Meet Preston Thompson

Owner and Master Luthier

Our fine guitars are designed by master guitar luthier Preston Thompson. Discovered by bluegrass virtuosos Charles Sawtelle and Peter Rowan in the 1980s, Preston has built a reputation for handmade, original vintage guitars. He got his start building guitars under Charles Fox at the School of the Guitar Research & Design Center in Vermont, the first school for guitar makers in North America.

During the 1970s, he honed his guitar-making skills at the legendary Randy Wood’s Old Time Pickin’ Parlor, the center of Nashville’s bluegrass music jam scene. In the 1980s, Preston’s custom acoustic guitars attracted the attention of the top flatpicking and fingerstyle guitarists in the world. For three years in a row, his instruments were selected over other top brands as the choice of prize by the winner of the National Flatpicking Championships at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas.

His collaboration with bluegrass great Charles Sawtelle of Hot Rize gave Preston access to Sawtelle’s collection of rare and famous pre-war vintage instruments. The guitar Preston built for Sawtelle based on these studies became one of his most treasured instruments. And Preston uses his detailed measurements of those instruments to this day to create guitars that are coveted for their superlative sound, the beauty of their materials, and the precision of their construction.

Eric Bibb
It is wonderful to travel around the world and meet luthier’s from Finland to Australia and encounter wonderful instruments. Having said that I can honestly say that Preston’s guitars are the zenith for me. There is something about not only the sound, but the feel. This particular guitar just fits my hand in a way that is like a dream.

Eric Bibb

Grammy Nominated Musician
Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
I don’t know of anyone who has studied the inner workings of a pre-war guitar more thoroughly than Preston, but his instruments are not just the result of mathematical calculations; he also has that rare intuition which allows him to mold and shape sound and direct it in any direction he chooses.

Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Nov/Dec 2012
Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Every luthier yearns to have a guitar end up in the hands of a virtuoso who will use the creation onstage and in the studio. Sometimes these connections happen by chance, but other times they’re the result of a collaboration between builder and player. Such is the case with this Preston Thompson Dreadnought, which was built for—and played by—the late flatpicking star Charles Sawtelle.

Acoustic Guitar Magazine

February 2014
Dan Miller
The only guitar that Charles Sawtelle owned that was not a vintage guitar was one that had been built by Preston Thompson. Charles loved that guitar and it said a lot about Preston Thompson’s abilities as a builder for Charles to own that guitar. I have since met Preston and had the opportunity to play four or five of his new guitars and a couple of his older guitars. The workmanship, playability, and tone on every one of them are outstanding.

Dan Miller

Editor
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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine