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Preston Thompson 000-14 SMA
 
A straight-forward 14-fret 000 built with mahogany and spruce.
May 4, 2022
 

Luthier Preston Thompson made a name for himself building exceptional interpretations of coveted vintage flattops. Preston passed away in 2019, but his legacy lives on through his Sisters, Oregon, company, which continues to build instruments that benefit from his decades of experience studying vintage guitars and his ability to train a small team of luthiers to build his instruments. We’ve had the good fortune of being able to check out Thompson models throughout the company’s line at Peghead Nation, but I hadn’t spent time with a standard 14-fret 000, so when I recently came across a lightly used 000-14 SMA at Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon, California, I took the opportunity to take to it our nearby video studio. 

Thompson Guitars has a knack for combining specs, features, and appointments from various guitar models, creating unique instruments without reinventing the wheel. However, Thompson also builds re-creations of classic styles, as seen in the 000-14 SMA I had a chance to check out. Built with beautiful sinker mahogany back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top, the guitar is essentially a 14-fret 000-18. With a relatively narrow neck (1¹¹/₁₆ inches at the nut), string-spacing of 2⅛ inches at the saddle, and a short 24.9-inch scale the guitar has a feel similar to many post-war 000s. This particular instrument was upgraded with a gorgeous sunburst finish and herringbone top purfling, which are the primary elements that make it different from a standard style-18 guitar. As with every Thompson I’ve checked out, the guitar’s craftsmanship, fit and finish, and quality of materials are all top-notch. 

The 000-14 SMA is a reminder why 14-fret 000s have been used in every type of music that calls for a steel-string flattop guitar. It has a balanced tonality, is easy to play, and just sounds good, no matter how I played it. The guitar’s neck and string-spacing dimensions would be ideal for players with smaller hands, and though I tend to play guitars with wider necks, I didn’t feel constricted, and I enjoyed the ease of getting around the instrument’s fingerboard. I’ve played a lot of 000-18s from various eras over the years, and this Thompson felt familiar in the best possible way. 

Midsize guitars have seen many design innovations over the years, but a good 14-fret 000 is a standard to aspire to. The Thompson 000-14 SMA fits this bill, and I have a feeling that even players who may not have considered a traditional design may find it to be an ideal playing partner when a versatile flattop is called for. 

SPECS: 14-fret 000 body. Adirondack spruce top with prewar scalloped, advanced-X Adirondack bracing. Sinker mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. 2⅛-inch string spacing at the saddle. Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $6,355 (base model $4,975). pktguitars.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com