For discerning lovers and collectors of high quality vintage acoustic guitars, finding an instrument built in the 1930s made from perfectly quarter-sawn Brazilian rosewood back and sides and a red spruce (Adirondack) top is tantamount to finding the Holy Grail. Materials of the quality available in the 1930s are extremely rare today and remain a major factor in why it is so challenging to reproduce guitars with that special sound and beauty.
In mid to late 1930’s, select Brazilian rosewood was harvested from the northeast Atlantic coastal plain of Brazil and shipped to Denmark for the furniture trade. A storm came up, and the ship carrying the harvested logs sank off the coast of Spain. For seventy years, it lay on the ocean floor until the wreck was discovered in the spring of 2005. The cargo of wood, so precious to people like us who care about the best in acoustic guitars, was salvaged, dried and milled. We were fortunate enough to acquire some of this lumber (limited supply left – currently not available), as well as, other salvaged Brazilian from old beams and have plied our craft to transform it from simple planes of wood, into stunning guitar back and side sets.
Preston Thompson Guitars are based on the original designs from the golden age of steel-string guitars—the 1930’s, when there was a “perfect storm” of great materials, talented craftsmen and innovative designs. Some of the most highly sought after (and valuable) vintage instruments originate from that era.
There are many salvaged Brazilian Rosewood logs, from both sea and land, that have the color, grain and glass-like tap tone of those instruments. With straight grain in stunning shades of burgundy, orange and burnt brown–this rare rosewood is as beautiful as anyone can find.
The quality and age of these old logs are all the more amazing given today’s very limited availability of Brazilian rosewood. Embargoes and trade agreement laws protecting endangered species have been put in place, making quality Brazilian a rarity. Old salvaged logs truly represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a custom-built instrument that will be as close to a “golden era” guitar as one can find in the market today.