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A great rosewood dreadnought with a few custom touches.

by Teja Gerken
October 07, 2020

Preston Thompson guitars enjoy a deserved reputation as some of the finest vintage-style steel-string guitars being built today. Not only do the company’s luthiers adhere to a high level of craftsmanship and have access to premium woods, they also benefit from their late founder Preston Thompson’s first-hand experience studying prewar dreadnoughts. Every Thompson guitar has a serious amount of vintage DNA, and I recently had a chance to check out a slightly customized D-EIA model. (This is the second D-EIA that has come through our studio; click here for our previous demo.) 

As Thompson’s standard rosewood dreadnought, the D-EIA is built with Indian rosewood back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top. I’ve come to expect Thompsons to be built with fine materials, and our demo guitar didn’t disappoint. The rosewood had a beautifully rich, chocolate-brown hue, and the spruce top had some exceptional medullary ray figure. The guitar was upgraded with an Ivoroid fingerboard and peghead binding, a three-ring abalone rosette, and a custom mountain inlay in the face of the peghead. While the guitar retained a basic style-28 character, these slight tweaks added a unique touch, a reminder that it doesn’t take extravagant changes to a stock model to create a more individual instrument. 

Tonally, the guitar continued the positive impression I remembered from the first D-EIA I checked out. It had a punchy, powerful dreadnought character, and its balanced tonality gave it a refined quality. Strumming big chords in the first position yielded great volume, but the guitar also offered great detail when played with a softer touch, and it felt highly dynamic throughout its range. 

Overall, this D-EIA once again made it clear that Thompson has a solid handle on building great dreadnoughts. As with any Thompson, individual customization is only a conversation away, and as this guitar shows, simple upgrades can have a big effect!

SPECS: 14-fret dreadnought body. Adirondack spruce top with prewar scalloped, advanced-X Adirondack bracing. Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. 2⅛-inch string spacing at the saddle. Nickel Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $7,440 ($6,200 base price). pktguitars.com

Category: Instruments & Gear

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