A great style-28 dreadnought made with Indian rosewood and Adirondack spruce.
by Teja Gerken
August 05, 2019
Preston Thompson Guitars offers guitars in all common flattop sizes, but the company’s reputation rests in no small part on its experience building excellent dreadnoughts. This goes back to company founder Preston Thompson’s roots in the bluegrass world, when he built guitars for Peter Rowan and Charles Sawtelle, among others. Sadly, Preston passed away earlier this year, but his work is being continued by the builders he trained in the company’s Sisters, Oregon, shop. We recently had a chance to check out a Thompson D-EIA, and in this video, I’m joined by Peghead Nation’s Scott Nygaard, who plays the guitar solo and in a duet with Peghead Nation fiddle instructor Chad Manning.
The D-EIA is Thompson’s standard rosewood dreadnought model. The guitar is built with an Adirondack spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, and conforms to standard style-28 specs. Our demo guitar’s specs are upgraded with binding on the fingerboard and peghead, both executed in white ivoroid to match the binding on the body. The woods used on the guitar are of very high quality: the Adirondack spruce top displays narrower grain than is commonly seen on Adirondack, and the Indian rosewood has the rich, reddish hue typically found on top-grade examples. Our demo guitar has generous neck dimensions that combine Thompson’s standard “soft-V” profile with a 1¾-inch nut and wide 2 ⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at the saddle.
Following tradition in its design and construction, the D-EIA also offers the tonal qualities you would expect from a great dreadnought. Played with a flatpick, it produced great punch and volume, but with more balance than many rosewood dreadnoughts. Played in a duet with fiddle, the guitar offered a rich, smooth chordal voice when providing backup and an extroverted character when soloing. But it’s not just a flatpicking machine; when I played the guitar fingerstyle, it produced great volume and complex tones, and the wider neck and string spacing felt great for playing without a pick.
Overall, the Thompson D-EIA is everything that a great style-28 guitar should be. It has a big, rich sound, enough versatility to work for pretty much anything that calls for a steel-string flattop, and its vintage-style looks will please traditionalists as well as anyone who wants a no-frills, high-quality guitar.
SPECS: 14-fret dreadnought body. Adirondack spruce top with scalloped, advanced-X Adirondack bracing. Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at the saddle. Nickel Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $6,600 ($6,200 base price). pktguitars.com
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