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SHOP CREW

WELCOME TO THOMPSON GUITARS

We are located in Sisters, Oregon in the heart of town.  We have deer walking by daily, hawks flying over head and the shop is always humming with the sound of power tools and music.  Life is good and we are busy working to make this company grow, but stay small all at the same time.  Stop by and say hi, tour the shop and play a guitar.

We appreciate everyone’s encouragement and support!  We are a small family making things happen as a team.


Preston Thompson and the team
Freshly Assembled

Preston Thompson
Founder and Master Luthier

Gareth Jenkins
Builder and Tone Tech

Simon Haycraft
Inlay, Builder & Finisher

Kaleb Klein
builder & cnc operator

David Peto
Repairs, Set-Up & Projects

Joel Chadd
Lead Set-Up

Jason Hardesty
Finisher

Scott Salgado
Binder and Builder

Peter Daggatt
Finish and Builder Trainee

Jamison Owens
Set-Up

Joe Maloney
Shop Facilities

Christine Funk
Sales & Production Manager
Preston Thompson

Preston Thompson

Founder and Master Luthier
At Thompson Guitars we are very proud of every instrument we make. We make a point of telling customers that every guitar that is a Thompson is made from the finest materials with the best craftsmanship available from one of the finest team of craftsman in the industry. Whether it is the most basic Size 2 all Mahogany Parlor or an elaborate 45 style abalone inlaid masterpiece each Thompson Guitar receives the same attention to materials, details and construction. Each is a wonderful example of time tested design that has been fine tuned to sound and perform to a level that rises above the competition and that level of quality is immediately noticeable to the player and customer.

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.    

Kaleb Klein

Kaleb Klein

builder & cnc operator
Kaleb has many talents and bringing CAD drawing and CAM CNC programing knowledge to Thompson has created an essential foundation.   He creates all our jigs and fixtures along with consistent production in various areas of our build. He started working with guitars on the ground floor at Breedlove learning anything they would let him do soaking it all up.  Once he saw all the CNC production he worked his way into that area of production and became their main operator.   Thompson's operation is on a much smaller scale so Kaleb's time is also spent building bodies as well as continues to refine our processes in the white wood shop. Kaleb loves to make things with his 3D printer at home and tinker with electronics, build chicken coops and various other things his wife asks him to build, the list is long.

David Peto

David Peto

Repairs, Set-Up & Projects
David made his first guitar in High School and has played guitar since he was 12.  He graduated from the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA where he honed his guitar playing and building skills.  After college he worked for K & K sound on the Oregon Coast, learning all about the construction of some of the best pick-ups in the marketplace.  After that he headed to Central Oregon where he became string-up lead and process development for Breedlove guitars for several years.  His next venture led him to follow his own passion to make guitars with his business partner Chris Neary. They started Cannon guitars in 2014, which specialized in acoustic and electric guitars.   This passion is still moving forward, but in the electric department and David is still with us part-time helping build & repair acoustics here at Thompson guitars.  David originally came on board to help Thompson in the string-up department and has contributed so much more in helping refine our processes, helping Kaleb with jigs and fixtures, worked in the neck department and learned CAD drawing and computer work along the way.    

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.

Scott Salgado

Scott Salgado

Binder and Builder
Scott was in the first Guitar Building wood shop class at Sisters High School in 2007 and then was hired at Breedlove when he was only 19. Scott quickly learned and moved in the binding master class guitars within a year. The detail is the challenge for Scott - he is proud of his work final detail that so important to get perfect. Scott enjoys and respects every thing is hands on in our shop and quality comes first and believes that is what wood working is all about. Scott has the time to review and perfect his world of binding and we are grateful for his focus and dedication.

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.  

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.  He keeps the shop clean and fixes what needs fixing.  He is opening a taco cart around the corner from the shop and we all can't wait!!

Christine Funk

Christine Funk

Sales & Production Manager
Christine 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.