During the early 1960’s Bill Monroe, the mandolinist, singer, and songwriter often referred to as the Father of Bluegrass, travelled to Martha, Kentucky. During his show, a 6-year old boy was invited up on stage with Bill to perform on the mandolin. This young boy, Ricky Skaggs, grew up to be a world-renowned country and bluegrass musician and contributes his time with Bill as a defining moment in his career.
A good friend of Ricky’s, Ray Hughes has become an advocate and storyteller of our ‘Shipwreck’ Brazilian Rosewood guitars, sharing his passion for Thompson guitars for their sound and vintage tone. During a recent visit, Ray was able to play his Thompson Dreadnought guitar for Ricky and he loved the powerful sound and the playability.
After an entertaining text and email introduction, we contacted Ricky to see what his thoughts were on the possibility of him owning a Thompson guitar. We were thrilled when he said he would be in Portland for a show at the historic Aladdin Theatre with Ry Cooder and asked us to meet up before the show. With endless possibilities dancing in our heads, we piled in our van for the three-hour drive to Portland from our shop in Sisters, Oregon – our first road trip together.
We brought along two 12-Fret 000 guitars and two Dreadnought guitars for Ricky to test out. He played all the different models and his facial expressions let us know he was impressed with the responsiveness and sound of our handcrafted acoustic guitars. Preston and Ricky spent a good deal of time talking about tonewoods and different features, weighing the benefits of each option.
We’re happy to share that Ricky has asked Preston to build him an acoustic hybrid slope shoulder Dreadnought. We all enjoyed meeting this bluegrass legend and seeing an amazing show that included Ricky, his wife Sharon White and Ry Cooder.
Heading back to Sisters late into the evening we had lots to talk about, with a new guitar on the books and our future as a company.