory Ron.

    Ciao and Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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  19. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ron, you don't know me from a cake of soap, but I've been learning from your threads and feel like I know you! Great stuff, lots of joy.
     
  20. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Ron,
    Despite your apparent retirement from actual work, I'm so glad you aren't leaving the forum cuz your writing style would be missed worsen a fat kid on a diet misses cake.

    I wonder if you have any idea how many times you have posted "You've got mail" and an accompanying PM to a new poster here, and how thrilled all those folks must have been to find your booklets in their inbox. Like I was.

    That, Sir, is the mark of a caring, selfless mentor.

    Now you have me motivated to go finish up the mahogany Strat I began with your help and posted here:
    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/starting-my-first-strat-thank-you-mr-kirn.565550/

    Thanks for all you have done for us all and enjoy "retirement."

    Rex
     
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