Meet the Crew

Handbuilt by our family of craftsmen in Sisters, Oregon
It’s no accident that we’re situated in Sisters, Oregon, a town with a national reputation for Americana and roots music. Our shop is located right next door to The Belfry, an iconic music venue that also happens to be a converted church built in 1914. Each fall, the annual Sisters Folk Festival celebrates American music from folk to bluegrass to blues, drawing people from every corner of the country.

Our shop is always humming with the sound of power tools and music.  Life is good and we are busy working to get more guitars into the hands of talented players, while still closely maintaining our personalized, handcrafted quality. If you find yourself in Sisters, stop by to say hello, tour the shop, and play a guitar.


Meet the Shop Crew

Gareth Jenkins

Gareth Jenkins

Builder and Tone Tech
Gareth's woodworking skills started in furniture and accessory lines sold in galleries.  His skills were honed over many years.  His first musical instruments he made were dulcimers and he crafted many of them for his friends and family.  His love of music and his woodworking skills led to studying guitar building at the Charles Fox school.  Master luthier John Greven from Portland and Gareth had a mutual friend and the connection turned into an apprenticeship in guitar building. Gareth met Preston in 2012 at the River City Musical festival where Preston was exhibiting a few of his guitars.  They kept in touch and then Preston floated the idea of Gareth moving to Sisters and helping him take his one man operation to another level.  Gareth has been here ever since filling many roles over the last 5 years.  He is responsible for voicing all the guitars using his skills to hand graduate the tops, brace each guitar and then carves the braces to maximize the response and sound. His long time love of playing Bluegrass music and being one of the hosts for KBOO radio's "Music from the True Vine" helps us hone into the various players on the scene.   He knowledge is extensive and has also helped in reaching out to people interested in these types of guitars.
 

Simon Haycraft

Simon Haycraft

Inlay, Builder & Finisher
Simon is originally from the UK and has been in Central Oregon for over 15 years.  He attended the “A” Level Art, Stratford-upon-Avon College and then received a National Diploma in Design – fine art, graphics and photography.  His interest in the outdoors led him to pursue a Higher National Diploma in Wildlife Illustration adding to his artistic education. Simon loves the marriage of art, craftsmanship and technology, which guitar making incorporates all of these elements.  His interest in wood and working with a natural product, along with his talent with paint finishes works well with expressing his artistic ideas in the color work on our sunbursts and designing special inlays for custom guitars. He is a keen fisherman and this inspires other art projects, outside of guitar making, that focus on his fascination with lakes and rivers and the creatures that inhabit them. Water has become a recurring theme in his work and he uses a variety of media in pursuit of its depiction. We can't say enough of what Simon contributes to the look and feel of a Thompson guitar.    

Joel Chadd

Joel Chadd

Lead Set-Up
Joel was born and raised in Oregon among a very musical family.  His parents were both part of the music scene during the 60's influencing Joel and his siblings. While Joel was in college he found he enjoyed the expression that comes with making music and learned to play guitar and songwriting. After living in Bend for several years his father helped with a connection at Bedell, leading him to be hired and learning how to make guitars starting in 2013.  After several years at Bedell he wanted to pursue a smaller company to learn all the aspects of guitar building. He knew several of the crew and was recommended to join the Thompson family. Over the past two years has become an integral part of this company as lead string up, inspections, body building and also helps with graphics and photography.  

Jason Hardesty

Jason Hardesty

Finisher
Jason grew up in LA and was involved in the LA rock music scene from 1986-1996 before moving up to Central Oregon where he has been ever since.  He has been a craftsman in wood working and finishing since 1995 bringing his technical skills to various businesses in the area.  He didn't leave behind his love for music and continues to play in various bands in town. Thompson guitars needed a person that exemplified perfection and when Preston was ready to hire a finish person Jason was on the list to call.   He was available and has brought to this company detailed knowledge that has continued to create the fit and finish that we are known for.   His process with the various tonewoods is being refined all the time, smoothing out processes to generate more guitars out the door.  One of Preston's favorite parts of guitar building is finish so this aspect was especially important to find the right person to keep his high standard moving into the future. He has worked on guitars for artists like Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Jack Black, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Steve Winwood and Ween.   Jason continues to be a part of crafting guitars for artists as Thompson continues to add musicians to our list.  Like all our crew, Jason is irreplaceable and works very hard to make the company proud.

