Veteran builder Ron Kirn, noted for his Fender-inspired creations, has produced his first original design, and it exudes quality along with practical simplicity.
The Vaquero is an offset double-cut solidbody with mahogany neck and body, the latter sporting perfectly rendered contours and a satin nitrocellulose finish. The C-shaped neck has a 12″ radius and satin finish, with the heel and back of the headstock buffed to a glossy shine.
The medium/jumbo frets on our test guitar were perfectly set and crowned in a flawless ebony fretboard. Standard hardware and electronics include Graph Tech Ratio locking tuners, CTS pots, Signum stop tailpiece, single Volume and Tone controls (with abalone inlays), and a three-way toggle.
For firepower, the test guitar came with two Seymour Duncan Seth Lover pickups, though the Vaquero can be ordered in any configuration (and finish) desired by the player.
Plugged into a vintage Ampeg Reverberocket, those Seth Lovers delivered plenty of sparkle and chime at lower volume, with clear response in all positions. With a high-quality overdrive pedal, the guitar offered juicy, meaty tones and plenty of sustain, making it suitable for almost any style of music. Chords and bending were a breeze. The Vaquero stayed in tune beautifully, even with the vagaries of Garden State humidity. Weighing in at under nine pounds, it’s not featherweight, but it’s also not a boat anchor. Strapped on, there was no neck dive, and it was comfortable to play seated for extended periods.
The Kirn Vaquero is a solid choice for a reliable and comfortable gigging solidbody adept at a variety of styles.
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.