Peter Daggatt

Peter Daggatt

Finish and Builder Trainee
Peter studied music at University of Oregon with guitar as his concentrated instrument.  During his time in Eugene he was introduced to old time and bluegrass through the band Watertower, who he as played with on and off for over ten years.  This band continues to play today, and at times, Peter joins them on tours in between working in finish at Thompson guitars.   We met Peter in Sisters when he came into the shop to check out our guitars. The crew knew Peter had some painting background and we were looking for a trainee in finish and it seemed like a great fit.   Jason Hardesty, the finish guru, is passing on his knowledge of all the details one must know to create the perfection we are known for in the look of each guitar.   Peter has expanded into learning how to build bodies, make rosettes and helps with top/back glue up and brace material.  He is eager to learn all aspects of guitar making and has become a valuable member of the team.  

Jamison Owens

Jamison Owens

Set-Up
Jamison has been playing guitar for over 15 years - which means since he is the youngest member of the Thompson crew he picked up the guitar when he was 11, with no prompting from his parents, just a curiosity that he took to heart. A seed was planted after high school by a friend that wanted to go to guitar school, which led Jamison to consider learning how to build guitars.  He recently attended a year long program at Southeast Tech at the Red Wing Campus in Minnesota. He had a chance to move west after school, which landed him in Bend, Oregon.   Not realizing that Breedlove or Thompson was here in the northwest he still managed to bump into one of the seasoned Thompson crew out having a beer and was happy to learn we had a job opening and submitted his resume.  We are happy to say that this "running into of sorts" provided us with a talented individual to train in string up to learn our techniques furthering his education in guitar making.  

Jake Spece

Jake Spece

Body Building & Binding

Ryan Ediger

Ryan Ediger

Set-up Trainee

Christine Funk

Christine Funk

General Manager and Sales
Christine Funk is the general manager of Thompson Guitars and runs the day-to-day operations with the team of talented crew members.  After Preston's passing she has stepped up and is the point of contact for sales and customer service with the help of each crew member and their area of expertise never far away to lean on for additional information the customer might need. She has a long career in producing commercials as well as directing several documentaries via her company South 40 Films.  The Tao of Bluegrass, A Portrait of Peter Rowan was the film project that ultimately led her to Thompson Guitars.  Peter Rowan purchased a Thompson back in the 1980's at Winfield and still plays it, along with his other special guitars, today. Christine learned from her friend that lives in Sisters, Brad Tisdel, about Thompson guitars being located next to The Belfry where she was showing her film about Peter and a connection was made. Thompson guitars was in need of a multi-tasker, production oriented type producer to help move the company into the future and Christine was ready to move back to Oregon with her family making it a perfect match for a new job.  She has helped in all aspects of the business to expand Thompson guitars and solidifying its reputation into the boutique guitar market.

Joe Maloney

Joe Maloney

Shop Facilities
Joe is the guy you can call about anything - he will help out even if it is late at night.  Thank you for your dedication to keeping things clean and fixing what needs fixing.

Meet the Owners

Dan Stewart

Dan Stewart

Co-Owner
As business partners Dan and Preston began the journey of building Preston Thompson Guitars into something more than just a single luthier shop starting in 2013 from the small town of Sisters, Oregon.  This quiet mountain town is home of the Sisters Folk Festival and the building they choose is next to The Belfry, an intimate music venue. The setting was a perfect place to make boutique guitars.  They began slowing hiring a trusted crew, one at a time.  Each crew member brought to the team years of experience with Preston adding his knowledge to refine their guitar skills to bring out the vintage tone using some of the traditional methods.  Dan and Preston, along with Christine, developed a plan to find dealers and market the special vintage tone coming from these new lively and lightly built guitars.  The dedication to the craft and making a small company shine is something Dan has supported and been a part of since the beginnings of PK Thompson Guitars.  His knowledge from years of business experience has helped provide a base for the company to grow and thrive.

Julie Thompson

Julie Thompson

Co-Owner

Freshly Assembled
Preston Thompson and the team